Special Election in Kentucky’s 1st District Coincides with District’s General Election

By: Jeremy Faulk

In Kentucky’s first congressional district, there are two elections for the U.S. House tonight. The general and special elections for the 1st District’s House seat are being held concurrently. Both are contested by James Comer (R) and Samuel Gaskins (D). The winner of the general election will take office on January 3, 2017. The winner of the special election will complete retired Congressman Ed Whitfield’s term so will serve in the lame-duck Congress for the remainder of 2016. The winner of both is likely to be Republican James Comer as evidenced by the partial results received already. (Comer is currently approximately 40% ahead of Gaskins.)

Interestingly enough, with 10% reporting, James Comer is leading by about 2,000 more votes in the general election than in the special election. This is likely due to ballot fatigue--the propensity of voters to ignore races farther down the ballot from the presidential race. If this race were actually competitive, it could have resulted in one candidate winning the special election and the other winning the general, meaning that one would serve out the remainder of the year only to be replaced by the other in January.