SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Two familiar names will square off in a special election to fill the unexpired term of the 49th District House seat that was left vacant by the death of Republican Dan Johnson.
Bullitt County Democratic and Republican central committees met Thursday evening to select nominees for the special election on Feb. 20.
The GOP named Johnson’s widow, Rebecca Johnson, as its candidate. Dan Johnson, pastor of the Hearts of Fire Church in Jefferson County, killed himself Dec. 13, amid allegations that he molested a teenage girl years ago. Rebecca Johnson blamed his suicide on the media and announced she would run for his seat.
Democrats unanimously chose Linda Belcher, whom Dan Johnson defeated by 156 votes in the 2016 General Election when Republicans captured their first House majority in a century. In addition to serving in the House for one term, Belcher also represented the 49th District from 2009-2013.
The winner of the special election will serve less than a year, as all House seats come up for election in November 2018, for another two-year term.
Belcher has already filed for the full term with the Secretary of State’s office. Rebecca Johnson has not, but Republican Jennifer Baird Faith filed on Dec. 14, the day after Johnson’s death.
Write-in candidates must file declarations of intent to be write-in candidates no later than Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. EST.
Another special election will take place Feb. 27 in the 89th House district, where Republican Marie Raeder has announced her intent to resign, effective Sunday. Her district includes all of Jackson County and parts of Laurel and Madison Counties.
In that district, Republican, Democratic and independent candidates must file with the Secretary of State by January 9 at 4 p.m. EST. Write-in candidates will face a Feb. 16 deadline.
Gov. Matt Bevin issued writs of election in both districts on Dec. 21. If he had not, the House would have set the special elections when they convene on Tuesday.