Massie, NKY's State Lawmakers Draw Challengers

Congressman Thomas Massie will face another Republican in a primary this May.

Local attorney Todd McMurtry, who serves as a city attorney in Northern Kentucky, has made headlines over the past year as one half of the legal team representing Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann in a series of defamation-related lawsuits against national media outlets following coverage of an encounter between Cov Cath students on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which also involved Native American activists and a group of Black Hebrew Israelites.

McMurtry spoke to the Courier-Journal about why he entered the race, arguing that President Donald Trump should have more support than what he gets from Massie, who has represented Kentucky's Fourth District since 2012.

“The reason that I am in the race is to support President Trump,” McMurtry said to the Louisville paper. “I think that’s what the people of the 4th District want out of an elected official, a congressman in Washington, and that’s what I intend to do.”

Massie emerged from a tough Republican primary in 2012, in which he bested Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore and then-State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington among others. He has not faced serious opposition from either party since.

Two Democrats have also filed for the Congressional seat. The district snakes along the Ohio River from eastern Louisville in the west to Ashland in the east, and includes all the Northern Kentucky counties.

Shannon Fabert, of Hebron, and Alexandra Owensby, of Fort Thomas, announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination.

In the Kentucky General Assembly, most Northern Kentucky lawmakers have drawn opponents.

In House District 63, Rep. Kim Banta (R-Ft. Mitchell), who won a special election late last year to serve out an unexpired term, will be challenged by Democrat Ashley Williams of Fort Mitchell. She is a case manager at the Point Arc in Covington. The district includes northwest Kenton and northeast Boone counties.

In House District 64, Rep. Kim Moser (R-Taylor Mill) will face Democrat Larry Varney, of Cold Spring, again. The district includes parts of central Kenton and east-central Campbell counties. Varney is a retired software engineer who often appears as Santa Claus at holiday events.

In House District 65, Rep. Buddy Wheatley (D-Covington) will face Republican Jamir Davis, of Covington. Wheatley, a retired Covington fire chief and attorney, is serving his first term. Davis was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin to the position of executive director of the Office for Civil Rights and Small Business Development for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Davis is a San Francisco native and practices law in Covington. He is a former football player at the University of Kentucky. 

The district includes northern Covington and its northern Kenton County neighbors in Ludlow, Park Hills, and Bromley.

In House District 66, Rep. Ed Massey (R-Hebron) will see a rematch with Democrat Roberto Henriquez in this Boone County legislative race.

There will be two elections in House District 67, which includes the cities of northern Campbell County. Democrat Dennis Keene, who served in the seat since 2005, resigned late last year to join the new administration of Governor Andy Beshear. Democrat Rachel Roberts faces Republican Mary Jo Wedding in the special election on February 25 to serve out Keene's term. 

The seat will also go through a Republican primary in May with Wedding facing Southgate city council member LeAanna Homandberg. Roberts is unopposed for the Democratic nomination for November's race.

In House District 68, Rep. Joe Fischer (R-Fort Thomas) faces educator and Democrat Nancy Bardgett in November.

In House District 69, Rep. Adam Moenig (R-Erlanger) will face Democrat Ryan Neaves, a teacher and coach, who lost the Democratic primary in the 2018 election cycle.

Three Northern Kentucky state senators will also face opposition in the fall.

In Senate District 11, which includes Boone County, Sen. John Schickel (R-Union) will face Democrat James Fiorelli. Correction: A previous version of this article identified Fiorelli as a former NKU professor. That is not true, and it has been corrected.

In Senate District 17, which includes southern Kenton, and all of Grant and Scott counties, Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) will face Democrat Jason Stroude of Crittenden.

In Senate District 23, which includes northern Kenton County, Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor MIll) faces Democrat Ryan Olexia, a veterinarian and Army veteran from Park Hills.

-Staff report with information from the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce