House 49 Special Election: Belcher has fundraising edge over Johnson

The special election to fill the unexpired term for Kentucky House District 49, left vacant by the death of state Rep. Dan Johnson, is Tuesday.

Johnson’s wife, Rebecca Johnson, and Democrat Linda Belcher, who held the seat for four terms, are squaring off.

Belcher, of Shepherdsville, took office after her husband, Larry, died while serving as the state rep for this district.

A retired educator, Belcher was elected in 2008 and served through 2012. She won re-election again in 2014 and lost to Dan Johnson in 2016 by 156 votes.

Rebecca Johnson, of Mt. Washington, has pledged to continue her husband’s work in the General Assembly, a pledge Democrats are using against her.

In a fundraising letter on Belcher’s behalf, former Gov. Steve Beshear called Johnson, “[d]efiantly unapologetic for her husband’s racism, deception, and hypocrisy, [and] Rebecca has vowed to ‘finish what he started.’”

On her campaign website, Johnson notes programs in which she and her ministry, which she ran with her husband, reached out to minority and other marginalized communities.
Belcher, of Shepherdsville, had the fundraising advantage, according to the 30-day pre-election report she filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. She reported receipts of $36,295 for the period, with $32,106 a balance forward from her previous run. Contributors on this report included state Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, Bardstown Mayor Richard Heaton, the Iron Workers Political Action Committee and the Teamsters DRIVE Committee (PAC).

Johnson reported receipts totaling $7,409 on her 30-day report. Contributors include state Reps. Dan Bentley, Kevin Bratcher, Wesley Morgan, David Osborne and James Tipton, state Sen. Dan Seum, and the Bullitt County Republican Executive Committee.

Both Belcher and Johnson are running in this year’s election for a full term in office. Johnson drew a primary challenge from Thomas Huff, of Shepherdsville; Belcher has no primary opponent in May.

The next issue of the Kentucky Gazette will have a detailed analysis of this and the Special Election for House District 89. If you don’t get The Kentucky Gazette you can SUBSCRIBE here.

More on the special election:

WAVE3: Linda Belcher, Rebecca Johnson both pro-gaming for Kentucky

Courier-Journal: Kentucky GOP nominee speaks out on marijuana 

U.S. Census: Map of Kentucky House District 49