By Laura Cullen Glasscock
The Kentucky Gazette
A special election on primary election day will determine who gets to complete the unexpired term of former state Sen. Ernie Harris.
Harris, a Crestwood Republican, retired April 15, the last day of the 2020 General Assembly session, after serving in the legislature since 1995. His unfinished term expires in 2022, when all even-numbered state Senate seats are on the ballot.
Hoping to take over the Senate District 26 office are Karen Berg, D-Louisville, and Bill Ferko, R-Prospect.
Berg ran in the 2018 Democratic primary, defeating Matt Kaufmann, by a more than 2 to 1 margin – 67.3 percent to 32.7 percent. In the general election, she then lost to Harris by a fairly close 5.4 percentage points – he took 51.7 percent of the vote to her 46.3 percent. Third-party candidate Jody Hurt had 1.8 percent.
Berg is a doctor at University of Louisville Health and an assistant clinical professor in university’s Department of Radiology.
Ferko is a certified public accountant and finance executive who has worked with Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and abroad. He is an instructor of equine finance at U of L.
Ferko reported raising $97,553 on his 30-day pre-election report filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
His contributors include: former Sen. Harris; Oldham County Magistrate Wayne Theiss; Larry Cox, retired state director for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell; Louisville attorney Ed Glasscock; Mac Brown, chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky.
Ferko also received PAC contributions from: Associated General Contractors of Kentucky; BrettPAC, the leadership PAC of U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie; Making a Sensible Shift in Elections PAC, the leadership PAC of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie; GOPAC Election Fund; Bluegrass Committee, the leadership PAC of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Kentucky Senate Republic Caucus Campaign Committee pitched in $25,000, and the Oldham County Republican Party kicked in another $5,000.
Ferko gave his campaign $5,258.
On her 30-day pre-election report, Berg reported taking in $60,637 in donations. Her donors include: former state Rep. Jim Wayne; gubernatorial adviser and former state Sen. Dorsey Ridley; state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian; former lieutenant governor candidate and Louisville developer Gill Holland; current state House candidate Carolyn Dupont; Louisville businessman Neville Blakemore.
She had no PAC contributions.
Berg reported scores of unitemized individual contributions ranging from $3 to $100. The Oldham County Democratic Party ponied up $500, and the Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus gave her $6,000.
Senate District 26 is Oldham and part of Jefferson counties.