Democrat Scores Big Win in Heavily Pro-Trump District
Republican's widow lost bid for his seat
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2018 1:09 AM CST
Democratic candidate Linda Belcher thanks her supporters following her victory in the special election to fill the vacant seat for the Kentucky House of Representatives 49th District, Tuesday, Feb. 20,...   (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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(Newser) – Two widows of lawmakers ran for the Kentucky House seat vacated by the suicide of Rep. Dan Johnson, and the Democrat won by a landslide. Linda Belcher defeated Republican candidate Rebecca Johnson by a 37-point margin, marking a massive 86-point swing in a district that President Trump carried by 49 points, Mother Jones reports. Johnson announced her candidacy less than 24 hours after her husband killed himself amid accusations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl at the Heart of Fire church where he served as pastor. Belcher previously won the seat in 2008 after her husband, Rep. Larry Belcher, died in a car crash. She lost to a Republican in 2010 but held the seat again from 2012 to 2016, when she lost to Dan Johnson.

An hour after officials in Bullitt County announced that Belcher had won the race for the 49th District seat by a 68.45% to 31.55% margin, Johnson alleged voter fraud and said she was looking at options to contest the result, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. "It's like we are in a third world country," she said in a statement. During the campaign, Johnson refused to debate Belcher and said she had been part of a liberal conspiracy to destroy her husband. Belcher made little mention of Dan Johnson or the allegations, saying she wanted to run a positive campaign. "The only thing I really want to say at this point is that I know the pain of losing a husband," she said in December. "I've been through that. I don't wish that on anybody." (Last week, another Democrat scored an upset win in Florida.)

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