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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

(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.

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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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