Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 2, 2010

Democrat Mills wins vacant House seat

Somerset — A Lebanon Democrat with a big vote majority in his home county of Marion will fill the unexpired term of Jimmy Higdon, a Republican, in the state House of Representatives from the 24th Legislative District.

Terry Mills, a retired Social Security Administration employee, won a special election over state employee Leo Johnson, a Republican from Liberty, by 3001 to 2518. Mills carried Marion County by 2,611 to 333, a sufficient margin to overcome deficits in Casey and Pulaski counties. The vacancy in the House of Representatives was created when Higdon was elected to the state Senate in December to succeed Dan Kelly who was appointed to a judgeship by Gov. Steve Beshear. Higdon had represented the 24th House District for the past seven years.

Johnson carried Casey County 1,772 to 344 and won the five northern Pulaski County precincts 413 to 46.

A total of 459 votes, just under 12 percent of the 3,958 registered voters in the five Pulaski County precincts, were cast in the special election. The five precincts in Pulaski County are part of the 24th House District that includes Marion and Casey counties.

Eubank has 1,167 registered voters and 116 votes were cast, 99 for Johnson and 17 for Mills. Ansel has 461 registered voters and 83 votes were cast, 78 for Johnson and five for Mills. Buncombe has 965 registered voters and 106 votes were cast, 87 for Johnson and 19 for Mills. Mt. Zion has 714 registered voters and 62 votes were cast, all for Johnson. Fall Branch has 651 registered voters and 89 votes were cast, 84 for Johnson and five for Mills.

Total votes cast in the three counties were 5,519, a turnout of 21 percent. The nominees –– Mills, 57, and Johnson, 31–– were chosen by Republican and Democratic executive committees. The term of the winner of the special election will end at the first Monday in January 2011. Both Johnson and Mills have filed for a full two-year term beginning next January and will go through the primary and general election processes this year. M.J. “Bill” Pickerill, a Republican, also is a candidate, and will challenge Johnson in the May 18 GOP primary.

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