A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gex ‘Jay’ Williams makes comeback; three NKy legislators — Massey, Koenig, Santoro — lose seats

By Jack Brammer
NKyTribune reporter

Republican Gex “Jay” Williams of Verona made a big step Tuesday in the Republican primary election for the state Senate’s newly drawn 20th District in his comeback bid to be a state lawmaker again after 20 years.

Gex ‘Jay’ Williams

And as early Wednesday morning, Republican Shelley “Funke” Frommeyer of Alexandria had a slight lead in the state Senate race to pick a Republican nominee to replace retiring GOP incumbent Wil Schroder in the 24th District.

Meanwhile, Republican primary elections were held Tuesday in six Northern Kentucky state House races and three incumbents who have played leading roles in the legislature lost their seats.

Ed. Massey

C. Edward Massey of Hebron, Adam Koenig of Erlanger and Sal Santoro of Union had lost their primary elections in unofficial results.

Here’s a look at the results of state legislative races in Northern Kentucky:

Kentucky Senate—20th District, counties of Franklin, Owen, Carroll, Gallatin and parts of Boone and Kenton

With 99 percent of the vote counted in the Republican primary at 10:30 p.m., Williams had 3,325 votes to 1,832 for Phyllis Sparks of Walton, 1,452 for Calen Studler of Frankfort and 1,261 for Mike Templeman of Frankfort.

Former Franklin County Judge-Executive Teresa Azbill Barton was unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face Williams in the Nov. 8 general election.

Adam Koenig

Williams, who has worked as a software developer, marketer and IT consultant, was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly three times between 1990 and 1998 from Northern Kentucky.

He lists as his Senate priorities pro-life legislation, gun rights, banning Critical Race Theory and inappropriate sexual content from schools, keeping biological boys out of girls’ sports and opposing all COVID vaccine mandates.

Williams was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie.

Kentucky Senate – 24th District, counties of Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken and part of Kenton.

In unofficial results with about 92 percent of the vote counted, Frommeyer had 4,094 votes, compared to 3,787 for Jessica Neal of Cold Spring and 2,731 for Chris Robinson of Alexandria.

Frommeyer is a Certified Financial Planner. On the issues, Frommeyer said she is committed to the rights of the unborn and elderly, will fight for ethics, fiscal responsibility and transparency and will stand up for gun rights.

NKy House Republican incumbents lose

While three Northern Kentucky Republican incumbents seeking re-election lost, Republican incumbents Kimberly Poore Moser of Taylor Mill and Savannah Maddox of Dry Ridge were successful in their races.

In the 66th House District that includes part of Boone County, Massey, an attorney who is chair of the House Judiciary Committee, lost to Steve Rawlings, a Burlington businessman and attorney, 2,695 votes to 1,227. Those results were with about 63 percent of the vote counted as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In the 69th House District, made up of part of Boone, and part of Kenton counties, Rep. Adam Koenig of Erlanger, a Realtor who was elected to the state House in November 2006, was defeated by Erlanger city councilman Steven Doan. The unofficial vote early Wednesday was 1,369 votes for Doan and 1,179 for Koenig.

Koenig is chair of the Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee who has been trying to bring sports betting to Kentucky.

Prior to the House, Koenig served eight years as a Kenton County commissioner and three years as a Villa Hills city councilman.

Doan touted the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Massie in what probably was the most contentious House race in Northern Kentucky.

Democrat Chris Brown of Elsmere, a human resources official, will face the GOP primary winner in November.

Sal Santoro

In the 60th House District that includes part of Boone County, Santoro, a former state trooper and president of Santoro Electric Co., who was first elected to the state House in 2007, and is chair of the House transportation budget subcommittee, was trailing Marianne Proctor, a Union speech-language pathologist.

With about 64 percent of the estimated vote in, she had 1,955 votes to his 1,824.

Koenig and Santoro have conceded. Massey could not be reached for comment.

Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser of Taylor Mill easily won her Republican primary election in the 64th District that includes part of Kenton County over Christopher C. Mann of Covington, a natural product manager.

Moser faces Democrat Anita Y. Isaacs of Taylor Mill in November.

In the 61st District, which includes part of Boone and Kenton, Grant and Gallatin, Rep. Savannah Maddox of Dry Ridge , who has represented the 61st District in the House since January 2019, won her Republican primary election over Jarrod Lykins of Walton, a Marine.

Maddox has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2023.

Debby Lucas Angel of Corinth is the Democrat who has filed to run against Maddox in November.

In the open House seat in the 68th District, which includes part of Campbell County, Mike Clines of Alexandria, the former superintendent of Catholic schools in the Covington diocese, won the Republican primary.

Republican incumbent Joseph M. Fisher of Fort Thomas did not run this year for re-election, instead running for the Kentucky Supreme Court. That leaves his House district seat open.

The Democratic candidate is Kelly Jones of Fort Thomas. She has a Master’s degree in mental health counseling.

No Primary Contest

Two Northern Kentucky Republican incumbents drew no primary or general election opposition. They are Kimberly A. Banta of Fort Mitchell in the 63rd District that covers part of Boone and Kenton counties, and Mark Hart of Falmouth in the 78th District that covers Pendleton County and parts of Boone, Campbell and Kenton.

Democratic incumbent Charles “Buddy Wheatley of Covington has no primary opposition but faces Republican Stephanie A. Dietz of Edgewood in November for the 65th House District, that covers part of Kenton County.

In the 67th House District that covers part of Campbell County, Democratic incumbent Rachel Roberts of Newport squares off against Republican Jerry C. Gearding of Wilder in November.

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