Fayette Dems, GOP choose nominees for state representative special election

Published 10:53 am Monday, July 3, 2023

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Kentucky Lantern

Democrats and Republicans in Fayette County have selected their candidates for a Nov. 7 special election for state representative.

The seat, which represents Kentucky’s 93rd District, became vacant after freshman Democratic lawmaker Rep. Lamin Swann died in May.

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Democrat Adrielle Camuel and Republican Kyle Whalen will face off in the special election, the same day as Kentucky’s 2023 general election.

Fayette County Democrats’ nominating committee chose Camuel Thursday evening, said Fayette County Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Summers. Camuel is an administrative assistant at Fayette County Public Schools. Camuel did not return a request for comment Thursday evening.

Summers said Camuel has worked to support Democratic candidates in the past, including holding fundraisers for Gov. Andy Beshear. Camuel was on the nominating committee but recused herself from Thursday’s vote, Summers added.

“Everyone fought hard, but I think we’re going to come out … good and we’re all going to try to carry on Lamin’s legacy as best we can,” Summers said. She highlighted Swann as a grassroots activist who excited the party and added that many continue to miss him.

According to an email from Summers earlier in the day, other candidates considered were Chris Couch, Emma Curtis and Daniel Kemph.

The Republican Party of Fayette County Executive Committee unanimously selected Whalen as its candidate in a June 19 meeting, wrote Chairman Fran Anderson in an email.

Swann defeated Whalen in November 2022. Whalen is an owner of BACK Construction.

Curtis, who frequently testified against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Frankfort earlier this year, announced her candidacy in June. She gained several endorsements ahead of the Democrats’ meeting, including that of Swann’s mother, Pamela Dixon.

If she had been elected, she would have become Kentucky’s first openly transgender lawmaker

In a Friday statement, Curtis thanked her supporters, encouraged them to vote for Camuel in the fall and carry on Swann’s legacy.

Curtis said her campaign had raised $10,000 in a couple of weeks and it has “proven that young people, LGBTQ+ folks, renters, people of color, and women are the future of the Kentucky Democratic Party.”

“I’m not finished in politics—and neither is the movement we’ve built,” Curtis said.

Swann, 45, was elected in November and began his term in the House of Representatives in January. During the legislative session, he sponsored a bill to protect tenants who use government housing vouchers from discrimination and co-sponsored legislation to restore abortion access in the state.

Shortly before his death, he had a “significant medical emergency” which required hospitalization.

Beshear issued an executive order for the special election in May following Swann’s death.