Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kay defeats Fister to return as state representative, says he will be independent in new House minority

Daniel Fister and Rep. James Kay
By Claire Johnson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The 56th district state representative race did not come down to the wire as the presidential election did through the the night.

Democratic State Rep. James Kay defeated Republican Dan Fister in Tuesday’s election 12,590 to 8,525. Kay carried Woodford County 8,180 to 5,255, the district’s Franklin County precincts 2,071 to 1,597 and the Fayette County precincts 2,339 to 1,673.

While Fister was not victorious, he claimed victory in the experience he received.

“It has been absolutely amazing,” he said. “It’s been the most exciting thing I’ve done in probably 30 or 40 years.”

Fister ranked the excitement of campaigning for election to that of his wedding or when his children were born.

“There’s just a lot of emotions that go with it,” he said.

Kay said he was excited by the response he received in the race: “It was the best response that I’ve ever had in the three times I’ve run.”

He said it was great to see the turnout of Republicans, Democrats and independents who voted for him, especially in Woodford County, where both candidates live.

“When you go door to door and talk to people and visit people on Labor Day, I was confident in what the results were going to be,” Kay said. “I’m truly humbled by the large margin of victory, we personally knew more people.”

On Election Day, Fister felt disappointment for his supporters over a lost outcome, but congratulated Kay for winning.

“I’ve got to meet a whole lot of people and do a lot of exciting things,” Fister said, “and I’ve learned a whole lot.”

Fister said he holds a positive outlook for Kay's next term, but is fearful of the new House that Kay will be step back into. Republicans won a majority of the chamber for the first time since 1920, which puts Kay in a 64-36 minority in the House.

“The whole terrain of the legislature has changed for him,” Fister said, “but I’m hoping he does well and represents us well. I wish him nothing but the best.” He said he hopes Republican control will not put his fellow Versailles resident at a major disadvantage.

Kay said, “It is going to be a big change, but I am truly interested in being the voice of the legislative independent.”

Kay said his aim is for everyone to have a voice. “Kentucky is at risk,” he said, because a governor will have too much power with a Republican House and Senate.

He said it is important to be the voice for multiple parties, especially for workforce and education.

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