Teacher loses state senate seat to incumbent

Jeanie Smith speaks after the announcement of the final results on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018. Mike Wilson won the race with 20,803 votes. Smith received 18,952 20,803.

Emily DeLetter

Democratic candidate for Kentucky State Senate Jeanie Smith lost Tuesday night in a close race to incumbent Mike Wilson for the 32nd district.

With all 89 precincts in Warren County closed, Smith received 48 percent of the votes, while Wilson received 52 percent.

Smith, a middle school teacher at Drakes Creek Elementary and first-time candidate told the crowd gathered at Steamer’s Seafood she had been counting on her community’s support since she announced her campaign in October of 2017.

“We’ve done something really big here,” Smith said.

For months leading up to her campaign announcement, Smith said life was “pretty miserable” because of President Donald Trump’s election to office.

“We had someone elected as president who is a disgrace to our county, and has continued to be,” she said. “Every day we woke up wondering about what he has done now…and we are still waking up wondering that. I’m wondering right now how we could lose this race.” 

During her campaign, Smith said her team estimated to have raised more than $84,000, reached over 28,000 voters in Warren County and knocked on over 17,000 doors.

She thanked her interns, who helped run phone banks, knock on doors and use technology to aid the campaign.

Murray Huber, a senior English and math major from Louisville, worked first as a volunteer, then an intern for Smith’s campaign because was inspired by Smith’s passion for everything she does.

“From her kids, to teaching to furthering public education in Kentucky, she really cares about making change,” Huber said. “[Smith] is personable and cared so much about meeting and getting to know voters.” 

Smith expressed her support for other female candidates running in Kentucky.

“Kentucky is pretty low when it comes to women in office,” she said. “If we want to change that, we’re going to have to push even harder. We pushed hard, we pushed real hard, but we’re going to have to keep pushing…until we do it.”

She also alluded that although she lost this election, this is not her last attempt to run for office.

“You can throw away your little yard signs, but I’ll take the big ones back, because we don’t know what the future holds,” she said.

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.