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Justice Venters Donates Leftover Campaign Funds

Six colleges and the Louisville Library Foundation will benefit from unspent campaign funds donated by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Daniel Venters of Somerset. Venters wants the almost $11,000 to be spent on needy students.

“My first choice, honestly, was to give the money back to the people that contributed it, because they’re friends of mine and I appreciate their support. And if I didn’t spend it for the purpose for which they offered it, I didn’t feel like it was mine anymore, or my campaign’s anymore. We wanted them to have it back but the law didn’t allow that,” he said.

The schools benefiting from the donation are Somerset Community College, Campbellsville University, Lindsey Wilson College, St. Catharine College, Union College and the University of the Cumberlands. Venters had no opposition in his re-election bid this fall.

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Indiana Voter Turnout Slightly Higher Than ’06

The Indiana Secretary of State’s office says 1.79 Hoosiers cast ballots in the November 2 general election.

Spokesperson Todd Darroca says turnout was up slightly from the last midterm election in 2006.

“We had 41 percent voter turnout with 14 percent of those voting absentee ballots,’ he said.

Turnout for the 2006 midterm election was about 40 percent.

Darroca says about 300 people called the Secretary of State’s voter hotline seeking information, with about 60-thousand visiting a voter assistance website on Election Day.

Voter turnout in Kentucky this month was just under 49 percent.

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Six Counties To Undergo Post-Election Audits

Six Kentucky counties have been chosen at random for post-election audits by the attorney general’s office.

From a box containing slips of paper bearing the names of all 120 Kentucky counties, the six counties chosen at random for post-election audits are Bell, McCreary, Union, Powell, Pendleton and Carter. Todd Lewis, director of special prosecutions, says investigators will look for any Election Day discrepancies.

“We’ll look at the numbers. We’ll look at the complaints that may have occurred locally, that we didn’t know about – that were not sent to the attorney general’s office. We assign a prosecutor from the special prosecutions division to bring the investigator before the local Grand Jury and we present our findings,” he said.

Lewis says similar audits following the May primary turned up problems in one county, but since the investigation is ongoing, he would not say which county. The six counties chosen at random this time will be exempt from audits in the next election.

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Barr Concedes 6th District Race After Recanvass

By Tony McVeigh and Charles Compton, Kentucky Public Radio

A recanvass of vote totals Friday led Republican challenger Andy Barr to concede Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District race. 

After rechecking the numbers in all 16 of the district’s counties, Secretary of State Trey Grayson said Barr picked up one vote.    Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler still held a 648 vote lead.

The only other change in the vote totals was in Clark County, where a write-in candidate lost one vote.  More than 239,000 votes were cast in the district. The new vote totals will be certified by the State Board of Elections on November 22.

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Election Recanvasses Set For Friday

Numerous county clerks across Kentucky tomorrow will be rechecking vote totals from last Tuesday’s election.  Losing candidates in a congressional race, three legislative races and three judicial races want the vote totals re-examined for accuracy.  Les Fugate says the tallies should come in fairly quickly. 

“All we will do is tabulate everything together from each county and then make those results available.  Those results will eventually go to the State Board of Elections to be certified.  That meeting is currently scheduled for the Monday before Thanksgiving,” he said.

In the most closely watched race, Republican Andy Barr wants a recheck of the vote totals in the 6th Congressional District.  Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler declared victory on election night, but the margin of victory was only 649 votes.  More than 239-thousand votes were cast in the district, which covers 16 central Kentucky counties.

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Olbermann Suspended For Contributions To Conway, Others

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely for making contributions to three Democratic political campaigns, including the U.S. Senate bid of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who lost to Republican Rand Paul in Tuesday’s election.

Olbermann contributed $2,400 to each campaign.  

The suspension was announced in a brief statement from MSNBC President Phil Griffin, reported by the cable network today.

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Kentucky Voter Turnout 48.9 Percent

Voter turnout in Tuesday’s election in Kentucky was 48-point-nine percent, slightly eclipsing Secretary of State Trey Grayson’s pre-election prediction of 48 percent. Les Fugate of Grayson’s office says the higher number is not surprising.

“Local races drive turnout, rather than federal races. And so we had hot races in the mayor’s race in Lexington and Louisville. It really helped drive turnout in the urban areas. But we also had some very competitive races judge-executive races and sheriff’s races across the state,” he said.

Including in Franklin County, the seat of state government, where Democrat Pat Melton is the new sheriff, and incumbent Democratic Judge-Executive Ted Collins won re-election.

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Democrats Retain Kentucky House Majority, But GOP Gains

Democrats in Tuesday’s general election retained their majority in the Kentucky House, but Republicans gained some ground.

House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark eked out a victory last night over Republican Brian Simpson to win re-election.

Speaker Greg Stumbo, Majority Caucus Chair Bob Damron and Majority Whip John Will Stacy were also victorious.

Democrats who lost last night were Reps. Charlie Hoffman, Kent Stevens, Tim Firkins, Dottie Sims and Don Pasley.

Democrats also lost seats being vacated by Reps. Ron Weston and Eddie Ballard, but held onto the seat being vacated by Rep. Harry Moberly. Republicans retained the seat being vacated by Rep. Scott Brinkman.

Among Republican winners Tuesday were Reps. Ron Crimm, Stan Lee, Minority Whip David Floyd, Lonnie Napier, Steven Rudy, Sal Santoro, Keith Hall, C-B Embry, Tim Moore, Jill York and Kevin Bratcher.

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GOP Retains Control Of Kentucky Senate

Democrats had hoped to wrest control of the Kentucky Senate away from Republicans in Tuesday’s election, but it didn’t happen.

Democratic Sens. Mike Reynolds and David Boswell lost to Republicans Tuesday.

Republicans also picked up the seat being vacated by Senate Minority Leader Ed Worley and held onto the seat being vacated by Sen. Gary Tapp.

Republican Elizabeth Tori was defeated by Democrat Dennis Parrett.

In far western Kentucky, Sen. Bob Leeper – budget chairman and the chamber’s only independent – won re-election over Democrat Rex Smith and Republican William East.

Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine won re-election, as did Minority Whip Jerry Rhoads.

Other winners last night were Democrats Robin Webb and R-J Palmer, and Republicans Alice Forgy Kerr, Ernie Harris, Brandon Smith, Julie Denton and Dan Seum.

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Young Defeats Hill In Indiana Congressional Race

Republican Todd Young defeated Democratic incumbent Baron Hill to capture southern Indiana’s 9th District congressional seat.

Hill, who has held the seat for five terms, came under attack during the campaign for his support of the federal stimulus and health care overhaul bills.

Young is a 38 year old Bloomington attorney who was seeking elected office for the first time.