Graham received 11,726 votes, or 64.8 percent, to Republican challenger Calen Studler’s 6,374 votes, or 35.2 percent. Graham has served the 57th District in the Kentucky House of Representatives since 2002.
All Franklin County precincts were in within 90 minutes of the polls closing, and as a result, Graham wasn’t sure whether Democrats statewide would win their longshot bid to break the Republican majority in the Kentucky General Assembly.
Still, asked about his large margin of victory, Graham said “the public is saying that we need to work in a bipartisan way.” That’s particularly true on issues such as tax reform and pension reform, he said.
Graham said he’s tried to stay in close contact with his constituents, informing them about what’s happening in the General Assembly and being informed about their opinions.
“As long as I continue to do that, then people will see that,” Graham said. “They know that I’ve been a fighter, whether it’s on the House floor or in committee. I have always tried to represent the district in the way I know they expect me to. So, I’m just grateful to the voters of the 57th District.
“I’m looking forward to returning in January and I’m looking forward to working with those on the other side.”
Studler said Tuesday’s result means that Franklin County voters will not have a voice in the General Assembly for the next two years because, he predicted, Republicans would retain control of the legislature.
“A good bill should go through no matter what, but we all know how things work,” Studler said. “Franklin County is not going to have a voice with a Republican governor and a Republican legislature.”
He said that Franklin County voters pride themselves on being progressive but that electing an incumbent for nine terms is the opposite of that.
Asked why he thought Graham won, Studler said his campaign was at a financial disadvantage. While Graham may already have cash on hand, campaign signs and other materials that could be distributed, Studler said he had to start from scratch.
Studler said Tuesday that he wasn’t sure whether he would run for elected office again, but that any future decisions would be based on prayer and what the Lord guides him to do.