KY Democrat Webb Wins Special Election

Victory chalks one up for the state's Thoroughbred industry

In a special election that had far-reaching ramifications for the Kentucky Thoroughbred industry, Democrat Robin Webb defeated Republican Jack Ditty Aug. 25 for an empty state Senate seat in northeasten Kentucky.

According to, unofficial results from county clerks report Webb with 8,584 votes, Ditty with 8,402 votes, and independent Guy Gibbons with 953 votes.

The win by Webb lowers the Republicans majority in the Senate to 20-17. There is one independent.

Webb’s victory is significant for Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry, which, following the June defeat of an expanded gambling initiative by the Republican-led Senate during a special session, vowed to take a more aggressive role in statehouse campaigns.

Through individual and political action committee contributions combined with a newly established campaign fund, the industry came to the aid of Webb. Webb and Ditty were running for the seat vacated by former Sen. Charlie Borders, a Republican who Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear appointed to the Public Service Commission in July.

“I want to congratulate Robin Webb on winning a hard-fought, hard-run campaign," Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement. "I look forward to serving with Robin as we work together on the significant challenges confronting our commonwealth. The people of the 18th Senate District have spoken with one voice: They want someone who will help create good jobs, ensure quality schools, and help provide affordable health care.

"And I believe they want someone who will work with me in a bipartisan fashion to move our state forward. Now, the election is over. The real work of representing Kentucky must continue. I’m glad to have Robin as my partner in work ahead.”

Beshear supports video lottery terminals at the state's racetracks. Webb, a state representative, voted in favor of racetrack VLTs during the special session.