Meredith bests Rock to keep house seat

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Republican Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, will continue to represent Edmonson County and parts of Warren County after defeating his primary challenger Tuesday night.

Meredith does not have a general election opponent, and will begin his eighth term as a state legislator in 2025.

Meredith secured the victory against Republican Kelcey Rock, a Warren County farmer, with 69% of the Warren County vote and 84% of the Edmonson County vote.

The race attracted significant attention and funding. Meredith raised $154,000, including campaign contributions from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky Hospital Association’s political action committees and Senate President Robert Stivers.

Rock, for his part, only raised $13,000, but was buoyed by $15,000 in digital ads and mailers paid for by Conservatives for the Commonwealth Action.

Both campaigns went negative. Rock’s campaign and its supporters highlighted Meredith’s involvement in a 2017 sexual harassment settlement involving a Frankfort staffer. Meredith’s campaign brought up allegations that Rock owes child support. On Tuesday, Rock was in court for a related hearing.

Meredith said he spent about $30,000 or $40,000 over his planned budget to fight against outside groups supporting Rock.

“I think what we saw tonight was the people of Warren and Edmonson County repudiated that outside dark money and they stuck with somebody they knew and somebody that they were comfortable with their record in Frankfort,” he said.

Meredith credited his win to a focus on local issues and what he would do to continue the region’s current momentum.

He said infrastructure is one of the “biggest players” in that growth. Meredith said he’s working with Warren County Judge Executive Doug Gorman on connecting I-65 and I-165 through the northwestern corridor. Continuing work on Edmonson County water issues will also be a priority.

During his time in office, Meredith led the effort to secure funding for the Bowling Green veterans nursing home and to legalize sports betting. He has worked to expand technical and career education in Kentucky.

Meredith is currently the chair of the House Banking and Insurance Committee, and garnered support from several insurance political action groups during the campaign. He said he would continue working on consumer protection issues to stabilize Kentucky’s financial services and insurance industry.

Rock ran on social issues, like DEI, school choice and voting security. He criticized career politicians, and said he would support term limits.

“The longer you seem to be in politics, the more corrupt and more the more likelihood it is for you to be corruptible and bought out,” Rock said.

Rock said polling suggested the race would be much closer, and he was disappointed with the results.

“My campaign focused on voting records and issues in office that cost the tax payers money,” Rock said. “My opponent had a different strategy of a barrage of personal attacks. The latter combined with the large amount of money his campaign and PAC supporters proved too much to overcome.”