Turner keeps EKY state senate seat

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Eastern Kentucky State Senator Johnnie Turner easily retained his seat Tuesday night against his two Republican challengers, Randy Thompson and Shawn Gilley.

Turner dominated the field, garnering 62% of the vote to Thompson’s 31% and Gilley’s 7%.

Turner well out-raised his competitors, accumulating over $61,000 in his campaign coffers. He was supported by over a dozen political action groups, including coal, insurance and real estate PACs. Senate leadership also donated to Turner’s campaign.

“That’s the way that politics is today,” Turner said, upon asked about the impact of his funding on his win.

Senate District 29 spans Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Knott and Letcher counties.

The district is large, but very rural. Turner credited his win to being “accustomed” to the pro-coal mining and flood prone area. He’s watched the area grow from “gravel to blacktop,” he said.

Turner has served two terms in the state senate, and was a state representative from 1999 to 2002. He is currently vice chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.

Recently, Turner said he’s helped get emergency flood money in the budget and gotten the Public Service Commission on board to stop the Biden Administration from tearing down power plants.

In November, Turner will face an independent opponent, David Suhr. Turner said he doesn’t know much about Suhr except that he was in the military, but looks forward to speaking with him.