Gallrein “weighing all options” after narrow primary loss

Published 11:40 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tuesday night, Aaron Reed won the Republican primary for State Senate District 7 with 39% of the vote.

Reed won over second placer Ed Gallrein by 118 votes, while incumbent Sen. Adrienne Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg, trailed in third.

The difference between Reed and Gallrein’s vote totals was 0.96%, which meets the legal threshold for a recanvass—a less than 1% difference, under Kentucky law.

Gallrein has until 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, to request a recanvass with the Secretary of State.

During a recanvass, election officials recheck voting equipment to ensure that votes have been tallied correctly. A recanvass is not a recount, but that can also be requested under certain circumstances.

In a statement, Gallrein said he is committed to the democratic process, “a process where every vote matters and must be counted to ensure a fair and honest election, and that voters feel confident in the outcome.”

“Following the established processes based on discussions with Election Officials we are weighing all options in terms of recanvasing,” Gallrein said.

Reed also weighed in, noting in a preemptive statement that recent Kentucky recanvasses—Matt Bevin’s recanvass in the 2019 gubernatorial race and James Comer’s recanvass in the 2015 gubernatorial race—did not yield different results.

“While it is my opponent’s legal right to be able to request a recanvass, I do not believe a recanvass will demonstrate any changes in the vote count let alone a one hundred plus vote swing,” Reed said. “I look forward to moving my focus to uniting the party to win in November and getting to work on behalf of our district’s families.”

Senate District 7 encompasses Anderson, Henry and Shelby counties and part of Jefferson County.

Reed easily won Anderson County, while Gallrein handily won the Jefferson County precincts. In Henry County, Gallrein won by 11 votes, and in Shelby, Reed won by just two votes.

Reed and Gallrein have similar backgrounds.

Reed is a former member of an elite U.S. Navy SEALs team, and now serves as a Special Operations Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Naval Reserve. He is also a business owner.

Gallrein is a 5th generation farmer, small business owner and retired career Navy SEAL officer. His campaign attracted the support of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Hospital Association, Senate leadership and Secretary of State Michael Adams.

During her time in the legislature, Southworth was ostracized by Republican party leadership for her tendency to vote against party lines. She was unable to defend her seat, winning just 22% of the primary vote.

The primary winner will face Democrat Rhonda Davis in the November general election.

This story may be updated.