Kentucky Supreme Court disqualifies state lawmaker after primary win

Published 1:54 pm Monday, June 10, 2024

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Supreme Court has struck down a state lawmaker’s recent win in the Democrat primary, leaving open the question of who will fill the Louisville House seat.

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that an appeals court was correct to disqualify state Rep. Nima Kulkarni from running in the May 21 primary, according to media reports. The state’s high court allowed Kulkarni to run while the justices evaluated her eligibility.

Kulkarni won nearly 80% of the vote in the primary, defeating a lone challenger, William Zeitz, a truck driver with no political experience. Kulkarni’s candidacy had been contested by Dennis Horlander, a former Democratic state representative. She beat Horlander in the 2018 primary and again in 2020.

Horlander filed a lawsuit that alleged one of Kulkarni’s signatures on her nomination paper was from a Republican, when it should have been from a fellow Democrat, The Courier Journal reported. The appeals court agreed in a ruling in mid-May, but Kulkarni was kept on the ballot so the Kentucky Supreme Court could weigh in.

It was unclear Monday if Kulkarni would be able to run in a special election for the Democratic nomination. There is no Republican challenger in the District 40 House race.

Republicans hold supermajorities in the Kentucky House and Senate.