And as a result, legislative candidates will have to run in the old districts, as they had been instructed by Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.
Once the ruling became final, Logan County Republican Jo Orange announced she would no longer seek her party’s nomination for state representative in District 16, which includes all of Logan and Todd counties.
“When I filed to run as State Representative, it was for a district with different lines and was an open seat with no incumbent,” said Orange, who is currently serving as a Logan County magistrate. “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the redistricting was unconstitutional, I have chosen to withdraw my name from the ballet. I appreciate the support that I have received in the early stages of the campaign and look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of the Auburn/Bucksville area as 5th district magistrate.”
Incumbent Martha Jane King had filed to run for state senate under the new district boundaries, which spurred both longtime Logan County Attorney Tom Noe and Orange to file to run for the office.
Soon after King withdrew from the senate race and refiled for state representative, Noe, a Democrat, was quick to announce he would seek to oppose King.
Orange took her time, and waited until the Supreme Court’s ruling before making her decision, however.
Two other candidates – both Republicans – have stated they will not be withdrawing from the race.
Jimmy Kent Wilson of Olmstead and Chris Hightower of Auburn, each said last week that they have no intentions of leaving the race since the incumbent has reentered the picture.
Hightower and Wilson both issued a statement after Orange declared she would no longer run for state representative.
“The redistricting mess illustrates the confusion and partisanship emanating from Frankfort,” Hightower said. “I understand Magistrate Orange's decision to withdraw from the race, and would like to wish her continued success standing up for conservative values on the fiscal court. Additionally I hope to earn her support going forward.”
“Ms. Orange is a very dedicated public servant and a great lady of whom I have a tremendous amount of respect,” Wilson said. I look forward to the opportunity to earn her support.”
Noe officially made his withdrawal from the race on Monday, leaving King unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
Hightower and Wilson will now run against one another in May for the Republican nomination.
“When I filed to be a candidate in the Democratic primary, our current state representative, Martha Jane King, had filed to be a candidate in the newly created Senate district which included Logan and Todd counties,” Noe said. “This was an opportunity for Logan and Todd to have both a State Representative … and Senator in Frankfort for the first time in decades. Now the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that the redistricting passed by the General Assembly and approved by the Governor is unconstitutional and ordered that this years elections be contested in the old districts. Thus, Martha Jane will not have a new senate district to run in and I believe that she should be the Democratic nominee to retain the 16th district house seat.”