Nov 16, 2012 12:54 PM
FRANKFORT (AP) - Democrats and Republicans have nominated candidates to run for an open Senate seat in southern Kentucky.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that officials from each political party had separate meetings on Thursday and approved the nominations of Republican state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello and Democrat Bill Conn, a teacher in Williamsburg who is making his first run for public office.
The two are vying for a seat vacated by Senate President David Williams, who was appointed as a circuit judge by Gov. Steve Beshear. The Senate district includes Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties.
A special election in the heavily Republican district is set for Dec. 18.
Gregory, 30, is an attorney who was elected last year to represent the 52nd House District that is comprised of McCreary, Wayne and a portion of Pulaski County. She won a second term on Nov. 6, but said she could continue working in the Senate on the issues she has tackled in the House.
"I am seeking the nomination for state Senate because I want to continue working to bring new jobs and development to this region, to fight the problem of drug abuse, and to protect the values of the people who live here," Gregory said in a written statement when she announced her candidacy.
Conn, who turns 30 next month, is a teacher for the Williamsburg Independent School District and described himself as a conservative Democrat who disagrees with President Barack Obama on several issues.
"I am proud to be a pro-coal, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-family Democrat," Conn said.
In addition to filling Williams' seat, a new leader must be chosen for the Senate. Williams had held the position of president since 2000. Candidates include Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and Sen. Robert Leeper, I-Paducah. Senate Republicans make their choice on Nov. 27.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)