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A referendum on the GOP's future? A closer look into the 22nd senate district race

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Posted at 5:50 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 17:50:20-04

(LEX 18) — One of Central Kentucky's most interesting primary races will be for a state senate seat.

Senator Donald Douglas will face off against Andrew Cooperrider for the republican nomination for Kentucky's 22nd senate district.

Douglas is a doctor who was the face of legislation to formally end Kentucky's COVID-19 state of emergency. Cooperrider is a coffee shop owner who made headlines for defying COVID-19 restrictions and attempting to impeach Governor Andy Beshear.

University of Kentucky political science professor Dr. Stephen Voss says the outcome of this race could provide a look into the future direction of the Kentucky Republican Party.

"Cooperrider has turned it into a referendum on the direction of the Republican Party," said Voss. "We have a mainstream republican - [Douglas is] fairly conservative ideologically, I think, but nonetheless supported by the mainstays of the Kentucky Republican Party - facing a liberty conservative, a liberty republican, as Cooperrider’s describing himself - a little more of a Trump-style Republican."

Voss suggests this gives voters "a choice between the direction they want the GOP to go."

The decision will be directed by republican voters in Garrard, Jessamine, and parts of Fayette County. These counties represent rural, suburban, and urban voters, respectively. And Voss says they give each of the candidates a different advantage.

For example, Fayette County may play a big role for Cooperrider.

“The part of Fayette County in the district is new and that’s Cooperrider’s territory, which gives Cooperrider an advantage," said Voss.

However, Jessamine and Garrard counties represent the same voters that recently gave Douglas a special election win, sending him to Frankfort in the first place.

"The same voters in two counties who picked him to represent them in a special election - he’s returning to ask for their vote again," Voss added.

What distinguishes the candidates from one another? Tune into LEX 18 News on Wednesday.