By RONNIE ELLIS
CNHI News Service
Continuing Kentucky’s conservative trend, Republican Thomas Massie, a tea party favorite endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul, easily won Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District seat Tuesday, overwhelming Democrat Bill Adkins.
As of press time, Massie had won 178,985 votes, getting 62 percent of the total, while Adkins got 99,912 or 35 percent. Independent David Lewis got 8,344 votes or 3 percent.
Massie, who resigned his position as Lewis County judge-executive to run for Congress and who won a contentious, crowded Republican primary, also won a simultaneous special election to fill out the remaining two months of the unexpired term of Republican Geoff Davis, who resigned last summer.
That race was important, because Massie will be sworn in immediately, giving him a vote on the “fiscal cliff” sequestration issue and also providing him seniority over other freshmen elected Tuesday but who won’t be sworn in until January.
“I’ll be there on Nov. 13 and be sworn in a week from today,” Massie told Kentucky Education Television after his two wins.
“The ideas we had resonated with the people of the 4th District,” Massie said.
Massie — like Paul — campaigned on national issues, promising to fight for limited government and significantly reducing federal spending and regulation and favors extending all the Bush tax cuts.
He said he focused his campaign, however, on “jobs and the economy and along with that goes the debt and spending.”
But healing the economy, Massie said, means getting the government “out of the way. Government doesn’t create jobs.” He called for tax reform, regulatory reform and extending the tax cuts which were passed during the Bush administration but are set to expire this year without legislative action.
Massie also said he will vote to allow the “sequestration” cuts — automatic spending cuts in both defense and discretionary domestic spending, but not entitlements — to proceed. Most members of both parties have argued those should be avoided because they could plunge the economy back into recession.
Generally, Democrats want to protect discretionary spending and pay for that with tax increases on the wealthy while Republicans want to avoid the cuts in defense but continue the Bush tax cuts. The latter would require heavier reductions in defense spending or entitlements.
But Massie said both sides of the spending ledger must be cut back and he said his new constituents understand that.
“People in the 4th District know you can’t year in, year out, spend more than you take in,” Massie said.
Adkins campaigned hard, traveling the district but clearly his more Democratic message of preserving social net safety programs and asking the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
Massie on the other hand, kept a relatively low profile after his hard-fought primary win over six other Republicans. He traveled the district but avoided many forums, agreeing only to one debate with Adkins on KET.
Massie was endorsed by Paul and his campaign was managed by Phil Moffett, another tea party favorite who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor last year. But Moffett ran well in northern Kentucky and lent his grass-roots organization to Massie who also had the benefit of operatives on Paul’s staff.
Massie also got financial support from a Texas-based independent political action committee, Liberty for All, which paid for heavy advertising in the primary on Massie’s behalf.
Massie will fit in with the large Republican freshman class of 2010 which was heavy on tea party-backed candidates and who have consistently resisted a “grand bargain” between Republicans and President Obama.
In the 3rd District of Jefferson County, Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth won easily over Brooks Wicker. Yarmuth benefited as well from Obama’s good showing in Jefferson County, one of only four counties in Kentucky in the Obama column as of press time.
In Kentucky’s other three congressional districts, Republican incumbents Ed Whitfield in the 1st, Brett Guthrie in the 2nd, and Hal Rogers in the 5th were all easy winners.
All had been declared winners by Associated Press before 7:30 p.m. EST.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.