The Latest: Clinton declares victory in Kentucky primary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on the Kentucky primary election in which voters are casting ballots on a slate of local, state and federal races including the Democratic presidential primary (all times local):

11:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is declaring victory in Kentucky’s presidential primary, but her race with Bernie Sanders still remains too close to call.

Clinton says in a statement posted on Twitter that she just won the state’s primary and thanks “everyone who turned out.” She says, “We’re always stronger united.”

With nearly all the votes counted, Clinton holds a narrow lead of less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote.

The Sanders campaign is not immediately saying whether it will challenge the results. Kentucky does not have an automatic recount.

Clinton holds a commanding lead of nearly 300 pledged delegates over Sanders and a dominant advantage among party officials and elected leaders known as superdelegates. The outcomes in Tuesday’s primaries in Kentucky and Oregon are not expected to change the arc of the Democratic race.


10:45 p.m.

Just 118 short of the delegates needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton remains on track to do so by early June.

Clinton and Sanders each picked up at least 25 delegates Tuesday in Kentucky’s presidential primary.

The margin in Kentucky between the two is less than one-half of 1 percent, which means the race is too close to call.

After the votes in Oregon are counted later Tuesday, the next caucuses are in the Virgin Islands on June 4 and Puerto Rico on June 5, with a combined total of 67 delegates at stake.

If Sanders still hopes to reach the 2,383 needed to win, he would have to pick up an overwhelming 88 percent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates.

That’s all but impossible under the Democrats’ system of awarding delegates in proportion to the vote, rather than winner-takes-all.


9:55 p.m.

Two longtime state lawmakers have been unseated by primary election challengers as Democrats and Republicans set their slates for the next fight for control of the Kentucky House.

Both defeated legislators are from Louisville — Democrat Tom Riner and Republican Ron Crimm.

The 81-year-old Crimm was defeated on Tuesday by Jason Nemes, the son of ex-state Rep. Mike Nemes, who is now deputy secretary of the state Labor Cabinet.

Riner was unseated by former Louisville Metro Council member Attica Scott.

Democrats hold 53 of 100 seats in the state House. Republicans will try again to take control of the chamber in November, when all 100 seats will be up for re-election.


9:45 p.m.

Harold Bratcher, who has joked that his only experience in politics came when his kids ran for class president, has won the GOP nod to challenge five-term Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth in November.

Bratcher, 43, runs a small trucking company in Louisville and campaigned on being a political outsider. He pledges to bring jobs back to the United States, reform the tax code and close the nation’s borders.

He will face Yarmuth, who has represented the state’s 3rd Congressional District for a decade, in the fall.

Yarmuth, a former newspaper publisher, was first elected in 2006 and remains the only Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation.

Yarmuth says his priorities have been to toughen campaign finance laws, combat gun violence and expand access to health care. He has handily won each of his re-election campaigns.


7:55 p.m.

James Comer has won the Republican nomination in Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District one year after a heartbreakingly close loss in the GOP primary for governor.

Comer wants to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, who has held the seat since 1995. He defeated Michael Pape, Whitfield’s district director for two decades, and Hickman County Attorney Jason Batts. Miles A. Caughey Jr. finished fourth.

After losing the nomination for governor by just 83 votes last year, Comer said he planned to return to his farm in Tompkinsville. But when Whitfield announced his retirement, it was an opportunity for Comer to capitalize on his immense popularity in the 1st District.

Comer will face Democrat Sam Gaskins in the November election.


7:15 p.m.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has won the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in Kentucky to set up a fall campaign against Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

Gray promoted his city hall and business experience in his campaign against six underfunded Democratic opponents in Tuesday’s primary.

Gray is running as an openly gay candidate in a state where Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis drew widespread attention last year for her opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Democrat helped build his family’s successful construction company, and he dipped into his personal wealth to make a $1 million loan to his campaign.

Kentucky Democrats last won a U.S. Senate election in 1992.


7 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has won the Republican nomination in his pursuit of a second term.

Paul juggled dual campaigns for the White House and re-election to the Senate until early this year, when he ended his struggling presidential bid. In Tuesday’s primary election, the Kentucky Republican defeated his two Republican challengers — James Gould and Steve Slaughter.

Paul rode a wave of tea party support in winning his Senate seat in 2010. The libertarian-leaning Paul kept to his low tax-and-spend mantra during his first Senate term. He also championed efforts to curtail the federal government’s surveillance powers, and has ventured into minority neighborhoods to advocate for criminal-justice reforms.


6:55 p.m.

The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, a longtime lobbyist on social justice issues in Frankfort, has won the 6th District Democratic primary and will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in November.

Kemper defeated Geoff Young, a retired state energy official who had previously lost bids for governor, state representative and Congress. She has criticized Barr, a two-term incumbent who won in a landslide two years ago, as being too cozy with big banks.

The 74-year-old Kemper is pastor of New Union Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ congregation in Woodford County.

Young also criticized Barr but also took on the Democratic Party establishment, calling it “dumber than a bucket of rocks” in one campaign ad.


6:50 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr has fended off a tea party challenge in the Republican primary in the 6th Congressional District and won the right to defend his seat in November.

Barr, a Lexington lawyer seeking his third term in Congress, easily defeated Harrison County tea party activist Roger Brill for the GOP nomination on Tuesday.

He’ll face the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper or retired state energy official Geoff Young, who are vying for the Democratic nomination in the central Kentucky district.

Barr, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has worked to roll back sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and Consumer Protection Act during his time in Congress. Both Democrats have accused him of being too cozy with big banks.


6:45 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers breezed to re-election Tuesday, clinching a record 19th term in office.

The Somerset lawyer has served in Congress since 1981, making him the longest-serving Kentucky Republican ever elected to federal office.

He represents Kentucky’s 5th District, the Appalachian eastern part of the state the remains one of the poorest congressional districts in America.

He is chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which oversees federal government spending. He and former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear launched Shaping Our Appalachian Region, an effort to transform eastern Kentucky’s economy after the decline of the coal industry.

Rogers handily beat Republican John Burk Jr. in Tuesday’s primary and does not have a Democratic challenger for the November election.


1 p.m.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says it’s basically the “patriotic duty” of Kentuckians to vote against Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton because of her comments about coal.

Paul’s comments Tuesday are more evidence that Kentucky Republicans plan to use Clinton’s coal-related remarks against Democratic candidates this fall.

Paul, who is seeking the nomination for a second Senate term in Tuesday’s primary election, says it’s wrong for government to single out an industry and punish it.

During a March appearance on CNN, Clinton was asked how her policies would benefit poor white people in Southern states. She talked about setting aside billions to protect health benefits for coal miners and their families. But in the soundbite Republicans pounced on, she said “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

Clinton has called the comment a “misstatement.”


11:15 a.m.

Kentucky Secretary of State spokesman Bradford Queen says voter turnout has been slow since polls opened on a cool, rainy election day.

The top race on Tuesday’s ballot for Democrats is the presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Republicans held a presidential caucus in March, which was won by Donald Trump. Other major races on the primary ballot include seats for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the state House.

Queen said by late morning, there had been no major problems reported.

The Attorney General’s Office said it had received 11 calls from eight counties by 10 a.m. A majority of the calls were procedural questions, but three were reports of electioneering and one reported possible vote buying.

Voters can cast ballots until 6 p.m. local time.


7:30 a.m.

Polling places for the primary election have opened in Kentucky as light rain falls across much of the state.

The forecast called for widespread showers early Tuesday and scattered showers later in the day with high temperatures reaching to about 60 degrees.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has said she expects voter turnout to reach about 20 percent for the primary election. The ballot includes a host of local, state and federal races.

The top race for Democrats is presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Republicans held a presidential caucus in March, which was won by Donald Trump.

Other major races on the ballot include seats for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the state House. Voters can cast ballots until 6 p.m. local time.

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