By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — After only picking up six votes in a recanvass in the Secretary of State’s race, Hilda Legg on Thursday conceded the Republican primary to Todd County businessman and teacher Bill Johnson.
Johnson will now face Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Lexington lawyer, in the November general election.
Legg asked for a recanvass after the May 17 primary when Johnson edged out Legg by less than 1,100 votes, or about 1 percent of the vote.
A recanvass — which is a retabulation of voting machine totals — was conducted Thursday morning. The recanvass showed that Legg picked up nine votes in Martin County and two votes in Pulaski County. Johnson picked up four votes in Martin County and one vote in Pulaski County, leaving Legg with a net gain of six votes.
According to unofficial results, Johnson had 66,444 votes compared to Legg’s 65,336.
Legg, a consultant who has worked in education and held several key positions in the federal government, said Thursday that she has not ruled out another run for political office. And despite losing the election, she would like to continue to look at ways to encourage people to vote.
While campaigning, Legg said she was often shocked about “how little people value the privilege and value of voting.” Legg said that she would support the entire Republican ticket this fall, including Johnson.
Legg out-raised Johnson nearly 6 to 1. According to the latest campaign finance reports, Johnson raised $24,000 while Legg raised $143,910.
Johnson has said that he had a better organization and grass roots support than Legg, which counterbalanced Legg’s large check book. Much of that support came from the Tea Party and other groups, Johnson said.
Johnson will need a substantial war chest to compete against Grimes, who beat incumbent Elaine Walker in the Democratic primary. Grimes, the daughter of a former Democratic Party chairman, out-raised Walker nearly 3 to 1. The latest report shows Grimes raised $378,660 compared with Walker’s $123,945.
Johnson said Thursday that he plans to kick off his fundraising on Tuesday and says that he realizes he will have to raise a lot more money to stay competitive with Grimes. “I’ll take her on 6 to 1 if I have to. The money is important and the message is important and grass roots (support) is important.”