By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — State Rep. Sara Beth Gregory and Albany lawyer David Cross said Wednesday they would seek the Republican nomination for an open Kentucky Senate seat vacated by former Senate President David Williams.
Williams, who was appointed to fill an open circuit court seat by Gov. Steve Beshear, resigned from his 16th District seat last week. The Senate district includes includes Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties. Williams has two years left on his unexpired term.
Once Beshear calls a special election for the open seat, local party officials in the district will nominate candidates.
Gregory, who was first elected in 2010 and faced no opposition in Tuesday’s general election, serves the 52nd House District, which includes McCreary and Wayne counties and a portion of Pulaski County. Cross has never sought public office.
Gregory, also a lawyer, said in a news release that she has been encouraged to run for the position by several people in the 16th District.
“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.
Cross said he decided to put his name in the hat as a possible candidate in part because the district could be redrawn in the upcoming legislative session. If Cross were to win a special election, he pledged that “I am not going to stand in the way of redistricting.”
The 16th District, which is surrounded by other Republican-held districts, has lost population in the past decade, which means its boundaries are likely to change. That could mean an incumbent Republican senator would face another incumbent Republican senator in a primary.
Democrats from the area also will nominate a candidate once a special election is set, but the district leans strongly Republican.