By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear set a special election for Dec. 18 to fill the state Senate seat in Southern Kentucky left vacant by the resignation of David Williams.
Williams, who had been Senate president since 2000, resigned his 16th Senate District seat last week to accept Beshear’s appointment as a circuit judge. The district includes Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties.
“Holding the special election in December means the citizens of these six southern counties will have representation in the next session of the General Assembly,” Beshear said in a statement. “This session will review multiple issues important to our state, and it is critical that all Kentuckians have a voice in the Senate.”
The next session of the General Assembly is scheduled to begin on Jan. 8, 2013.
Because voting machines must remain locked for 30 days after the Nov. 6 general election, Dec. 18 is one of the first available dates for the special election, Beshear said.
The winner of the special election will take office immediately upon certification of the election results and the administration of the oath of office.
Party leaders will meet to select their nominees for the election.
Two Republicans — state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello and Albany lawyer David Cross — said this week they would seek the Republican nomination for the open seat.
There are two years left on Williams’ unexpired Senate term. The district leans strongly Republican.