GOP, Dems gearing up for Kentucky Primary

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- With the first wave of primary elections happening Tuesday, many are wondering if they will tell us anything about what to expect from Kentucky’s primary in two weeks.

Primary season is now in full swing and both democrats and republicans here in Kentucky are gearing up for some competitive races and looking ahead to see what these primaries could mean for the midterm in November.

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With just two weeks until Kentucky’s primary, party officials are busy at work.

“There’s a lot of research going on, both on the district, on our candidates, on opposing candidates. So there’s a lot of prep work,” said Tres Watson, with the Republican Party of Kentucky.

After the secretary of state released numbers last week showing an increase in voter registration since the 2016 election, party officials are anxious to see how many will actually come out on primary day.

“People are tuned in for the first time in a long time to what’s happening,” said Brad Bowman, with the Democratic Party of Kentucky.

With primaries in several surrounding states this week, many are wondering if they will give any insight into what’s to come here.

“It’s really hard in midterm elections to compare anything that happens in the rest of the country to Kentucky because we are probably the only state in the nation where in midterms local elections drive turnout,” said Watson.

“While it does help and it raises excitement about seeing change happen in other states, we know the change that we need to see happen in Kentucky are based on Kentucky issues,” said Bowman.

But one thing experts say can show if a party may have the advantage going into the November election is the number of voters who turn out on primary day.

“When you see a party turning out more for the primary that’s usually a sign to some degree of voter enthusiasm and there does tend to be a sort of ripple effect. High turn out in a primary means higher turn out for that side in the general election,” said Stephen Voss, political science professor at the University of Kentucky.

That is what these parties say they will be focusing on every day until the primary.

“We’re going to engage all of our voters to show up at the poles for the primary,” said Bowman.

“Because in the midterms that’s what it’s all about, it’s less about persuading voters and it’s more about making sure that your voters show up,” said Watson.

Absentee voting is already underway and election day is Tuesday, May 22nd.