FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - In the first election since a sexual harassment scandal engulfed the state legislature and the #MeToo movement started, a record number of women are running for seats in Kentucky's General Assembly.
Nearly 100 women, which include a significant number of educators, are among the 550 candidates who met Tuesday's deadline to file candidacy paperwork with the Office of Secretary of State and county clerks.
"I am so encouraged by the thousands of Kentuckians of all backgrounds who are stepping up and offering themselves for public service in 2018," said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes . "Our democracy is strengthened when more people are involved in the process – not just voting, but serving."
Angela Evans, a Lexington council member and graduate of Emerge Kentucky, a program that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for public office, says this year the program has 60 women who went through the program on the ballot, including 22 running for the General Assembly.
"I think women are finally realizing that, you know, we still have things to fight, we still have issues that have not been settled," Evans said. "And women are finally speaking up."
Overall, thirteen seats in the Kentucky House and two seats in the Kentucky Senate are uncontested.
Kentucky's former House speaker has drawn no opponent in his bid for another term as he faces an ethics investigation stemming from his secret settlement of a sexual harassment claim. No Republican or Democrat stepped forward before Tuesday's filing deadline to challenge longtime GOP state Rep. Jeff Hoover. Hoover's rural district is a Republican stronghold.
The 2018 ballot features Kentucky's six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the 100 seats in the Kentucky House of Representatives and seats in even districts in the Kentucky Senate.
The judicial slate includes the Kentucky Supreme Court's third district, Kentucky's District Judges, and all Commonwealth's Attorneys and Circuit Court Clerks. On the local level, all county officers will be up for election along with city legislative bodies and mayors of some cities.
Grimes and local county clerks will conduct drawings for ballot positions Thursday at 2 p.m. local time. Grimes will certify the candidates' names for printing of the ballots on Feb. 12.
The primary will be May 22.