Four years ago, only 24 votes separated the two candidates for the 29th District State Senate seat. Johnny Ray Turner beat Eric Shane Hamilton by that slim margin. Now the same two candidates are battling each other again to represent Breathitt, Floyd, Letcher, and Knott Counties. Both candidates say this is a new year and a new race and aren't thinking about the election four years ago. There are no Republicans running, so the winner of this Democrat primary will be the state senator.
Incumbent State Senator Johnny Ray Turner is in his eighth year representing Floyd, Breathitt, Knott, and Letcher Counties and wants to continue.
"I enjoy representing the people of Eastern Kentucky," Turner said.
But challenger Eric Shane Hamilton believes it is time for a change and wants a turn.
"I've always had a passion to help people," Hamilton said.
Both men have lived here their whole lives. Turner taught school and coached for 28 years. Hamilton is businessman, working in restaurants, and now real estate. He thinks his business background will help in the legislature and the budget.
"You raise your revenues up and you raise your expenses up, so you're at the same spot again, so I think we need to take a different look at government and that's through a business aspect," Hamilton said.
Turner is on several committees including leadership and education. He believes his experience is what the region needs.
"I think it puts me in a position to make a difference for projects and things, to be able to bring things home to Eastern Kentucky," Turner said.
Both men, if elected, want the same projects. They both want safe drinking water and sewer connections for every home. They want to improve the roads, and neither wants casino gambling in Eastern Kentucky, but want voters to decide, but first, they're asking voters to choose them.
"I'm the person that will work with everybody and get everybody their fair share," Hamilton said.
"I believe that I can make a difference in the quality of life for the people of Eastern Kentucky," Turner said.
Voters still have some time to decide. Election Day is May 20th.