Higdon ready to be a senator

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By Stephen Lega

Jimmy Higdon’s phones rang almost constantly for days after his victory in the Dec. 8 special election to fill the 14th District state senate seat.

His win over Democrat Jodie Haydon was even mentioned in The Wall Street Journal and by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Higdon, a Republican, was amused by the attention his victory received, but he said he wasn’t going to try to analyze what his win might mean.

“I’ll let the experts pick it apart and digest it,” he said. “I’ve got enough to do getting ready to be a senator.”

Instead, Higdon praised the efforts of his campaign team and expressed his gratitude for the support he received across the district, and especially in his home community.

“I love Marion County. I believe in Marion County,” he said. “I truly love the people of Marion County.”

Higdon won the election with 11,327 votes, or 56.1 percent of the total. He won four of the five counties in the district - Marion, Mercer, Taylor and Washington counties.

In Marion County, Higdon won 67.1 percent of the vote, beating Haydon by a more than two-to-one margin, 2,860 to 1,405. Higdon also won 16 of the 17 precincts in Marion County.

“It’s humbling to know they came out and voted for me,” he said.

In the district, Haydon, a Bardstown native, won Nelson County.

Higdon credited the Republican Party of Kentucky with putting together a winning strategy in the campaign.

Accusatory ads were common during the race almost from the time both parties announced their candidates. Higdon’s supporters ran ads comparing Haydon with Nancy Pelosi, and urging voters to avoid one-party control in Frankfort. On Haydon’s behalf, outside organizations ran ads criticizing Higdon for votes he missed and accusing him of supporting spending cuts for education, prisons and health care.

In Higdon’s opinion, the negative ads did not appear to hurt him, and they may have even created a backlash against Haydon.

“I heard from a lot of people who were upset about the negative tone of this race,” Higdon said.

In the end, Higdon said he believed the race came down to the issues that his polling found was important throughout the district - jobs and the economy, health care, open and honest governments, cutting wasteful spending and family values, particularly being pro-life, a position both Haydon and Higdon played up in their campaigns.

Higdon said he would be sworn in during a private ceremony Tuesday night in Louisville, where his mother is in a nursing home.

Wednesday, Higdon has planned a public swearing in at Marion County High School. State Rep. Stan Lee, R-Fayette County, will be swearing Higdon into office.

The ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m., and the public is invited to attend.

See the complete story in the print edition of this week's Springfield Sun.