Emerge Kentucky Women Win Big in Democratic Primary

  • May 17, 2016
  • Allison Abney


May 17, 2016

CONTACT: Mandy Helton
contact@emergeky.org; 502-694-0009

Louisville, KY.—Tonight, Emerge Kentucky, the state’s leading organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for elected office, delivered a knockout punch in the Democratic primary. All eight of the organization’s women running for elected office won their races, which included federal, state and local level offices. Emerge’s women also turned the tide on diversity in Kentucky’s legislature, when program alumnae Attica Scott defeated 34-year incumbent Rep. Tom Riner in the race for the 41st State House District. Scott will be the first African-American woman elected to Kentucky’s state legislature since 2000. 

“The women who graduate from Emerge Kentucky’s training program are fearless fighters who have been given the cutting-edge political skills they need to win,” said Jennifer A. Moore, board chair of Emerge Kentucky and former Kentucky Democratic Party Chair. “I’m not surprised that every Emerge Kentucky woman won their race tonight. We know that when women are given the training they need to succeed there’s no limit to what they can achieve. Kentucky is ready for the talents these women offer. We can’t wait to celebrate these amazing women when they win in November.” 

Seven other women from Emerge Kentucky also won their primaries and will move on to the General Election in November. They include, Brandi Harless, who finished ahead of the incumbent mayor of Paducah, and McKenzie Cantrell, who defeated Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson to compete for the 38th state House District. In addition, Emerge Kentucky had five other successful candidates, including a congressional candidate, a candidate for the state House and two top vote-getters in county-wide races. 

U.S. Congress
Nancy Jo Kemper (Class of 2016), 6th District (central Kentucky)

Kentucky State House
McKenzie Cantrell (Class of 2016), 38th District (Jefferson County)
Attica Scott (Class of 2010), 41st District (Jefferson County)
Maria Sorolis (Class of 2013), 48th District (Jefferson County)

Shively City Council:
Beverly Chester Burton (Class of 2012) – Highest vote-getter in a 10-way race

Paducah Mayor:
Brandi Harless (Class of 2014) – Highest vote-getter in 5-way race

Paducah City Commission: 
Sarah Stewart Holland (Class of 2014) – 5th highest vote-getter in 12-way race

Barren and Metcalfe Counties District Court
Kathryn Thomas

These primary winners will join 10 other incumbent Emerge women on the ballot in November. They include, State Representative Rita Smart (81st district), Louisville Metro Council Member Cindi Fowler, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council member Angela Evans and county-wide elected officials from Daviess, Hardin, Grant, Jefferson, Madison, and McCracken. 

For a complete listing of Emerge Kentucky alumnae, please visit www.emergeky.org.



Emerge Kentucky offers Democratic women leaders the opportunity for top-notch candidate training and mentoring, giving women the skills, confidence, and network to run effective and successful campaigns.  Emerge Kentucky’s curriculum includes training in public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, field operations, labor and endorsements, networking, media skills, messaging, and ethics in politics.  Participants complete seven sessions over a six-month period.  

Emerge Kentucky’s Advisory Board includes the following members:  former Gov. Martha Layne Collins, former Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Jane Beshear, Sen. Denise Harper Angel, Sen. Robin Webb, Reps. Leslie Combs, Kelly Flood, Joni Jenkins, Martha Jane King, Mary Lou Marzian, Sannie Overly, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Rita Smart, and Susan Westrom, Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, Hon. Linda Belcher, Audrey Haynes, Ashley Judd, Carolyn Belcher, Jennifer Chandler, Hon. Teresa Isaac, Hon. Eleanor Jordan, Hon. Pam Miller, Leah McCormick-Adkins, Lillian Press, Hon. Kathy Stein, Mary Karen Stumbo, Dottie Sims, Lois Combs Weinberg, Linda Breathitt, and Virginia Woodward.

Board members from across Kentucky include:  Jennifer A. Moore, Susanna French, Linda Cowan, Heather Dearing, Lori Flanery, Peggy Hendy, Priscilla Johnson, Virginia Johnson, Lindy Karns, Caitlin Lally, Linda Marquette, Carole Register, Wanda Mitchell-Smith, Hon. Elaine Walker, and Mary Ellen Wiederwohl.