Fulfilling their Late Husbands Dreams in Frankfort- Johnson vs. Belcher


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The Kentucky house of representatives in Frankfort.

Zach Combest, Website Editor

The House is in session, but there is an empty seat for the 49 district.

Dan Johnson, 49 district representative committed suicide last month and now his wife Rebecca Johnson is running for his seat.

Rebecca referred to her husband’s death as a “high-tech lynching based on lies and half-truths.” She will be going up against the former state representative Linda Belcher. The special election will be held in February.

Dan Johnson was elected to the state legislature in 2016, part of a wave of Republican victories that gave the GOP control of the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time in nearly 100 years. The law requires that the election date be set at least 56 days from the date of the the governor’s order, said Bradford Queen, spokesman for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. So, if Gov. Matt Bevin issues the order within the next few days, the election would likely be held in early to mid-February. Johnson told the press, “I’ve been fighting behind my husband for 30 years and his fight will go on.” Johnson sponsored a number of bills involving religious liberty and teaching the Bible in public schools.  

Two days after the reports came out about Johnson, he committed suicide. “We share our condolences with Rep. Johnson’s family, friends, constituents and church community,” said Stephen George, executive editor of Louisville Public Media. “Like many, we continue to grapple with what happened. Our story is based on more than 100 interviews and thousands of pages of public documents, which are posted online along with our investigation. Readers can see the reporting and documentation for themselves.”

Dan Johnson defeated former rep. Belcher by 156 votes during a contest that drew national headlines in 2016 following controversial Facebook posts by Johnson.

Belcher won her seat after the death of her husband Larry, who was the 49 District State Representative, died in a 2008 car crash. This special election will be unique since both candidates are widows of former representatives that passed away while in office.

“She’s (Rebecca) fulfilling her husbands prophecy by taking his chair. Hopefully she is doing it for him in his memory,” said junior Karley Dawson. It will now come down to the citizens of the 49 district to make the decision.