Turnout Expected to Factor in Kentucky Primary

Published 05/19 2014 06:17PM

Updated 05/19 2014 06:29PM

Polls open in less than 12 hours in the commonwealth for the Kentucky Primaries.  But despite growing attention on the G.O.P. primary between Senator Mitch Mcconnell and Matt Bevin, state officials say turnout's expected to be low.

"It's been a very big learning experience for me," says Jamie Leach of Fordsville, who will be voting for the first time.  She's been learning about the candidates and the issues.

"They've pretty much been talking about all of it," she says. "We live in a very, very small town, and we just want the drugs off the streets."

But most voters aren't, despite the growing attention to the U.S. Senate race.  Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says statewide turnout could be at around 30%.  But Kentucky Wesleyan Political Science Professor William Conroy says turnout will be key.

"I expect if the turnout is decent, Bevin will be crushed," he says.

In the senate primaries, low turnout could benefit Bevin.  Conroy says his supporters could be more determined to vote tomorrow. 

"Bevin is a Tea Party person, which means his supporters are very motivated, very far right, and they will come out to vote," Conroy says.

On the Democratic side, Alison Lundergan Grimes is expected to win, despite facing three other candidates. Turnout could impact local races, such as the Daviess County Judge Executive race between Al Mattingly and Gary Boswell.

"If you go around and look at the signs in town, it looks like he has a core of supporters," says Conroy. "If you have low turnout, Mattingly could be upended."

Conroy adds if McConnell doesn't win by as big a margin as polls suggest, then it could encourage more money to go to the Grimes campaign this fall.

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