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Brian Linder is heading from the Grant County Courthouse to the capitol building in Frankfort.
The Dry Ridge resident, who has spent the past five years as magistrate on the Grant County Fiscal Court, rode a decisive victory in his home county to win the bid for state representative.
He will fill the vacancy left by long-time legislator Royce Adams, D-Dry Ridge, who decided to retire at the end of his term.
Linder received more votes than his Democratic challenger, Wanda Crupper Hammons, in each of the three-county 61st District.
However, he only bested Hammons by 188 and 89 votes in Gallatin and Owen counties, respectively.
In Grant County, where Hammons also resides, Linder received 2,517 more votes.
“I was very humbled to carry Grant County with the percentage that I did,” Linder said. “I was very humbled that they trust me to go to Frankfort and represent them.”
Linder’s victory was the first time a Republican has won the state seat representing Grant County in more than a century.
Linder said he had many Democrats voice their support for his candidacy during his campaign.
“With the direction that the national Democratic party is going, where they take God out of the platform, where they readily accept same-sex marriage, I think local people, although they’re still registered Democrat, they vote Republican,” he said. “When that long-term Democrat that they’ve known forever retires, that’s when they’re going to vote Republican and switch the seat. That’s what happened in our race.”
Linder also believes Grant, Owen and Gallatin are conservative counties, pointing to the victories by Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Congressman candidate Thomas Massie in the district.
This is the second time that Linder has faced Hammons in an election as the two faced off 2010 for a magisterial seat, which Linder won.
A heated exchange at the Grant County forum and ads by Hammons criticizing Linder’s attendance at fiscal court meetings did not make much difference in the outcome of the election, said Linder.
“I think we would have won this seat either way,” he said. “It may have added some margin to it. Maybe, we
wouldn’t have won by such a big margin. But, overall, I had a conservative record of working to working make Grant County better. I think people knew that.”
Linder said he will likely resign as Grant County magistrate on Dec. 31 to make way for a new member of the fiscal court in 2013.
The governor will ultimately appoint a replacement to fill Linder’s unexpired term.
With his new position as state representative, Linder said he looks forward to fighting for the people of Grant County and creating jobs in Kentucky.
“We’ve got to do what we can to make Kentucky business-friendly,” he said. “We’ve got to bring the jobs here.”