Republican Vaughan wins House District 95 special election

Republican Kevin Vaughan defeated Democrat Julie Byrd Ashworth with 62 percent of the vote to win a special election Thursday for state House District 95, vacated by former Republican Rep. Mark Lovell after he was accused of sexual harassment.

Vaughan, a business owner and member of the Collierville school board, had 3,099 votes to 1,737 for Ashworth, an attorney, according to the Shelby County Election Commission.

There were two independent as well. Robert Schutt got 143 votes and Jim Tomasik 25. And there were three write-in votes.

Since Vaughan replaces fellow Republican Lovell, who resigned in February, the state House’s partisan alignment remains the same as it was at the outset of the 110th General Assembly – 74 Republicans, 25 Democrats.

From the Commercial Appeal:

“Naturally, I’m very very happy,” Vaughan said of his win. “I look forward to serving the people of District 95 and I appreciate the support that everyone gave me.”

The race received little attention from the district’s 51,411 registered voters, with only 8.4 percent of those voters casting ballots in the primary.

The 5,007 votes cast in the general election represents 9.7 percent of the district’s registered voters.

District 95 includes Collierville, parts of Germantown and unincorporated Shelby County.

This is a seat that was formerly held by Republican Curry Todd, who was elected in 1998, but lost to Lovell in 2016 primary. During that campaign, Todd was arrested for stealing Lovell’s campaign signs. Lovell bailed Todd out of jail.

Campaign finance note: Vaughan’s campaign had collected a total of $66,810 – including $9,083 in candidate loans – and spent $36,775 as of June 6, date of the last disclosure filed with the Registry of Election Finance.

Ashworth raised $36,521 total through June 6 and had spent $34,914. She also had a $372 in-kind contribution; Vaughan had none.

Ergo, the spending was almost equal up to 10 days before the election. On his June 6 report, Vaughan reported a cash-on-hand balance of $32,057.

The Republican had opponents in the primary; the Democrat did not.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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