Special election will beheld along with regular General
U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has resigned from office, effective Tuesday. A special election will take place the same day as the Nov. 8 general election to fill the remainder of the term.
The congressman’s office made the announcement on Wednesday. Spokesman Robert Hankins said Whitfield’s decision to resign has nothing to do with “ethics or health reasons.”
He said it was a personal decision, and one he could not discuss further at this time. More details about Whitfield’s plan will be released in the next 30 days, he added.
Hankins explained the congressman’s staff will remain at the district, state and national offices to handle issues such as disability claims, case work and veterans’ issues.
“It has been my honor and privilege to have represented the constituents of the 1st District of Kentucky in the United States Congress for the last almost 22 years,” Whitfield wrote in his resignation letter to Gov. Matt Bevin.
“As you know, I did not seek re-election to Congress this year and have now decided to submit my resignation as the Congressman of the First District of Kentucky …,” Whitfield continued. “I have enjoyed serving with you and wish you and your administration the very best …”
Bevin said in a statement he will issue a proclamation declaring a special election to fill the vacancy, adding the special election and the general election for the seat will be on the same day, Nov. 8.
Republican nominee James Comer said in a statement he will seek the nomination for the unexpired term and that he fully expects to be on the ballot twice on Nov. 8 — once for the unexpired term and once for the full two-year term.
Democrat Sam Gaskins said in a phone interview he expects to be on the ballot for the both the special election and the general election on Nov. 8.
Bradford Queen with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office explained it is up to each party to nominate candidates in the event of a special election.
The current candidates on the ballot for the general election are Comer, Gaskins, and write-in candidate Terry McIntosh of Paducah.
In the event of the special and general elections being on the same day, Queen said, the filing deadline will be Sept. 20.
Whitfield was first elected to Congress in 1994, becoming the first Republican to represent Kentucky’s 1st District.
He is a Hopkinsville native and served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1974-75, as a Democrat, while practicing law.
In 1979, Whitfield became counsel to the president of Seaboard System Railroad in Washington D.C. He was then named vice president of state relations and then vice president for Federal Railroad Affairs for CSX Corp., according to New Era archives.
“For more than two decades, Congressman Ed Whitfield has served the people of Kentucky’s First District with distinction,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell wrote in a statement. “During his tenure in Congress, Ed has fought hard for the people of Western Kentucky and it has been an honor working alongside him on a variety of issues.”
“I am thankful for our many years of friendship, and Elaine and I extend every best wish to Ed, Connie and the entire Whitfield family in the years ahead,” McConnell concluded.
Hankins said he didn’t have any information about Whitfield’s future plans, including whether or not he would be moving back home to Hopkinsville.
By Rebecca Walter
Kentucky New Era