Robert Goforth

Robert Goforth

Incumbent Rep. Robert Goforth (R-KY) will serve another term in the House as a representative of the 89th District, which includes a small part of Madison County.

Goforth led most of Election Night and outpaced his opponent, Democrat Mike VanWinkle by a large margin. 

Goforth, who lives in East Bernstadt, garnered 71% of the vote Tuesday night compared to 29% for VanWinkle, according to unofficial election results from the secretary of state’s office.

The Republican swept his opponent with a total of 14,991 votes from Jackson, Laurel and Madison counties. 

The incumbent received the majority of his votes from Madison County, which accounted for the majority of his win.

Goforth accrued a total of 6,705 votes (63%) in Madison County, while VanWinkle had 3,854 (36%). While his opponent had 2,026 absentee ballots, Goforth had 4,212 early votes to push him ahead on Election Day. 

Goforth is facing several legal battles as he was indicted last month by a grand jury in Laurel County on one count of first-degree strangulation and fourth-degree assault.

The representative is accused of choking Amy Goforth, his wife, and hitting her in the head causing an injury on April 21.

His wife released a statement shortly afterward claiming that she did not want charges pressed against her husband.

Goforth is also facing accusations of misconduct and criminal activity.  

According to Frankfort Attorney Anna Whites, two separate, formal complaints were filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission alleging misconduct and criminal activity by the representative.

The first complaint was filed with the Legislative Ethics Commission and accuses Goforth of financial misconduct, use of position for personal and professional privilege or financial gain, and interference with the judicial process — all of which are subject to misdemeanor and felony charges.

The second complaint — according to Whites, who is representing a local citizen — was filed with the Registry of Election Finance.

Despite repeated attempts, Goforth could not be reached for comment by press time.

VanWinkle said he was disappointed in the results, but less so for himself.

“The reality is that my opponent will go to trial. He is also facing legal consequences for election misconduct. Odds are, he will be convicted and sentenced to prison and the 89th District will be forced to go without representation,” VanWinkle said Tuesday night. “It’s not a loss for me tonight, it’s a loss for the whole district and they deserve more.”

The Democratic candidate said he felt his steep loss was likely due to the practice of straight party ticket voting — which he said he hoped to end if elected.

“I think voters should have to look at the names on the ballot at least,” VanWinkle said.

The candidate said he did not run with dreams of winning, but did it out of more concern for the district.

VanWinkle himself came under fire for past incidents, which he said he was totally transparent about with voters.

“I was the only candidate in this race that was 100% transparent... That was a 20-year-old divorce and I don’t have a criminal record. It was mostly rumors. I tried to rise above it and I have. I believe in being fair and honest and I was,” VanWinkle said.

Despite the loss, VanWinkle said he will continue his work as a businessman, but laments what could have been. 

“I feel sorry for the people in the 89th district. I had started working on some plans and legislation that I wanted to take to Frankfort if I was elected. I was working on getting a domestic violence center in Jackson County some rural development money that is so badly needed here. Now, we have a representative that is facing election fraud and assault charges and as far as I know, its not going to be dropped and Goforth will be tied up with his own legal troubles instead of serving the needs of the district. It’s just sad,” VanWinkle said.

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