Nelson County a center of support for state Supreme Court candidate
STAFF REPORT
Sunday, May 27, 2018

Judge Debra Hembree Lambert of the state Court of Appeals captured nearly two-thirds of Nelson County’s votes in the race for the Kentucky Supreme Court.

She and Circuit Judge Daniel Ballou, who represents Whitley and McCreary counties, advanced to the fall race for the Kentucky Supreme Court’s 3rd District seat Tuesday.

Another circuit judge, David Tapp, who represents Pulaski, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties, was eliminated in the nonpartisan primary.

Lambert got nearly twice as many votes as Ballou, whom she’ll face in the general election Nov. 6 — 63,884 to 32,192, or just over half of the total. Tapp was a close third with 31,247. Both Ballou and Tapp got about 25 percent.

“I am so grateful for the trust and confidence so many individuals expressed in me by showing up at the polls yesterday and voting. Once again, Nelson County and its voters overwhelmingly voted in support of me as their next Kentucky Supreme Court Justice.” She carried 20 other counties as well.

In Nelson County, Lambert got an even higher share of the vote, 4,774 out of 5,910, or more than 65 percent of the total. Ballou had 980, or a little more than 13 percent here, finishing third to Tapp, who had 1,561, or 21 percent. Nelson County has been an area of strong support for Lambert. In 2014, in her race for the 3rd District seat on the state Court of Appeals, she defeated her opponent, Michael Caperton, locally by a vote of 6,442 to 3,630.

Prior to the election, two Bardstown law firms, Haydon & McNamara, and Fulton, Hubbard & Hubbard, issued a joint letter endorsing Lambert for the Supreme Court.

“When representing clients before the Supreme Court, we want to ensure that the justices hearing our cases have a strong grasp of the law and will approach each case with an open mind and the ability to fairly apply the law to the facts of the case. Judge Lambert will do exactly that and we wholeheartedly endorse her,” the letter said.

Audrey Haydon, the county’s Democratic chair, is one of the partners of Haydon & McNamara, and Doug Hubbard, a former Republican county chair, is one of the partners of the other firm.

Hubbard said he has known Lambert since she was a lawyer. He found her “even-tempered and well-prepared,” and smart without being arrogant.

Like the other two, she has been a circuit judge, but also an appellate judge. “Her experience far outweighs anybody else’s experience,” he said.

“I have no idea whether she is a Democrat or a Republican,” but that shouldn’t matter in a nonpartisan race, Hubbard said. Lambert said she looked forward to continuing to represent Nelson County as an Appeals Court judge and hopes to do so as a Supreme Court justice next year.

Ballou also expressed gratitude to “all the folks who came out and supported our campaign,” and said he looked forward to meeting even more voters during the general election campaign.
All three candidates had campaigned in Nelson County, including attending the Lincoln Dinner in Bardstown last month.