By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer
One of Northern Kentucky's last Democratic-held statehouse districts will apparently stay in the party's hands Tuesday with Dennis Keene's victory over Republican Mark Hayden in Campbell County's 67th House District.
With 96.2 percent of the vote in, Keene had 6,259 votes compared to Hayden's 5,995.
"I feel wonderful," Keene said during a victory party at the Wilder City Building, where he serves on City Council. "Determination and hard work from a lot of people is what won this for us. I thank the people of Newport, Dayton, Bellevue and the whole 67th District."
Keene said his priority after taking office early next year will be education "and making sure our teachers have a decent wage."
Keene said he also wants to work toward passing a state budget, which legislators failed to do this year.
For 18 years, House Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Callahan, a Wilder Democrat, has held the seat. Callahan is widely seen as one Northern Kentucky's most effective legislators. He sponsored the landmark legislation that revamped the state's higher education system and helped secure funding for projects that include the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Newport Aquarium and the Northern Kentucky University Science Center.
Democrats were desperate to hold on to the seat, one of the last statehouse districts the party controls in Northern Kentucky. Republicans saw an opportunity to pick up a seat in a district that, while heavy in Democratic registrations, has supported Republicans including Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
Fletcher came to Northern Kentucky in mid-October to help Hayden raise money and campaign.
The district covers Newport, Dayton, Bellevue, Southgate, Wilder and part of Highland Heights.
The race was contentious from the start.
During an August debate at Northern Kentucky University, Hayden brought up the number of tax increases Keene supported as a member of Wilder City Council.
Keene, apparently miffed at comments made during the forum, reportedly told Hayden that the "gloves are off" just as the forum ended.
At the conclusion of the forum, a reporter was interviewing Keene when Hayden approached him.
"Step aside here, I'm talking," Keene told Hayden.
"You took the gloves off first, buddy, so don't get in my face like that," Hayden replied.
Hayden had been upset a few weeks earlier after Keene and other Campbell County Democrats criticized Hayden's law firm for sponsoring seminars that instruct businesses how to set up operations in China.
Hayden had nothing to do with the seminar and said during the forum that he does not support outsourcing jobs. But Keene continued to use the issue throughout the campaign.
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Voters repeal amendment on gay rights
Ohio Supreme Court: GOP's justices appear to be buttressing majority
Voinovich has no trouble winning 2nd Senate term
Sycamore levy passes; four others fail
Kerry effort falls short in Ohio
Ohio Republicans aim to maintain grip in House, Senate
Ohio election briefs
Ohio Issue 1 passes
Turnout heavy in suburbs
MU students hit the polls
HAMILTON CO. RACES
Cincinnati school levy passes
Hospital tax leading despite opposition
CLERMONT CO. RACES
Clermont County: Republicans remain choice in early count
Clermont County tax issues: Long lines delay counting
BUTLER CO. RACES
Fairfield levy passes
Butler commission: All incumbents being returned
Butler levies: Support strong for health, social care funding
Butler County Sheriff: Jones likely successor to Gabbard
WARREN CO. RACES
Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count
Kings levy passes by slim margin
Indiana governor: Daniels prevails after tough, costly slugfest
Ballot misprint may affect Ind. school board race
KENTUCKY ELECTION RESULTS:
Alexandria: Voters stick with City Council's six incumbents
Bellevue City Council: Two incumbents losing seats with 4 of 5 precincts counted
Covington: Sanders and Stricker joining City Commission
Campbell County: Ward holds on to retain seat on Circuit Court
Florence City Council: One newcomer, five incumbents win seats
Independence: Four who opposed insurance tax win
Newport: Mayor, all four on council will be keeping their seats
Suburban schools: Campbell, other area boards get fresh faces
Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected
Urban schools: Newcomer ousts incumbent, snags Newport board seat
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Popular president dominates Kentucky
Ky. Senate: Bunning wins - but race was close
Ky. House: This time around, Davis prevails
Issue One: Kentucky overwhelmingly says yes to no-gay-marriage
State's determined voters brave long lines, waits, rain
23rd Senate District: Westwood survives challenge by Groob
Ex-Gov. Carroll wins Frankfort seat
State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat
67th House District: Keene's win preserves spot for Democrats
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Neighbors news briefs
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Jewelry gone after autopsy of corpse
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