LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Sen. Reggie Thomas may face others in his own party's primary but he’s hitting the campaign trail early.
The Fayette County Democrat opposed charter school legislation, the repeal of the state prevailing wage and right to work. All of those plans passed easily in 2017 following the Republican wave that swept through Kentucky elections recently.
While Fayette and Jefferson counties typically lean “D”, the Lexington lawyer will need to win the support of Republicans outside of the metropolitan areas if he's going to stand a chance of defeating incumbent Republican Andy Barr.
“I don't think his vote on healthcare is popular in this district”, Thomas said of Rep. Andy Barr. “I don't think people in this congressional district, number one, want to see their healthcare taken away, number two, see their insurance premiums rise or, number three, want to be denied health insurance."
Congressman Barr has been a staunch supporter of President Trump's effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act known as "Obamacare. “That decision weighed heavily on Mr. Thomas, announcing early that he'll run for Congress.
"The problem here is that we often want to sound byte health care and the reality is that healthcare is a very complicated problem,” said Sen. Thomas. “It deserves study, deserves time, deserves reflection and that's what I intend to do. And once I look at all of the options on the table and think about what I think is best for Kentuckians and best for Americans then I will state my policy positions and I'm going to do that before the end of this year.”
If elected, the 13th District State Senator would become the first African-American congressman in Kentucky history. He's the first African-American elected in a majority white State Senate district.
When we asked him about that, he chuckled and downplayed the focus insisting that while race has been a topic on the campaign trail that voters seem focused on the issues as is he.
“I understand the historical significance of this,” said Sen. Thomas. “I understand the historical importance. But, at the end of the day, I want to be remembered as a good congressman, not as the first African-American congressman."
With the filing period yet to begin, and months before a deadline, it's very possible Senator Thomas will still face other Democrats in a primary next year.