Two candidates vying for open Senate District 24 seat

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected].

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Two candidates are facing off for the open seat in Senate District 24 that Wil Schroder (R-Wilder) has held since 2014. Before Schroder, Fort Thomas Republican Katie Stine held the seat from 1999-2014.

After the latest round of redistricting, the district is now comprised of Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken, and part of Kenton Counties.

Schroder decided not to run for re-election, and Democrat Rene Heinrich and Republican Shelley Funke Frommeyer are both hoping they’ll be victorious on Nov. 8.

Heinrich faces an uphill battle for the seat that’s been solidly Republican since at least the 1990s. The last Democrat to run for the seat was Rachel Roberts, who is now the House Representative in the 67th District.

Roberts lost 57 to 43 percent in 2018, which was an improvement from the 2014 race, where fellow Democrat Jason Steffen lost 62 to 38 percent. 

Heinrich, an attorney and a Highland Heights City Council member, said she’ll leverage her ability to litigate and connections from law school to make inroads in the statehouse for Northern Kentucky.

“Legislating is tough work, and it requires persistence, connection, and smarts,” Heinrich said. “I am uniquely situated in that I’ve lived in the city and the country, and I’ve lived in other parts of this Commonwealth. A lot of Frankfort doesn’t understand the uniqueness of NKY, and I’m the only candidate who can unite to bring resources back here.”

Heinrich said she’s tired of politicians saying things just to get elected and then not following through – whether from Democrats or Republicans.

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‘We want moderate voices, and that’s what I am,” Heinrich said. “People are worried about the cost of gas and putting food on the table. They are worried about education and child care for their kids so they can work. They want solid jobs to be available and to have access to broadband and bridges that aren’t crumbling.”

Frommeyer faced a battle from within her own party to win the Republican nomination in May. After Frommeyer defeated Jessica Neal and Chris Robinson in the primary, Neal filed a lawsuit alleging voter fraud in the election. Neal lost the election to Frommeyer by a vote count of 4,094 to 3,797. Chris Robinson came in third with a tally of 2,731 votes.

After a lengthy legal battle over the summer, Campbell County Judge Daniel Zalla dismissed the case after a recount showed the results didn’t change. In his ruling, he said that Neal definitely lost the election.

Neal appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeals, but not before Secretary of State Michael Adams certified the results putting Frommeyer on the ballot for the November showdown.

With the recount behind her, Frommeyer said she is hoping to tie national politics to this local race, even though Republicans hold super majorities in both the Senate (30-8) and House (75-25) on the state level.

“When I saw the mismanagement of the economy by Joe Biden and his allies in Congress, I couldn’t sit on the sidelines,” Frommeyer said. “Kentucky families are being crushed by the rising cost of living, high gas prices, and rampant inflation. As a businesswoman, I felt called to bring my voice as a small business owner and Certified Financial Planner to Frankfort to make sure that our state government is focusing on the issues that matter: the economy and crime.”

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Frommeyer said she brings decades of private sector experience and the perspective of a working mother.

“Not only do I understand how the economy works and how the choices legislators make affect the bottom line of businesses and workers, I also understand what it means for families on a day-to-day basis when the economy isn’t working,” Frommeyer said.

Both candidates are raising a significant amount of money for the seat. As of the 60-day pre-election report filed to the Kentucky Registry for Election Finance, Frommeyer has $31,893 on hand. Heinrich has $27,305 on hand.

Frommeyer received $28,900 in individual contributions and $10,000 from PACs. PACs include Kentucky Hospitals Circle Friends, Northern Kentucky Chamber PAC, Kentucky Chamber PAC, Bluegrass Committee, Duke Energy Corporation PAC, Making A Sensible Shift In Elections PAC, Pendleton County Republican Party, and Kentucky Association Of Chiropractors PAC.  

Heinrich received $19,266 in individual contributions and $5,000 from PACs. PACs include Kentucky Educators’ Political Action Committee, Kentucky Women’s Network PAC, and Ibew PAC Voluntary Fund.

She also received $2,000 from the Campbell County Democratic Executive Committee.

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