Despite a spirited effort on the part of her Democratic challenger, Regina Bunch Huff cruised to an easy victory to win a fourth consecutive term as 82nd District State Representative Tuesday.
Huff, a Republican from Williamsburg, topped local attorney Stefanie Ebbens Kingsley garnering 9,041 votes to 2,816. The legislative district includes all of Whitley county and four voting precincts in southern Laurel County.
Huff has proven to be a resilient, formidable candidate after taking over the seat following the untimely death of her former husband, Dewayne Bunch.
After her victory Tuesday night, Huff said she thinks she’s built a bond with her constituents through hard work and openness.
“I really think I’ve earned the people’s trust. I’ve worked hard to earn it from them. I think being accessible is the key,” she said.
“If someone contacts me, I contact them back. With 43,000 people in your district, that’s not easy … but I’ve worked really hard to get to know the voters, and let them know what I am doing and why I am doing it.”
Huff said she did have some pre-election day concerns. She was unsure how the pension bill that passed this legislative session would impact her support. She voted against the bill, but understands why people are upset given the way it was introduced into the General Assembly.
“When I got back home from that session, and the dust settled, I think everyone knew I did the best job I could standing up for those that held a pension in my district,” Huff said.
“I know there was a lot of people frustrated with the party and the governor and I can understand that frustration. I sympathize with that. I understood why they felt the way they did and it was important to me that they had a voice.”
Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Kingsley ran an aggressive campaign, sponsoring organizational meetings, registering voters, and undertaking an effort to canvass the district door-to-door. She said she’s proud of the campaign she ran and hopes it opens the door for Democrats in the future to make inroads in the staunchly Republican district.
“Of course I’m disappointed, but we ran this race to change the conversations in the district, and begin to have a place where it is safe for a Democratic candidate to have a place in the conversation,” she said.
“That’s why I ran. It was about creating balance, regardless of the outcome. We did everything we could to be successful and I’m proud of it.”
Kingsley noted the 3 to 1 differential in registered Republican to Democratic voters in the district, and said she was hoping she could make the race less about political parties, and more about ideas. She said she plans to stay active in the community, continuing to be a driving force behind the Whitley County Farmer’s Market and hoping to organize a tri-county women’s’ club.
Huff said she was grateful to everyone who voted for her in the race, and plans to work hard the next two years to show voters why she deserved their support.
“It’s a humbling experience to put your name on the ballot. When people take the time and vote, they reinforce they feel like you are doing a good job and that is something that is immeasurably important to me.”