Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, will run for re-election in 2018. This will be the first time Davis will face voters since her protest against gay marriage caused a national uproar. But it remains to be seen whether a Kim Davis re-election bid will be successful, especially since many of county’s governmental posts are held by Democrats. (Davis is a Republican.)
An attorney for Davis confirmed she will seek a second term. “She loves her job and she loves the people,” said Mat Staver, founder of the anti-LGBTQ Florida-based law firm Liberty Counsel that has represented Davis. “I’m sure (the election) will probably have more attention because of who she is, but you know she doesn’t have any major concerns about it.”
Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses in 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Six couples sued her, and a judge ordered her to issue the licenses. Davis refused and spent five days in jail.
When she was released, she returned to work and changed the marriage license forms so they’d no longer include her name. The state’s governor at the time agreed to recognize the licenses. Kentucky lawmakers then removed all county clerks’ names from the state marriage license form altogether.
A federal judge later ruled that while the new law made the suits against her moot, the couples’ attorneys were still entitled to legal fees.
What ticket will a Kim Davis re-election campaign be on?
Davis’ case in 2015 drew hundreds of protesters and supporters to her office in rural eastern Kentucky. While she was in jail, then-Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz visited her. Most recently, she traveled to Romania to speak against marriage equality efforts there.
Davis won election to the office in 2014 as a Democrat. Less than a month after she was released from jail, she changed her affiliation to Republican. Rowan County is a Democratic region. While its voters overwhelmingly elected Donald Trump for president, nearly all of the local elected officials are held by Democrats.
Lincoln Caudill, vice chairman for the Rowan County Democratic Party, said no one has announced they will challenge Davis yet. “I know (Davis has) created a controversy in the county and the farthest I can stay from giving an opinion on it, that’s what I plan to do,” he said.
The earliest Davis will be able to file for re-election is Wednesday, November 8, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office.