johnny ray

Johnny Ray Turner

Johnny Ray Turner is a Democratic member of the Kentucky Senate, representing the 29th District since 2000. He is currently Minority Caucus Chair.


Johnny Ray Turner has had an interesting rise to power. In 1983 Knott county businessman Benny Ray Bailey defeated a retired state transportation employee Ray Turner for the 29th district state senate seat. Upon Baileys' victory he sent a certificate to Mr. Turner declaring him an honorary state senator. Twenty-one years later Ray Turners' son, Johnny, threw his hat into the ring for the 29th district state senate seat. Turner, a political novice, fought a rematch against the same man who defeated his father twenty-one years before. Turner in no way had an easy campaign. In fact just a month from the election Turner faced a 36 point deficit in the polls. Turner turned these polls around with a campaign commercial that labelled senator Bailey as someone who lived in the 29th district but worked for the 30th district. The following is a 30-second TV spot that possibly put turner over the top:

ANNOUNCER: Did you hear the one about the state senator who lives in Knott County making a wrong turn on Highway 80? Instead of turning the right way to go home, he heads the wrong way to Hazard where his business interests are. If this is a joke, why aren't the people of Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson and Knott counties laughing?

TURNER: It's time for a real change in Frankfort.

ANNOUNCER: Johnny Ray Turner - real leadership for real results.

When election night came Johnny Ray Turner won the 29th state senate democratic primary with 54 percent of the vote. Since then (both in 2004 and in 2008) Senator Turner has been challenged by former senator Baileys' nephew Eric Shane Hamilton. In the 2004 campaign senator Turner won re-election by just 24 votes. In the 2008 election Senator Turner was once again challenged by Mr. Hamilton. In this election Senator turner was once again re-elected capturing 53.5 percent of the vote.

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