Kim Davis Lost Her Kentucky Election & Can't Deny Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples Anymore

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On Tuesday night, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis lost her reelection bid, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader and LEX 18. Davis gained international notoriety in 2015 when, in defiance of the Supreme Court, she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her county.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Davis, who served five days in jail for violating the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, lost to Democratic candidate Elwood Caudill Jr. on Tuesday night by around 700 votes. Caudill ran against Davis in 2014 as well, losing by a mere 23 votes, according to LEX 18.

Davis became a hero to Republicans for denying marriage certificates to same-sex couples. When a federal court ordered her to obey the Supreme Court's ruling and sign marriage certificates for all couples in her county, she refused, and was jailed for contempt. In 2017, Davis began lobbying against same-sex marriage in Romania — a curious move, given that the country had already banned same-sex marriage at the federal level and was not, at the time, weighing any measures that would have legalized it.

Caudill made Davis' stance on gay marriage an issue in his campaign, saying during the campaign that he wants Rowan County "to get back to where it was and treat everyone equally and treat everyone with respect." The chief deputy in Rowan County's property valuation office, Caudill defeated David Ermold, a man who had been denied a marriage certificate by Davis in 2015, in the Democratic primary. After losing the primary, Ermold refused to endorse Caudill.

Davis' race notwithstanding, most of the attention in Tuesday's elections has been focused on the House of Representatives and the Senate. Going into the election, most polling suggested that Democrats had a strong chance of winning control of the House, but would likely fall short of retaking the Senate. Democratic losses in Tennessee and Indiana made it very unlikely that the Senate will change hands.

In Kentucky, most politicians held tight to their seats in the midterm elections. According to the New York Times' election results tabulations in the state, a lot of incumbents held their positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, the state Senate, and the state House. Davis was one of few incumbents on the ballot who did not win re-election.

While the state is mainly deep, deep red, there's one small pocket of blue in District 3, which includes Louisville — Kentucky's largest city. But some two hours from that blue pocket, a Democrat beat out a Republican in rural Rowan County — and with Caudill's ousting of Davis, couples may have a much easier time getting marriage licenses.