Webb, a Grayson attorney who's represented Carter and Lewis counties in the Kentucky House for the past 11 years, relied on a comfortable margin in her home county of Carter for a narrow 282-vote victory over Republican Dr. Jack Ditty in Tuesday's special election for the 18th District Senate seat.
Ditty, a Greenup County dermatologist making his first run for public office, racked up a 670-vote victory over Webb in his home county and won narrow victories in three of the other counties in the six-county district to lead by 867 votes going into Carter County, the county with the most precincts and the last one to finish tallying its votes.
Webb took Carter by 3,105 to Ditty's 1,955 to pull out the victory.
Unofficial tallies in the five other counties showed:
• Greenup -- Ditty 3,407, Webb 2,737, Gibbons 538.
• Lewis -- Ditty 1,184, Webb 1072, Gibbons 63.
• Mason -- Ditty 1,194, Webb 1,128, Gibbons 79.
• Bracken -- Ditty 520, Webb 474, Gibbons 62.
• Robertson -- Ditty 142, Webb 168, Gibbons 12.
The other other county where Webb was able to finish ahead of Ditty was Robertson, where she beat him by 26 votes.
Independent candidate Guy Gibbons Jr. finished a distant third in the race with 953 votes overall.
Neither Webb nor Ditty immediately answered messages left on their phones seeking comment.
The 18th District Senate seat came open when Charlie Borders, a Republican who who held it for 18 years, was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
Most observers said the race carried a statewide impact because it:
• Could affect the balance in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a 20-16-1 advantage.
• Could ultimately affect Beshear's Steve Beshear's legislative priority -- slot machines at horse tracks.
• Maybe down the road a couple of years from now affect congressional redistricting.
Webb, a Grayson attorney, voted in favor of a House bill to allow video lottery terminals at horse tracks. It passed in the House but not the Senate.
Ditty came out against expanded gambling, which Beshear says is needed to prevent making deep cuts in the general fund budget.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.