Kentucky State Senator Reginald Thomas (D-Lexington) has introduced SB 79. It places new restrictions on candidates in special congressional and legislative elections. Kentucky is one of eight states that doesn’t let anyone run for partisan office if the candidate has switched partisan affiliation recently. But these restrictions don’t apply to special elections. SB 79 would extend them to special elections.
Senator Thomas says this is just “closing a loophole”, but there is a sound reason not to apply such restrictions in special elections. Regularly-scheduled elections are predictable events, but special elections are not. They are generally triggered by events that could not have been predicted, such as the death or resignation of an incumbent. Other states with prior affiliation laws don’t apply them to special elections, or at least have a shorter restriction. See this story.