Lt. Gov. Martha Layne Collins, who seeks to become Kentucky's first woman governor, won a narrow victory in the state's Democratic primary. Monitor contributor Richard L. Walker reports that Mrs. Collins, a former beauty queen, ran strongly in rural areas, offsetting a large plurality by Louisville Mayor Harvey Sloane in his home area. Mayor Sloane did not immediately concede, although unofficial returns showed him running second, with 217,188 votes to Mrs. Collins's 220,601 with all but six precincts counted. Dr. Grady Stumbo, a former state cabinet secretary who carried the endorsement of outgoing Gov. John Y. Brown, was third, with 197,311 votes.
Mrs. Collins, whose present post is largely ceremonial, campaigned as a firm law-and-order candidate in an effort to counter the acknowledged reluctance of many Kentucky voters to elect a woman governor.
Republican voters nominated state Sen. Jim Bunning, a former major league baseball star. Although Kentucky Democrats have a 2-to-1 edge in party registration, observers said the race for the November general election may be more in doubt. Republican officials privately indicated they preferred to run against Mrs. Collins than the other candidates.