Poll shows weak spot for Killian Timoney on transgender sports issue

Republican voters in Kentucky’s 45th Legislative District prefer a candidate for office who would support efforts to block individuals assigned male at birth from participating in girls or women’s sports even if that is the gender for which they identify.

A poll from Breakwall Group, a conservative political consulting firm, found that 66% of surveyed Republicans would be less likely “to vote for a state legislator who voted on multiple occasions to allow someone born a male who now identifies as a female to compete in female sports in high school and college.”

Only 20% said they would be more likely to vote for a legislative candidate under those circumstances, while 14% were unsure. 

The poll was taken among 258 likely Republican voters exclusively within the 45th Legislative District, which is currently represented by Republican Rep. Killian Timoney.

Despite his party affiliation, Timoney has resisted attempts to ban athletes assigned male at birth from competing in girls or women’s sports. 

In the 2022 Legislative Session he voted “no” on Senate Bill 83, a measure approved in the Legislature prohibiting transgender women and girls from participating in women and girls’ sports from grade six through college. Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the bill, but the GOP-controlled Legislature overturned his veto. 

Timoney was the only Republican to vote against it. 

Likewise, Timoney was the only Republican not to support House Bill 23, an effort to require all middle, high school and college athletes on girls’ teams to be listed as female on their birth certificates and allow students to sue schools that permit transgender girls to play on girls’ sports teams. 

Timoney said the bill was unnecessary.

“Currently we are looking at 50 trans athletes out of 200,000 NCAA athletes. For those non-math people in the House, that’s a 0.00025%. We’ve got time to do this right,” he said at the time, according to Louisville Public Media. 

The poll likely serves as an issue test for a hypothetical GOP Primary in an attempt to unseat Timoney.

The American Conservative Union, which rates state lawmakers on their conservative voting records, ranked Timoney 65% out of 100%, making him one of the least conservative Republicans in the Kentucky House. 

The poll also tested the issue of tax credit scholarships, asking respondents whether they would be more or less likely to support a candidate “who voted with public sector teacher unions against the formation of a scholarship fund that would provide tax credits for those wishing to send their children to private schools.”

There, 52% of the GOP respondents said they’d be less likely to support such a candidate, while 27% said they’d be more likely. A further 21% were unsure. 

That’s also a ding to Timoney, who voted against House Bill 563 in 2021, a measure approved in the Legislature establishing a scholarship fund for private schools through tax credits. Beshear vetoed the bill, but his veto was overridden. 

While the issue test shows another messaging strategy should another Republican challenge Timoney when he is up for re-election in 2024, the transgender sports issue carried more weight among respondents. 

That issue had the highest opposition of issues tested and had the lowest level of unsure respondents. 

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