FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — When President Donald Trump speaks, and tweets, Amy Evans can’t help but cringe.
Yet the 68-year-old longtime registered Democrat in central Kentucky recently switched her voter registration to the Republican Party. Although Trump’s controversies have Democrats dreaming of a “blue wave” in November, Evans said she tunes out the president’s words and has no regrets about switching parties.
“I don’t read his tweets. I really like what he has done,” she said. “There are a lot of people just like me. We’re not vocal; we just follow our hearts. We follow what we feel is right.”
Evans is one of thousands of Kentucky voters who have switched their registrations to Republican in recent years. Since Trump took office in January 2017, Democrats have lost more than 2,500 registered voters statewide while Republicans have added more than 58,000. This year, for the first time in memory, Democrats fell below 50 percent of all registered voters in the state.
That could have national consequences in Democrats’ efforts to control Congress. In Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, where Evans lives, most political observers have Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in a toss-up race with Democrat Amy McGrath, a retired fighter pilot. In that district alone, Republicans have added more than 9,000 voters while Democrats have added more than 2,000.
“That tells me some of this is more hype than substance,” said Scott Jennings, a Kentucky-based Republican consultant with close ties to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I doubt very seriously anybody registered to vote Republican this year, which are many, is going to vote for Amy McGrath.”