Kentucky House remains in Republican control; Democrats make few gains

Democrats made a dent in Republicans’ control of the Kentucky House of Representatives Tuesday, but the GOP still will dominate the law-making chamber for at least another two years.

Going into Election Day, Republicans enjoyed a membership advantage of 62-37, with one vacancy, in the House. The GOP had gained 17 seats in the House two years ago to take control of the chamber for the first time since 1921.

In unofficial results Tuesday night, Democrats flipped at least seven House seats and Republicans flipped six, giving Democrats a net gain of at least one. That makes the unofficial count in the House, 61 Republicans and 38 Democrats, with one race still too close to call.

If that count stands, Republicans keep their super majority. A super majority in the House occurs when a party has at least 60 of the chamber’s 100 members. A super majority is needed to pass tax issues in odd-numbered legislative sessions and constitutional amendments.

With Tuesday’s elections, the Republicans remained in firm control of both the House and Senate, and the governorship with Matt Bevin.

House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, was touting a possible takeover this year by Democrats in the House, but that goal seemed too lofty. Ninety of the House’s 100 seats were being contested.

That optimistic view by some Democrats was fueled by teachers and state workers upset with a Republican pension bill approved last spring by the state legislature. The status of the bill is pending in the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Adkins, who has been in the House since 1987, said President Trump was a big factor in Democrats’ losing control of the state House to Republicans in 2016, and Trump was not on Tuesday’s ballot.

He said late Tuesday night, “While I wish we had a better overall outcome, I am proud of the hard-fought victories we had in many districts.”

Democrats “faced an uphill battle,” Adkins said, because of a nationalized climate and the unfortunate rise of dark money and negative attacks.”

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