Tonight, following President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress, the Democrats chose former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to respond. We understand that a likely factor in why they chose this former elected official is because their options were limited after voters kicked Democrats out of office during the Obama era in massive numbers. But as we reflect on his response this evening, it’s important to understand the legacy he left behind for his party in Kentucky.
Today, Republicans hold 69 of 99 legislative chamber majorities and a majority of statewide offices. In the states, there may be no better example of a crumbling Democrat Party over the last eight years at the hands of better Republican candidates than in Beshear’s own state. In the Obama/Beshear era in Kentucky, Republicans have:
- Flipped the Kentucky House for the first time in 95 years in 2016.
- Defeated the Speaker of the House, Greg Stumbo, who had been in office since 1980.
- Secured a supermajority in the Kentucky House in 2016 with a 64-36 makeup, its largest GOP House majority in state history. When Obama took office, Democrats held a 65-35 supermajority.
- Flipped almost 1,000 state legislative seats from blue to red, including 34 seats picked up across Kentucky’s two chambers.
- Grown its number of trifectas – states with a GOP governor, state House and state Senate majorities – to 25, thanks to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s victory in 2015 and the state House flipping to a GOP majority, joining the state Senate, in 2016. Democrats only have five trifectas.
- Flipped the office of Kentucky governor, lieutenant governor, auditor and treasurer, giving Republicans five of the seven statewide executive offices. Following the 2011 elections, Democrats controlled six of the seven.
Thanks to voter confidence in the GOP vision for smarter governing, Republicans are able to enact positive change in states across the country today – including in Kentucky. By focusing on issues like tax reform, school choice and right to work, Republicans are delivering for their constituents. So while Democrats continue to soul search about what went wrong over the last eight years and decide how to rebuild – featuring the same party leaders who helped them reach historic lows – Republicans will remain focused on the jobs they were elected to do and the people they were elected to serve – from the White House to the state Houses.