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No ‘Blue Wave’, Democrats And Republicans Trade Seats In Ky. Statehouse


Republicans have held on to their majorities in the Kentucky legislature, dashing Democratic hopes for a “blue wave” in Frankfort.

Initial results show that Democrats were able to flip control of a few House districts around the state, but Republicans were able to fend off many challenges and flip a few seats in their favor as well.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Republicans were able to add to their supermajority as current Republican Rep. Robby Mills defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Dorsey Ridley in the 4th Senate district.

At press time, it looked like Democrats would pick up a handful of seats in the House and would be unable to net the four seats necessary to take away Republicans’ supermajority.

At least nine teachers won elections, months after educators descended on Frankfort to oppose Republicans’ efforts to change retirement benefits for state workers.

Democratic teachers picked up two seats in suburban Louisville — special education teacher Tina Bojanowski defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Phil Moffett in the 33rd district and middle school teacher Maria Sorolis defeated Republican incumbent Ken Fleming in the 48th district.

In the 13th House district located in Owensboro, former teacher and Democrat Jim Glenn defeated incumbent Rep. DJ Johnson by one vote, though Johnson has said he will seek a recanvas.

But most of the three dozen teachers who ran for the statehouse this year lost.

Republicans flipped several districts in rural Kentucky. In the 49th district located in Bullitt County, Thomas Huff defeated Democratic incumbent Linda Belcher, who just won the seat in a special election earlier this year.

Republican Matthew Koch also picked up House district 72, which was vacated by Democratic Rep. Sanny Overly and Republican Chris Freeland picked up House district 6, which was vacated by Democratic Rep. Will Coursey.

House Democratic leader Rocky Adkins, who did not have an opponent, said he wished for a better outcome.

“I saw first-hand that our candidates and their supporters put everything they had into their campaigns, but we faced an uphill battle because of a nationalized climate and the unfortunate rise of dark money and negative attacks,” Adkins said in a statement.

Democrats also picked up a couple seats in Eastern Kentucky — Democrat Kathy Hinkle defeated Republican incumbent Jill York in the 96th district, and Democrat Ashley Laferty defeated incumbent GOP Rep. Larry Brown in the 95th district.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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