FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Republican Party of Kentucky celebrated the state's voter registration shift on Thursday.
Kentucky now has more registered Republicans than it has registered Democrats.
"For the first time in Kentucky's history, republicans now officially outnumber democrats," said Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Mac Brown.
According to the State Board of Elections, there are now 1,612,060 voters registered as Republicans and 1,609,569 voters registered as Democrats. The difference between the two parties is less than 3,000 voters. However, the numbers represent a political shift that's been happening for several years now.
40 years ago, 68% of registered voters in Kentucky were Democrats. That was more than double the 28% of voters who were registered as Republicans.
These numbers show that the Republican party has gained significant momentum in Kentucky. Republican leaders attribute that to voters wanting change.
"The people of Kentucky - that stood up over the last two decades and said we are something different and we will be something different," said House Speaker David Osborne.
However, the Republican party does not represent the majority of Kentucky. Neither do the Democrats. Each party represents about 45% of Kentucky's total voters.
Governor Andy Beshear believes that means both sides should be working together.
"We need to get along. We shouldn’t be flexing, talking about who's dominant," said Beshear. "We ought to be trying to get along. I’m tired of team democrat or team republican. I just want to be a part of team Kentucky.”