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Republicans expand majority in Frankfort, including at least 70 of 100 House seats

Posted at 3:56 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 17:45:32-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — With Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, Republicans had a great election night in Kentucky.

Mitch McConnell handily won re-election, and so did the five incumbent GOP Congressmen, including Rep. Andy Barr.

Looking at Frankfort, there are still a few races hanging in the balance, but the GOP is set to hold at least 70 of 100 House seats heading into the next session and maintain a super majority in the Senate.

LEX 18 Political Analyst Bob Babbage says the victories mean the Republican-led legislative bodies will continue to be able to override potential vetoes from Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

They can also push policies they want during the next two legislative sessions. The next two years will include multiple budget plans and, once Census results are in, redistricting.

"You're going to see the rural population probably down, and the urban population up. That means that the eastern districts have to move in the center a little more to pick up the population. Same from the west. So you have to balance the Congressional districts as well as the House and Senate districts," said Babbage.

Rural population may be down, but the counties outside of Louisville and Lexington are trending even more red.

When we spoke with Chuck Todd, moderator of "Meet the Press," last month, he said unlike other red-leaning states such as Kansas and South Carolina, Kentucky does not have big suburban bases to supplement the urban, mostly blue, counties of Fayette and Jefferson.

"And Frankfort is 47 miles from Louisville. If you were traveling into Chicago or New York, that would all be built-up skyscrapers and suburbs. So Kentucky has not yet reached that level of population density, and "rural equals red" is a saying in poli-sci. That's something we see the effect of in Kentucky," said Dr. Wilfred Reilly, a political science professor at Kentucky State University.

Babbage says there was a recent time that Democrats held super majorities and most of the statewide offices in Kentucky. But over time, Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, figured out a way to break through.

For the current Kentucky Democratic Party, Babbage says a plan needs to include rebuilding the bridge from urban to rural.

"The urban-rural divide is significant politically, it's significant in the vote, and it's significant in issues. How do we (referring to KY Democrats) bring back deep eastern Kentucky, Harlan and Bell Counties, economically and preserve the economic vitality of the triangle here in the state, and Bowling Green and Owensboro and a few other places? Those are hard calculations for lawmakers and decision-makers to come up with," said Babbage.