Feeling the pulse in Clark County

Posted at 7:38 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 19:38:51-04

WINCHESTER, Ky. (LEX 18) — Out of 120 counties in Kentucky, only around 20 have supported the winning candidate for governor in every election since 1975.

One of those counties is just to the east of Lexington.

Clark County is described by representatives of both the Democratic and Republican Parties as a community of friends and neighbors and by nature, a conservative county.

But there is a political divide, especially when it comes to the importance of issues.

William Elkins is the Clark County Attorney, and is a Republican.

"And all of them (issues) relate to pushing the conservative narrative. Pro-life. Second Amendment. Pro tax reform. Economic development. Fiscal responsibility," said Elkins.

Henry Branham is the chair of the local Democratic Party.

"Public schools. Jobs. Healthcare. That seems to be what's on the minds of voters in Clark County," said Branham.

As of October 2019, there are 14,612 registered Democratic voters, and 12,040 Republican voters in Clark County.

That is a contrast from October 2015, when there were 15,377 registered Democratic voters and 9,465 Republican voters.

Bevin and Donald Trump both won the county majority in their respective races. This continued a red wave in 2018 that led to Branham's defeat in his re-election bid, and helped propel Elkins, a former Democrat, to the office of county attorney.

"Recognize that while we still feel the same way about our neighbors, we still feel the same way about church, we still feel the same way about taxes, the Democratic Party has left us. Our values are more closely aligned with the Republican Party," said Elkins.

Despite the recent trend in registration, Branham believes that the Kentucky Democratic Party does still reflect the values of Clark Countians.

"I think they're looking for a state government that will represent the people. That will be inclusive, and not exclusive. I think they want a state government that will focus on the issues and not create their own issues," said Branham.

Both Branham and Elkins believe their respective party's candidates will end up representing Kentucky into the next decade.

"We feel that the Democratic party of Kentucky has fielded a great slate of candidates, you know, that's going to focus on public education, jobs and healthcare. So we feel that theyre's going to be a great response in Clark County for this slate of candidates," said Branham.

"I don't think that we make it so quickly about party lines in Clark County. It's more about what we believe. And so I think Democrats and Republicans alike will vote for Matt Bevin. I think he'll be re-elected, and I think you'll see another wave of people switching to the Republican party here locally," said Elkins.