This year Kentucky will hold elections for all 100 seats in the House of Representatives and 19 seats in the Senate. The Kentucky House is one of the battleground chambers in this year’s legislative elections, as the Kentucky Legislature is one of eight legislatures with divided partisan control. Kentucky Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives since 1921.
Kentucky’s candidate filing period for the 2016 elections ended January 26. Here are some key facts regarding the candidate filings and their effects on the House elections.
- Four Democrats and three Republicans – Representatives Johnny Bell (D), Larry Clark (D), Mike Denham (D), Leslie Combs (D), Bob DeWeese (R), Brad Montell (R) and Thomas Kerr (R) – opted to retire.
- The partisan control of a third of the House races are already decided prior to the general election. Democrats have effectively won 9 seats and Republicans have effectively won 26 seats due to a lack of opposite-party challengers.
- In addition, Kentucky Democrats lost two members – Representatives Jim Gooch, Jr. (R) and Denver Butler (R) – to switches in party affiliation after Governor Matt Bevin (R) was elected. Both representatives drew Democratic challengers in this year’s general election.
This year’s high stakes election could increase even further with the outcome of four special elections March 8 to fill seats formerly held by two Democrats and two Republicans. The current partisan split in the House is 50 D – 46 R, leaving open the possibility for a completely split legislature in the midst of the legislative session.