Republicans take power of state House and presidency with huge GOP wave in elections Tuesday

Group Of Young People Standing At The Entrance Of Voting Room

For the first time in nearly a century, Republicans will now control the Kentucky state House after picking up enough seats in Tuesday’s elections to gain a supermajority over Democrats, who have controlled the House since 1921.

The 2016 elections also saw the election of Republican nominee Donald Trump as the new President of the United States and the GOP retaining control of the U.S. Senate, keeping Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in his position as Majority Leader.

House Races

In a huge GOP wave led by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, the House Republicans picked up a net 17 seats on Tuesday night, putting them in power of the chamber with a 64-36 majority.

Big changes came in the eastern part of the state as Republicans grabbed many of those seats from long-time Democratic incumbents, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo who fell to Republican Larry Brown Tuesday night.

Other powerful Democrats including former members of House leadership and committee chairs also saw their time in the legislature come to a close.

Republicans have been working to flip the state House for many years without success, leading to a 53-47 field before the 2016 elections.

While many, even within the Republican Party, felt this was the year that the GOP would be able to flip the House, even Republican Leader Jeff Hoover admitted Tuesday night he did not expect to reach such a large majority, according to a report from cn|2 Pure Politics reporter Kevin Wheatley.

Democrats only took one seat from Republicans as McKenzie Cantrell defeated Rep. Denny Butler, who switched his party registration to Republican in 2016, in the largely Democratic Louisville district.

More new faces will also be present in Frankfort come 2017 as there were many open seat races to replace retiring Representatives around the state. Only one of those seats saw a shift in power as a new member was elected from the same party as the retiring representative in eight out of nine of those races.

See the details of the key races which led to the state House power shift in the list below from cn|2 Pure Politics:

Republican gains

  • 8th House District: Walker Thomas 51.9 percent, Rep, Jeffery Taylor 48.1 percent
  • 11th House District: Robert “Robby” Mills 51.6 percent, Rep. David Watkins 48.4 percent
  • 13th House District: D.J. Johnson 50.8 percent, Rep. Jim Glenn 49.2 percent
  • 14th House District: Matt Castlen 63.6 percent, Rep. Tommy Thompson 36.5 percent
  • 15th House District: Melinda Prunty 57.1 percent, Rep. Brent Yonts 42.9 percent
  • 16th House District: Jason Petrie 65.4 percent, Rep. Martha Jane King 34.6 percent
  • 23rd House District (open): Steve Riley 61.5 percent, Danny Basil 38.5 percent
  • 24th House District: William Reeds 54.1 percent, Rep. Terry Mills 45.9 percent
  • 49th House District: Dan Johnson 50.4 percent, Rep. Linda Belcher 49.6 percent
  • 62nd House District: Phillip Pratt 57.7 percent, Rep. Chuck Tackett 42.3 percent
  • 78th House District: Mark Hart 54.4 percent, Rep. Tom McKee 45.6 percent
  • 81st House District: C. Wesley Morgan 50.2 percent, Rep. Rita Smart 49.8 percent
  • 84th House District: Chris Fugate 63.1 percent, Rep. Fitz Steele 36.9 percent
  • 91st House District: Toby Herald 55.2 percent, Rep. Cluster Howard 44.8 percent
  • 92nd House District: John Blanton 51.5 percent, Rep. John Short 48.5 percent
  • 95th House District: Larry Brown 52.95 percent, Rep. Greg Stumbo 47.05 percent
  • 97th House District: William Wells 57.7 percent, Rep. Hubert Collins 42.3 percent
  • 98th House District: Danny Bentley 54.1 percent, Rep. Lew Nicholls 45.9 percent

Democratic gains

  • 38th House Ditrict: McKenzie Cantrell 50.9 percent, Rep. Denny Butler 49.1 percent

Federal Races

At the federal level, Kentucky was the first state called for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in a long night of election results which led to his victory in the early morning hours.

As for Kentucky representatives, all of the state’s incumbent lawmakers were easily re-elected to their positions with victories for U.S. Reps. Andy Barr, Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth called early in the evening and U.S. Reps. Hal Rogers and Brett Guthrie returning to Washington after uncontested races.

A new Congressman was elected in Kentucky’s 1st Congressional district as Republican James Comer easily won his race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield in western Kentucky.

Comer, a former state Representative and Kentucky agriculture commissioner, will be sworn in earlier than other members of Congress as Whitfield has stepped down from that seat.

Congressman-elect Comer will be sworn in on Monday, November 14 in Washington and take office immediately.

Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul also won his re-election race, defeating Democratic Lexington Mayor Jim Gray handily on Tuesday night.

Paul is one of many Republicans across the country who were able to hold their seats on Tuesday, which means Republicans will remain in control of the U.S. Senate with Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell maintaining his title as U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

With the control of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House and now President-elect Donald Trump in the White House, Republicans now hold power in all three areas at the federal government level.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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