Kentucky GOP overtakes Democrats in voter registration



FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican Party, already dominant at the ballot box, has achieved another long-sought milestone, overtaking the Democratic Party in statewide voter registration.

The Kentucky State Board of Elections announced Friday that the number of registered Republican voters stands at 1,612,060, compared with 1,609,569 registered Democrats.

“After a century and a half, the birthplace of Lincoln has finally aligned with the party of Lincoln,” Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams said.

It culminates the GOP’s long trajectory toward eclipsing Democrats’ historic advantage in registered voters in the Bluegrass State. Even though it seemed inevitable that Republicans would gain the upper hand, given the trends, the party’s leaders hailed it as a historic achievement.

“Today is a day I never thought would happen,” said U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, regarded as the main architect of the GOP’s rise in his home state.

McConnell, the longest-serving senator in Kentucky history, attributed his party’s latest achievement to decades of “hard work and grassroots efforts,” adding that “it’s just the beginning.”

When McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984, narrowly defeating incumbent Walter “Dee” Huddleston, the state had 1.3 million registered Democrats and 525,060 Republicans. Republicans chipped away at the registration gap over the years.

Their electoral successes in Kentucky have become lopsided — first in federal races and eventually in statehouse campaigns as many conservative Democrats crossed over to back GOP candidates.

Republicans currently hold Kentucky’s two U.S. Senate seats, five of six congressional seats, supermajorities in the state legislature and most of the statewide constitutional offices. It reflects the GOP’s dominance across rural Kentucky.


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