Kentucky Political News Headlines

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

2022 Kentucky Election Results


Kentuckians went to the polls today to vote on a lengthy ballot for a midterm election that saw a few surprising developments:

1. Constitutional Amendments BOTH (Appear to Be) Voted Down

2. 5 State House Incumbents Beaten (All Democrats)

3. GOP supermajorities GROW in State House by 5 seats & State Senate by 1 seat

4. TWO New Faces on State Supreme Court

5. GOP sweeps Federal Races; Except for McGarvey

See below for the unofficial election results available at the time of this writing.      

Constitutional Amendments

Both constitutional amendment proposals approved during the 2022 Regular Session were on the ballot today and both appear to be narrowly defeated with 80% of the vote in as of 11:00pm EST.


Amendment 1 (NO 54%-YES 46%)

Would have changed the legislative session's meeting dates and allowed the General Assembly to call themselves into a special session. This ballot question was very long and may have confused voters as there was a campaign in opposition to the amendment that linked it to higher pay for legislators.


Amendment 2 (NO 53%- YES 47%)

Would have provided that nothing in the state constitution protects or secures a right to abortion. There were active media and initiative GOTV campaigns on both sides of this issue. 


State Legislative Elections

Going into tonight's election results, most were predicting the GOP to grow their supermajorities in the State House and Senate, but the size and the number of incumbents that might lose were the big unknowns. 

Pre-election, Republicans controlled the House (75-25) and the Senate (30-8). Those margins increased today, with Republicans gaining 5 Seats in the House, giving them an 80-20 supermajority, and gaining 1 Seat in the Senate, giving them a 31-7 supermajority.

Republicans managed their gain in House seats by beating 5 Democratic incumbents and winning one open seat previously controlled by a Democrat. On the other side Democrats flipped one seat, a GOP open seat that was newly redistricted to Lexington. This Senate spreadsheet and House spreadsheet has a full list of winners in bold, but a few of those key House races to bring to your attention:

20th - Jackson (R) flip over Minter

28th - Bauman (R) flip over C. Miller

31st - Witten (R) flip in (D) open seat

37th - Callaway (R) flip over Donahue

65th - Dietz (R) flip over Wheatley

93rd - Swann (D) flip in open seat

94th - Justice (R) flip over Hatton

TAKEAWAYS: After the incumbent losses in the primary and a large number of legislative retirements this year we have 31 new members of the 138-member General Assembly (25 in House & 6 in Senate). We all have a lot of new people to get to know.      


After this election, more than 80 percent of the House and over 70 percent of the Senate are members with less than 10 years of experience in the Kentucky General Assembly. A major loss of institutional knowledge comes with young blood, and while we'll see many new ideas come with the new members, much groundwork will need to be done to educate the caucuses.


Now that elections are over, the House and Senate caucuses will meet in the next few weeks to elect their new leadership teams. The House Republicans will be electing a new Majority Whip with the retirement of Rep. Chad McCoy; the House Democrats will need to fill two vacancies left by retiring Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins and Minority Whip Angie Hatton, who lost her election; and the Senate Democrats are losing leaders with Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey's election to Congress and the retirement of their Minority Whip Dennis Parrett. 


Supreme Court Races 

Kentucky has a seven-member Supreme Court elected in individual districts so a majority–four of the districts–were up for election tonight and there will be some new faces on the court.


- 1st District: Justice Nickell was unopposed.

- 2nd District: Thompson defeated Alcott; open seat

- 4th District: Bisig defeated Bowman; open seat 

- 6th District: Incumbent Keller defeated Fischer

We would encourage you to review this spreadsheet for more information but wanted to highlight this as the Supreme Court can often have a huge impact on issues affecting your business or organization.


Federal Races

In most states, a U.S. Senate race and an open Congressional seat would lead the headlines on election night, but an anticipated strong win for U.S. Senator Rand Paul and easy win in the 3rd Congressional District for Morgan McGarvey, Kentucky's newest congressman didn't make for much drama. Here are the Federal race unofficial winners:

U.S. Senate: Republican incumbent Rand Paul

U.S. House District 1: Republican incumbent James Comer

U.S. House District 2: Republican incumbent Brett Guthrie

U.S. House District 3: Former state senator Democrat Morgan McGarvey; won open seat 

U.S. House District 4: Republican incumbent Thomas Massie

U.S. House District 5: Republican incumbent Hal Rogers

U.S. House District 6: Republican incumbent Andy Barr

Looking Ahead

Stay tuned for additional updates from Government Strategies about the results of caucus leadership elections, 2023 committee makeup, and more in our 2023 Session Preview.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

LRC Study on Alternative Ratemaking Mechanisms

The Legislative Research Commission in Frankfort yesterday released its study on Alternative Ratemaking Mechanisms put together by LRC staff. You can access a copy HERE

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

KY Gov. Beshear Calls Special Session

Good afternoon,


Earlier today Gov. Beshear announced his call for the convening of a Special Session of the Kentucky General Assembly to address relief from the recent Eastern KY flooding. The session will begin no earlier than noon ET on Wednesday, August 24. However, both House and Senate leaders have announced they will convene at 3:00pm ET. The Special Session is expected to adjourn on Friday, August 26.


You can find a PDF of the proclamation here.


The Special Session's focus will be narrow, only addressing the following items per the Governor's call:


• Establishes, appropriates funding to, and provides for the administration of the Eastern Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (EKSAFE) fund;

• Amends the statute relating to the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (WKSAFE) fund, in particular by extending the date of the fund through June 30, 2026; and

• Provides relief to Eastern Kentucky school districts impacted by the flooding emergency, in particular by relaxing requirements relating to the number of student attendance days, leave for teachers, and remote instruction, and provides relief to Western and Eastern Kentucky school districts impacted by the tornado and flooding emergencies by setting forth new requirements relating to average daily attendance for SEEK funding.

In order to get the legislation to the Governor by Friday, we expect the legislature to use an expedited legislative process where bills with mirroring language will simultaneously proceed through both the House and Senate before culminating in a single bill. 


You can watch the proceedings live on KET at


We will continue to provide updates throughout the session.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

KY Primary Election Results from Government Strategies


Kentuckians went to the polls today for the 2022 primary elections to determine party nominees for the general election in November. While most incumbents won their primary elections handily this evening, some did succumb to the political rhetoric levied by their opponents and the outside groups that stormed Kentucky these past few weeks with political ads in mailboxes and on the airwaves.


This primary season was marked by the strong emergence of so-called "liberty caucus" candidates. These candidates were especially strong in more urban areas, marking a notable change in the activist base in the Republican party with many primary elections focusing on very right-leaning issues.


Northern Kentucky especially saw a rise in the liberty caucus candidates, and several prominent House Republican incumbents fell to their far-right opponents. Judiciary Chairman Ed Massey, Licensing & Occupations Chairman Adam Koenig, and Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation Committee Chairman Sal Santoro could not overcome their primary challengers. In total 6 incumbents lost their election bids: 5 GOP members (Koenig, Santoro, Massey, Bechler, Kirk-McCormick) and 1 Democrat member (Burch).


With several prominent House chairmen losing their primary elections or retiring from the body there will be many new faces leading key committees, including: State Government, Licensing & Occupations, Banking & Insurance, Budget Review on Transportation, and Judiciary.


There were no upsets among Senate incumbents, as Senator Donald Douglas defeated his opponent in the 22nd Senate District which was expected to be a close race.  Former state senator, Gex Williams, won a crowded Republican primary in the 20th Senate district and will face Teresa Barton in November.


The main Congressional seat in question was that of retiring Chairman John Yarmuth, whose sudden retirement quickly opened the door for State Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey. McGarvey faced off against State Representative Attica Scott, who had announced for the seat before Yarmuth's retirement. McGarvey won the race by a wide margin and will likely be the favorite in the General Election this fall.


Last week we previewed some of the most competitive state House and Senate races, and we've outlined the results of those races below.


House Races (All House primary winners can be viewed in this spreadsheet in bold*)

*Results for House District 41 and House District 43 were still outstanding at this writing.


- District 1: Republican House Majority Floor Leader Steven Rudy, a farm store owner from Paducah, handily won his race against Christopher Tucker, a farmer from Clinton.

- District 12: Representative Jim Gooch, an insurance agent and the current House Natural Resources & Energy Committee chairman from Providence, emerged victorious against Representative Lynn Bechler, a retiree from Marion in the Republican primary. Their individual districts were combined during redistricting this year – one of four races that pit incumbents against each other.

- District 18: Representative Samara Heavrin, one of the youngest members of the House majority and a small business owner, held off a challenge from Jacob Clark, a minister from Leitchfield, in the Republican primary. This was considered one of the most competitive primary races.

- District 24: House Appropriations and Revenue Vice Chairman Brandon Reed beat his challenger Courtney Gilbert of Hodgenville, who is a music teacher. Notably, Gilbert is the sister of State Senator Adrienne Southworth, considered one of the most far-right state senators in office.

- District 30: Longtime Louisville Democratic Representative Tom Burch, a retiree who has served in the House nearly continuously since 1972, could not overcome a strong challenge from Daniel Grossberg, an entrepreneur.

- District 59: Republican Speaker of the House David Osborne, a business owner, easily won his primary against Bridgette Ehly, a homemaker.

- District 60: Representative Sal Santoro of Union, a small business owner, lost his Republican nomination to fellow Union resident, former speech pathologist Marianne Proctor.

- District 66: Representative Ed Massey of Hebron, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was unseated by Steve Rawlings, an attorney from Burlington in the Republican primary.

- District 69: Representative Adam Koenig of Erlanger, the chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations Committee, lost in his challenge from Steven Doan, an attorney also from Erlanger, in the Republican primary. Doan was endorsed by Republican Congressman Thomas Massie. This was the most competitive House primary race this May.

- District 97: Sitting Republican Representative Bobby McCool, a retired teacher from Van Lear, beat out Rep. Norma Kirk-McCormick, a retiree from Inez, for the newly drawn District 97 that paired two incumbents against each other.

Senate Races (All Senate primary winners can be viewed in this spreadsheet in bold)

- District 22: Senator Donald Douglas of Nicholasville, a physician, faced a tough challenge from Andrew Cooperrider, a business owner from Lexington, in the Republican primary. Congressman Massie endorsed Cooperrider over incumbent Douglas, who made waves early in the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns by refusing to close down his business or enforce health mandates.

- District 34: Senate Banking & Insurance Chairman Jared Carpenter, a builder and farmer from Berea, easily bested his challenger from the right, Rhonda Goode, a fitness instructor from Richmond.


Two open seats had several primary candidates, and the winner of these will each face a Democratic challenger in the fall:

- District 20: Gex Williams, a business consultant and former state senator, emerged victorious in the four-way primary for this open seat. Gex Williams is considered one of the liberty caucus candidates.

- District 24: Shelley Funke Frommeyer, a financial planner, won the three-way primary for the seat formerly held by Senate Economic Development Chairman Wil Schroder, who retired this year.


Please note that these are still considered unofficial, incomplete results until certified by the Secretary of State's office. For exact numbers on each race, please visit the Kentucky Secretary of State's website for official results.


Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with questions and stay tuned for our upcoming 2022 Interim Preview.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

2022 KY Session Ajourns

Sine Die Adjournment
The 2022 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly came to a close this evening shortly after 6pm when the House and Senate adjourned sine die. Before they adjourned the legislature gave final passage to several bills, including:

HB 604 - HB 1 - Budget clean up
HB 659 - HB 8 - tax and revenue clean up 
HB 573 - Addressing health care workers
HB 490 - Transportation/Road Project clean up
HB 92 - Opioid abatement settlement funding formula
SB 90 - Criminal diversion for low level offenders 
SB 163 - KEES scholarships for felons
HB 44 - Student mental health that contains SB 1 fix
SB 178 - Alcohol and drug counselors that contains KEHP pharmacy database and postpartum Medicaid coverage
SB 167 - Override of Governor's veto on library board governance
SB 180 - Merging the Labor & Education and Workforce Cabinets

As in all sessions many bills don't make it across the finish line for passage and here are a few of the more notable bills not considered in the session's final days:

HB 606 - Sports wagering
HB 608 - Outlawing illegal gambling machines
HB 475 - Constitutional amendment on local government tax reform

The legislature will stand in adjournment until January 3, 2023 unless called into special session by the Governor. We expect the Interim Joint Committees to begin meeting in June. 

We will have a final session report out to you this weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

KY Legislative Update - Day 59

And Then There Was One

The General Assembly ended Day 59 just after 10pm on Wednesday after a busy day that saw a significant amount of floor action. When all was said and done the House and Senate overrode gubernatorial vetoes on 29 bills in full and 21 budget line-item vetoes. They also took action on half a dozen concurrences, appointment and reports of several conference committees, and positioned several bills for committee action on Thursday. 

Heading into the day there were a few outstanding items needing action and all still need action on the session's final day to make it to the Governor's desk, including:

House Bill 475 (Local tax reform)

House Bill 608 (Gray machines)

House Bill 659 (Historic tax credits; potential vehicle for tax fixes)

Senate Bill 163 (Expanding KEES access)

Senate Bill 90 (Criminal Diversion) 

House HB 490 (Counterfeit Airbags; potential vehicle for road project fixes)

House Bill 44 (Mental Health in Schools; potential for SB 1 fix) 

We expect several committees to meet on the session's final day, including Senate Appropriations & Revenue, Senate Transportation & Senate Judiciary.

The General Assembly gavels back in for the final day of the 2022 Session on Thursday when they will adjourn Sine Die before midnight. The Senate and House will convene at 10am.

You can watch the proceedings of the final day of the Kentucky General Assembly live on KET at

We will send an update tomorrow evening upon Sine Die adjournment and a final session report this weekend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Session Update - Day 58

Day 58 of the 60-day Legislative Session came to an end at approximately 11pm this evening, starting the veto recess that will last until the General Assembly reconvenes on April 13 & 14 to consider any gubernatorial vetoes--of which there may be several--and wrap up unfinished business. Before adjourning this evening, the General Assembly did bring several pieces of major legislation to final passage, including:


House Bill 1 - The state's executive branch budget

House Bill 7 - Public Assistance Reform

House Bill 274 - Transportation Improvement Districts

House Bill 315 - Broadband Infrastructure

House Bill 499 - Employee Childcare Assistance Partnership

House Bill 607 - Pari-mutuel wagering

House Bill 745 - Product Development Initiative


The General Assembly will return on April 13 at 11am ET (Senate) and 12pm ET (House) for the 59th day of session.     


If you have any questions regarding this legislation or any other bills, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A more in-depth report of this week's actions will be distributed this weekend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Session Update – Day 57

Session Update – Day 57

Today, on day 57 of 60 of the 2022 Session, the legislative activity in Frankfort was high as the budget conference committee met to finalize the next biennial budget, the tax reform plan was unveiled, and several committees passed last-minute bills. Legislators are under a time crunch as they must pass bills by midnight tomorrow to maintain their ability to override gubernatorial vetoes.


Budget Update

The House Bill 1 Conference Committee has finalized the state's executive branch budget and outlined some points during a final public meeting today. You can find the final House Bill 1 budget language here. We have also attached a document highlighting some of the components of HB1.


The legislature did send to the Governor the biennial transportation budget, House Bill 241, as well as its companion bill in the biennial road plan, House Bill 242, that outlines road projects for the next two years.


Tax Reform

The Senate also approved changes to House Bill 8, the tax reform bill. These changes were agreed to by members of the HB 1 Conference Committee as they negotiated the budget. This version removed a few services from the initial House version, including financial planning services, marina usage, and advertising. The Senate version also changed the income tax reduction and amended the triggers that would reduce the income tax. There is no mandatory reduction, but an assessment will be made in September 2022 and if the financial conditions of the Commonwealth meet the new triggers outlined in the bill, then a 0.5 percent reduction could occur in January 2023. The tax rebate proposed earlier this session by the Senate, Senate Bill 194 was not included in the final agreement.

Bill Awaiting Action

House Bill 7 (Public Assistance Reform)

House Bill 8 (Tax Reform)

House Bill 274 (Transportation Improvement Districts)

House Bill 315 (Broadband)

House Bill 499 (Employer Childcare Assistance Partnership)

House Bill 607 (Pari-mutuel wagering)

House Bill 608 (Gray machines)

House Bill 745 (Product Development Initiative Program)


The House and Senate will convene at 10am ET. The proceedings can be watched live on


We will continue to update you on the happenings of these last days of the 2022 Session, including providing the final version of the state budget when it becomes available. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.