Voters to decide make up of Kentucky legislature
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Whether casting their ballots early or waiting until Election Day, Kentuckians will have a chance to shape the face of the General Assembly this year. Those they send to Frankfort will create many of the laws that govern their everyday lives.
Heading into the election, the balance of power rests comfortably in the hands of Republicans. The state Senate is controlled by the GOP, 28 seats to 10. Half of those are up for election in 2020. In the House, Republicans hold a 62-seat supermajority. All 100 seats in that chamber will be on the ballot, but UofL Political Science Professor Dr. Dewey Clayton said the Republican hold is likely safe.
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“In a time like COVID right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Clayton said. “Oftentimes, when you have a lot of uncertainty, people are sometimes reluctant to change. So, once again, I don’t see Democrats making any huge inroads.”
In the House, if Democrats can flip enough seats to break the 60 vote threshold for a supermajority that could make somewhat harder for the Republicans. That tally is needed to pass laws related to constitutional amendments and levying taxes.
“It makes it easier because it’s not like you’ve got to count every vote and know I’m going to need every vote to get this done,” Clayton said. “It allows you to pass most legislation without having to appeal to the other side.”
As for the influence of presidential politics, COVID-19 cases, or racial justice protests, Clayton said it’s hard to discern their impact.
He pointed out many of the issues have voters energized on both sides, adding he believes, when it comes to the approval of President Donald Trump, many Kentuckians make a clear distinction between national politics and local elections.
Clayton said that, as voting is already underway, it’s not convincing undecided voters that will make an impact at this point in both local to national elections, but, rather, convincing people they should show up.
“It comes down to ‘get out the vote’,” he said. “If you can get out that vote, then, you will have a much better chance. I think that’s what’s up in the air right now, but I think most opinions are pretty much already set.”
Clayton said he expects the evergreen kitchen table issues of jobs, healthcare, education, and the economy to be top of mind for voters this year.
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