Bipartisan McConnell Scholars share their views on the 2014 elections and 2015's budding races

11/14/2014 02:12 PM

For two University of Louisville political science majors the 2014 U.S. Senate race waged in Kentucky was a repudiation of President Barack Obama by the electorate, but the state House races, they view, as a more mixed bag.

University of Louisville McConnell Scholars Sean Southard, the vice president of the UofL college Republicans, and Aaron Vance, a Democrat and student government coordinator, talked about the 2014 Kentucky election cycle from their vantage point — students soon to depart the classrooms for businesses and possibly politics.

Southard and Vance said U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell played up the national issues in the race, which led to him taking a majority of women and coming within 1 point in exit polls to taking the youth vote.

“You can see that the Democratic Party really rested their laurels on focusing on the state, focusing on state issues, being very state oriented, but at the end of it all I think Kentuckians are really falling into that pattern of not just being concerned with the state, but more looking at the national agenda,” Vance said.

The number of House Democrats returning to Frankfort will not change heading into 2015, but Southard and Vance credit Republicans with taking out a key Democratic figure in Rep. Jimmie Lee a Democrat from Elizabethtown.

The students saw a mixed bag for Kentucky state House Democrats with a more conservative tick possibly taking hold, but they said money also played a factor. That doesn’t mean Republicans can’t eventually take control of the chamber, however.

“It’s going to be more of an incremental approach to taking the state House, but the Democrats did spend more money than Republicans this cycle,” Southard said.

Hear what issues they say resonated with younger voters starting at 4:45.

Southard and Vance also weighed in on the 2015 gubernatorial candidates: Republicans Hal Heiner and James Comer and the lone Democratic entrant Jack Conway.


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