Cantrell lone bright spot for House Democrats on brutal Election Day

11/10/2016 03:34 PM

As Democratic candidates and more than a dozen state House incumbents were getting drubbed up-and-down the ballot on Tuesday night, Democrats managed to eke out a victory against a Republican incumbent on Election Day.

In what was billed as the all-important House race of the night, McKenzie Cantrell upset Rep. Denny Butler, R-Louisville, in the 38th House District in South Louisville.

With 259 more votes in her column at the end of the evening, Cantrell had successfully bested Butler, a former Democrat in this largely Democratic district.

“I’m obviously very happy that the voters chose me to represent them in Frankfort, and I’m ready to get to work,” Cantrell told Pure Politics on Wednesday.

When Cantrell is sworn in on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 3, she will be one of just 36 Democratic members — a far fall from the 53 elected members they have this year.

The change in majority will also be the first time since 1921, that the GOP has controlled the lower legislative chamber.

“We’re going into an unprecedented era in Kentucky politics right now,” Cantrell said of the Republicans’ takeover.

“We lost a lot of veteran legislators and leaders in our state on Tuesday, and, obviously, I respect the voter’s decision in those districts,” Cantrell said. “These are local races and local decisions were made in regard of those leaders.”

With fewer members returning to Frankfort, Cantrell said she’s prepared to head to the state Capitol to bring legislation to the floor and work across the aisle to benefit the state and her district.

“I’m going to have to work to find that common ground, and I always thought that was one of the strong points of my candidacy is finding common ground with people on their doorstep and communicating my goals for the district, so it’s not going to be any different here than it is back home,” she said.

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