Democratic leadership was absent when the party needed them, Democratic consultant says

11/14/2016 03:21 PM

After losing the state House in a crushing loss on Election Day, Democrats in Kentucky are looking at what went wrong after 95 years on top, and what they can do to rebuild their party.

For Democratic consultant and Elizabethtown Independent School Board member Matt Wyatt, Election Day losses are to blame on a rudderless party with absent leadership.

“I think that we have a structural problem within our party. We also have a problem with lack of leadership,” Wyatt said. “People follow strong leaders, and they will follow anyone that stands up and confidently talks to people — even if the issues don’t fit the populace.”

“[Democratic leadership] didn’t attend the Chamber of Commerce state luncheon, the speaker didn’t. … A lot of our leaders didn’t attend the state convention, and we abandoned Fancy Farm,” he said of absent leaders during the election year.

Wyatt, who appeared on Pure Politics on Monday, said Democrats didn’t even take “the field in this election, and there’s so much to run on.”

The Democratic consultant said first year Gov. Matt Bevin and exposing GOP ideas as bad for Kentucky, should have provided a foil for campaigns during the campaign.

Now that the GOP has control of the legislative and executive branch in Kentucky, Wyatt says he expects the Republicans to act on those ideas.

In the future, Wyatt said the Democratic Party needs to restructure into a full-time, year-round organization.

“We need to have somebody on board with candidate recruitment,” Wyatt said. “We need a rural candidate initiative, somebody that helps train candidates to run out in the rural parts of Kentucky — they’ve done this in Minnesota in places where they’ve lost the legislature and got it back.”

Another issue they’ll have to solve is how to raise money now that they’re in the minority and without a Democratic governor.

Hear more of Wyatt’s ideas and how he thinks Democrats should react to the Republicans legislative agenda in the full interview below.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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