House majority slips again with latest appointment, Stumbo confident Democrats will control Rep. Pullin's district

12/16/2015 09:03 PM

FRANKFORT — Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has managed to thin the House Democratic majority by one more seat, at least in the short term.

On Tuesday, Bevin managed to lure Rep. Tanya Pullin, D- South Shore, to an administrative law judge position and temporarily thin the already narrow Democratic majority. The appointment brings Democratic majority in the House to 51-47, after Rep. John Tilley accepted the appointment of Justice and Public Safety Cabinet secretary, and Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville flipped allegiances to the GOP.

The news of Pullin’s appointment was first reported by Ronnie Ellis of CNHI.

Pullin, who has represented the 98th House District which encompasses Greenup and part of Boyd Counties since 2001, spoke with House Speaker Greg Stumbo before accepting the role.

Stumbo spoke to reporters after a committee meeting on Wednesday in the Capitol Annex calling Pullin a “wonderful representative for her district.”

“She wanted to retire two years ago, she has a mother that’s sick at home and she has some concerns there, so there will be a special election up there and we’ll get a chance to fight it out in the Election grounds,” Stumbo said.

The vacancy Pullin creates adds a fourth yet to be called special election in 2016. Auditor-elect Mike Harmon, Agriculture-elect Ryan Quarles, Rep. John Tilley and now Pullin’s House district’s will all be up for grabs before the November Election.

Stumbo’s positive statements on Pullin are in sharp contrast with his tone to Tilley’s appointment and Butler’s flip, which he characterized as “a slap in the face of representative Democracy and a slap in the face to those who elected you.”

The difference, Stumbo said Wednesday, is that Pullin prepared House leaders for her departure, “instead of just vanishing in the middle of the night.”

The appointment as an administrative law judge will allow Pullin to be able to work from her home city, and comes with a pretty hefty pay increase from her salary as a part-time lawmaker.

Pullin told the Lexington Herald-leader that she did not speak to Bevin about the appointment and that she will remain a Democrat.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, 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 the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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