House Republicans say they are poised to hold their ground in November election

05/31/2018 01:42 PM

FLORENCE – Despite House Republican Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, losing to Rockcastle County High School math teacher R. Travis Brenda in the Republican primary, some Republican House members believe that in the end, they will still maintain around the same number of seats that they won in 2016 and in the 2018 general election.

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, who attended the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Legislative Appreciation Breakfast on Thursday in Florence, and was unopposed in the primary, said that while the Shell defeat was a tough blow for the Republican caucus, a number of factors led to the defeat.

“You know there’s a lot to that race, you know, having a teacher run against you is part of the issue but, from what I understand, the parts that he won turned out about 25 percent, where that teacher came from, Rockcastle County, turned out, I heard, 40 to 48 percent,” Koenig said. “They had a lot of local issues on the ballot.”

Koenig believes that House Republicans are working hard and preparing for a successful November and aren’t overly concerned about the fact that some Democrats vow that they are poised to retake control of the House.

“We have an ambitious budget to make sure that all of our folks that are vulnerable and all these open seats, I think about a third of the House Democrats have retired, that’s a lot of open seats that are going to be in play,” Koenig said. “We have great candidates across the state and from what I understand, in some of those Democrat primaries; they nominated maybe not some of their best choices as far as general elections go.”

Koenig expects to win his District 69 November race against Democrat Col Owens.

“In my race I think that I’ll be in good shape,” Koenig said. “My opponents a nice guy, he’s well known in the community, but I think, he’s out of touch with the district.”

Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, says that while legislators might still be recovering from the 2018 session, work has already begin in looking ahead to 2019.

“We still need to continue, although we’ve had great workforce development participation rates, that’s a problem that we still have to address statewide,” Schroder said. “I also think we need to get started early in looking at the budget down the road. The pension problem is certainly not going away, healthcare costs for the state, Medicaid, has shot through the roof.”

Senate Majority Floor Leader Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told those in attendance at the breakfast that while the 2018 session was tough, there were a lot of good things which happened for the benefit of Kentucky.

“For two sessions in a row now, we have done the right things, and they haven’t been easy, but they have been worthwhile, and they have started paying dividends,” Thayer said. “This was a great session. It built on the successes of 2017 and its proof that if the super majority and the trifecta, the Republican governor that we have in Frankfort, Republicans can lead, they are leading, and will continue to lead.”

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Brent Copper acknowledged that the General Assembly didn’t pass anything that his group was opposed to the last 2 years, but says that there is still work to do in several areas.

“We still think gaming is something that still needs to be looked at from a state perspective, we have been in collaboration with some other chambers including GLI in Louisville,” Cooper said. “We believe that gaming is an opportunity for revenue that has still not yet been tapped. Certainly with sports gaming, we’re looking at that as an option.”

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