Koenig lays out his challenge to Hoover for top GOP spot in the House

12/20/2014 10:42 AM

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, has only been internally mounting a challenge to House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, for a little over a week, but he’s “having fun” campaigning — something he says he looks forward to doing against Democrats if given the opportunity by his caucus.

Koenig said he’s not worried about possible retribution for challenging Hoover because he “plans to win” and it’s Hoover who perhaps should have something to fear.

The 8-year incumbent is mounting a bid for the top GOP spot in the House after a dismal election season for House Republicans despite a wave of red which swept over the state Senate and federal elections in Kentucky, and the southern United States.

“Obviously not many people were happy with the results of the election at least as far as House Republicans are concerned,” Koenig said. “We were happy with Senator McConnell’s large victory and our congressman…our state Senate had a good night picking up three seats, but the House Republicans picked up zero.”

Koenig, who is currently in his fifth term in office, says there is a collective “frustration” amongst party officials, legislative members and donors which is why he’s trying to change the shape of the caucus.

“To have such a big wave and we not be successful was very difficult for a lot of people to swallow,” he said.

Hoover has argued to the press that Republicans actually gained seats in the House even though the overall numbers election cycle to election cycle is the same. The minority leader, who has held the position unchallenged since 2001 said Republicans actually picked up four seats after entering the elections with 42 incumbents due to retiring members.

On Friday, Koenig said it was one of Hoover’s jobs as leader to “spin” the end result of the Elections for House Republicans, but he disputed the actual pickups.

“I appreciate his efforts in trying to put a good face on that, but I think that’s spin at best. We started the year at 46 we ended the year with 46,” Koenig said. “Under the theory we’ve been told that we picked up four under that same logic of retirees and having members in the same districts the Democrats picked up three seats, so we still have 100 members…we didn’t pick up four and they pick up three and have 107.”

Hoover has led the caucus for 14-years, and Koenig says the demands of the job and the times have changed.

“This is a very important role in our caucus…being a state representative is a part time job, but I feel like taking over the state House of Representatives is going to be a full-time job,” Koenig said.

When asked if Hoover is participating in the position in a full-time manner, Koenig said he thinks the current GOP leader is participating “as much time as he is able.”

“He has obviously a law practice and a wife and three daughters in Russell Springs. He owns radio stations those are all priorities to him and they should be — he has his priorities straight when it comes to that,” Koenig said. “However, for the betterment of the commonwealth we need a full-time effort.”

Koenig, who formerly served eight-years as the Kenton County Commissioner and three years in city council, said he is at a place in his life where he can devote the time and money needed to the position.

“I really believe we are in a new day, and again it’s been 14 years 10-years ago the House Republican caucus had 44 members today we have 46,” he said.

Hoover has spoken with Pure Politics about the internal race on-the-record, but did not respond to request to appear on the program this week.

House Republicans and House Democrats will vote on leadership the evening of the first day back in session, January 6.

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@charter.com.

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