Ky. Democrats on the hunt for new party chair after Sannie Overly says she's stepping down before next election cycle

08/23/2017 03:56 PM

The Kentucky Democratic Party is looking for a new chair after state Rep. Sannie Overly informed the party’s executive committee on Saturday that she will be stepping down ahead of next year’s election cycle, KDP spokesman Brad Bowman confirmed Wednesday.

Overly, a Paris Democrat and 2015 candidate for lieutenant governor who became chairwoman of the KDP in January 2016, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on her decision.

Bowman told Pure Politics that Overly will remain in the position until a new chair is named, with a search committee comprised of representatives selected by Attorney General Andy Beshear, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Senate Democratic caucus and the House Democratic caucus plus a member from each congressional district committee and the state at-large committee tasked with identifying Overly’s possible replacements.

The party’s State Central Executive Committee will choose a new chair once the search committee completes its work, Bowman said.

“She just thought it would be appropriate that the Democratic Party open it up to a new chair going into the 2018 cycle because obviously we have to prioritize what our party does and go strong into 2018 and 2019,” Bowman said when asked about Overly’s decision.

He added that Overly has led Kentucky Democrats through “a very difficult time” in an uncompensated role with the party. Democrats lost control of the state House for the first time in nearly a century last year as Republicans won a 64-member supermajority in last year’s election cycle, which Bowman attributed to a “Trump tsunami” as the first-term president won 118 of the state’s 120 counties.

“She led the party after that difficult time, and she’s done so without any compensation, and I think she has done as well as anybody could given the circumstances,” Bowman said.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135.



  • AllPainNoGain wrote on August 24, 2017 07:55 AM :

    The list of potential candidates has to be pretty short at this point. The most obvious choice is former governor Steve Beshear. He may have the potential to raise money nationally to help the party in Kentucky…but local state money won’t be flowing to the democrats any time soon. Every business person and political operative in the state has hitched themselves to the republican party because it seems unlikely that democrats will win back either legislative chamber (especially with current dems in the House announcing they won’t seek re-election…and more announcements are coming).

  • Geoff Young for Congress wrote on August 24, 2017 09:21 AM :

    Sannie Overly was a disaster. I’m going to apply.

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on August 24, 2017 09:35 AM :

    Colmon Elridge should be the pick to move the party into the future. If Colmon isn’t making a run in the 6th Congressional contest , he should jump in here and try to get the party better organized… RL

  • AllPainNoGain wrote on August 24, 2017 01:45 PM :

    List of Potential Candidates: Steve Beshear (former Governor), Colmon Eldridge (Beshears Governors office), Christian Motley (KEA), Matt Jones (KSR), Adam Edelen (former Auditor), Sherman Brown (political operative), Cara Stewart (Medicaid expansion advocate), Leslie Combs (former state rep), Angela Evans (LFUCG councilmember), Debra Hensley (insurance broker/dem strategist), or Ernesto Scorsone (former senator/current judge).

    Feel free to add your suggestions!

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