Thayer sees positives for GOP in 2014 races; plans to keep pressure on House Dems through legislation

11/17/2014 02:38 PM

Republican Majority Floor Leader state Sen. Damon Thayer said the 2014 elections in Kentucky shows the electorates is moving towards conservative principles and policies, but he said there was disappointment for the GOP in state House races.

In an interview in his Georgetown home Thayer said Kentucky led the way in the “repudiation of President Barack Obama’s policies” in the U.S. Senate race between Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

“I think voters in Kentucky are ready for change…as Sen. McConnell said it’s not about the person it’s about the policies,” Thayer said.

“The electorate here in Kentucky is angry with the direction of our country. I think they want to see policies that help create jobs.”

McConnell convincingly won his re-election bid by 15 percentage points, however state House Republican remain in the minority, after coming up short to the House Democrats yet again.

Thayer said Republicans thought they could at least come close and work at flipping some conservative Democrats in the House to take the majority, but control remains out of reach.

“I’m not going to try to sugar coat it. Not being able to flip the House was a disappointment,” Thayer said.

“On the face of it – it doesn’t look like we picked up any seats, but the truth is redistricting took us down to 42, so to get back to 46 was OK, we knocked off a couple of Democrat incumbents… it was a disappointment.”

While he did not want to weigh in on House GOP leadership races he said that he did feel the issue of Republicans coming up short in the election should not be laid at House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover’s feet.

“I think there were a couple of things working against us in taking over the House — I think the redistricting map definitely favored the Democrats, they built a little bit of a wall there,” Thayer said.

Thayer also pointed to the outside money coming from groups like the Kentucky Family Values PAC played a role, as did candidate recruitment.

“I think candidate recruitment matters and I think that is an effort that needs to start earlier,” Thayer said.

“I would say as a cautionary tale to House Democrats remember Jimmie Lee, because if we can beat Jimmie Lee — I think we can beat anybody.”

With the House remaining under Democrat control the Senate moved even further to the right with a super majority 26 seats to Democrats 11 and one open seat.

“In the Senate we will likely continue to do what we have done, and that is pass conservative legislation and try to put pressure on the so called conservative House Democrats to go to their leadership and say put these things up for a vote on the floor,” Thayer said.

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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