Kentucky Democratic Party
ChairpersonColmon Elridge
GovernorAndy Beshear
Lieutenant GovernorJacqueline Coleman
Senate LeaderGerald Neal
House LeaderDerrick Graham
HeadquartersFrankfort, Kentucky
Membership (2023)Decrease 1,523,414[1]
IdeologyModern liberalism
National affiliationDemocratic Party
Colors  Blue
Statewide Executive Offices
2 / 7
7 / 38
House of Representatives
20 / 100
U.S. Senate
0 / 2
U.S. House of Representatives
1 / 6

The Kentucky Democratic Party is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is currently the minority party in the state, as the rival Republican Party of Kentucky overwhelmingly dominates in the state legislature, congressional delegation, and presidential elections. However, the party does currently control the governorship and lieutenant governorship, and maintains some strength in local elections.

Historically, the Democratic Party dominated in Kentucky, particularly in state elections, and led in party registration as recently as 2022; even today, a sizable 43.6% of voters are registered Democrats.[2] However, this metric obscures the fact that a large number of registered Democrats in the commonwealth now routinely vote Republican; this has been attributed to the fact that many of these voters hold socially conservative views and feel alienated due to the party increasingly adopting socially liberal policies.

Party by-laws

The structure of the Kentucky Democratic Party states that the power rests in the hands of the members and is to be conducted in accordance with the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A member is anyone who is registered as a Democrat in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and states that no discrimination will take part in anyone wishing to join the party.

Governing of the Kentucky Democratic Party articulates that proxy votes are not permitted and unit rules are forbidden. The organization aims to take strong stances against forcing members to vote a certain way, but instead endorses all candidates which meet their ideological structure most effectively.

The functions of the State Party are orchestrated by the State Central Executive Committee, County Executive Committees, and Precinct Committees. The members of each committee are nominated and elected at their respective conventions during a party-wide reorganization from the precinct level up which begins in April of every Presidential election year. Members of each precinct must select one man, one woman, and one youth to represent their precinct. One member is then selected as the Precinct Chair. Those elected to their Precinct Committee then meet for the County Convention wherein they elect 10 men and 10 women to serve on as members of the County Executive Committee, who in turn elect a Chair and Vice Chair. Also at the County Convention, certain members will be nominated to represent the county at the Kentucky Democratic Convention to elect new members to the State Central Executive Committee as well as delegates to the Democratic National Convention.[3]

Kentucky Democratic Party Executive Committee (2020-2024)

Central Leadership Congressional District 1 Congressional District 2
Colmon Elridge, Chair Jeff Taylor, CD1 Collin Morris, CD2
Colleen Younger, Vice Chair Crystal Chappell, CD1 Patti Minter, CD2
Charlotte Flanary, Secretary Susanna French, CD1 Jeanie Smith, CD2
Lindy Karns, Treasurer Brenna Caudill, CD1 James Line, CD2
John Weber, General Counsel
Rick Adams, Deputy General Counsel
Congressional District 3 Congressional District 4 Congressional District 5
Robert Kahne, CD3 Col Owens, CD4 Ralph Hoskins, CD5
Corrie Shull, CD3 Craig Miller, CD4 Johnny Ray Turner, CD5
Queenie Averette, CD3 Danielle Bell, CD4 Ashley Adkins, CD5
Pamela Stevenson, CD3 Nicole Erwin, CD4 Laura White-Brown, CD5
Mera Corlett, CD3 Ellen Cartmell, CD4 Ariana Velasquez, CD5
Congressional District 6 At-Large Members Other Members
Trent Garrison, CD6 LaToya Drake, At Large Jack Dulworth, DNC
Clint Morris, CD6 Roy Harrison, At Large Cherlynn Stevenson, House Caucus
Denise Gray, CD6 Josh Mers, At Large Reggie Thomas, Senate Caucus
Brenda Monarrez, CD6 Jeff Noble, At Large Allison Wiseman, Young Democrats
Rebecca Blankenship, CD6 Cody Pruitt, At Large JoAnne Bland, Democratic Women's Club
Dorsey Ridley, At Large George Wright, Veterans Caucus
Rachel Roberts, At Large Hank Linderman, Rural Council
John Stovall, At Large Nisia Thornton, LGBTQQ-IA Caucus
John C. Breckinridge


Kentucky politics has been relatively evenly matched between Democrats and Republicans. There has been no Democratic president from Kentucky, but there have been three Democratic vice presidents from the state. The first vice president from Kentucky, Richard M. Johnson, was the ninth Vice President of the United States. In the earliest part of the 19th century Johnson was a supporter of the Democratic-Republican Party during his service in the U.S. House, Johnson would work to secure pensions for widows and orphans of wars, in particular those following the War of 1812, a stance that would set precedence for future Kentucky Democrats.[4] Johnson would later become a strong supporter and influence in the Democratic Party along with his service in the White House from 1837 to 1840.[5]

John C. Breckinridge served as the 14th Vice President (1857–1861) and a notable figure in the early Democratic Party of Kentucky, although Breckinridge claimed himself not an anti-union demonstrator, during the civil war, yet strongly supported the states right to determine slavery and would go on to be an officer in the confederate army.[6]

Alben W. Barkley Vice President (1949–1953) began his Kentucky Democratic influence as a county Judge, and would become a U.S. House of Representatives and go onto the U.S. Senate with strong ties to Woodrow Wilson's liberal agenda, as well as during Franklin D Roosevelt's Administration, and would help transition Kentucky's Democratic Party into the modern era of politics.[7]

Since the 20th century and early part of the 21st century, Democrats have largely dominated the office of governor in the State of Kentucky; out of 26 governors since 1900, only seven have not conducted office within the Democratic Party.[8]

A priority for Kentucky Democrats in the 2010s and 2020s has been increasing the minimum wage.[9]

Current elected officials

Mayor of Louisville: Craig Greenberg

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

Both of Kentucky's U.S. Senate seats have been held by Republicans since 1998. Wendell Ford was the last Democrat to represent Kentucky in the U.S. Senate. First elected in 1974, Ford opted to retire instead of seeking a fifth term. Congressman Scotty Baesler ran as the Democratic nominee in the 1998 election and was subsequently defeated by Republican challenger Jim Bunning.

U.S. House of Representatives

Out of the six seats Kentucky is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, one is held by a Democrat:

District Member Photo
3rd Morgan McGarvey

Statewide offices

Democrats control two of the seven elected statewide offices:

State legislative leaders

Chief Executive Officers

Chair: Colmon Elridge[10]

Kentucky General Assembly

House of Representatives

In the House of Representatives, Democrats hold a minority of seats. The Democratic Party in the House is led by the Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins; Minority Caucus Chairman is Derrick Graham and Minority Whip is Angie Hatton.[11]


In the Senate, Democrats hold a minority of seats. Leading figures of the Democratic Party in the Senate include Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, Minority Caucus Chairman Reggie Thomas, and Minority Whip Dennis Parrett.[12]


Health care

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Kentucky Democrats have supported expanding Medicaid under the law. Under the Act, health care providers also cannot refuse coverage based on preexisting conditions.

In 2006, 2,000,231 people between the ages of 25 and 64 were living in Kentucky, and an estimated 19% were living without health insurance.[13] By 2020, the uninsured rate in Kentucky had fallen to 5.5%, and about a half-million Kentuckians had gained insurance under Medicaid expansion.[14]


The Kentucky Infrastructure Authority was founded in 1988 to develop and fund a better infrastructure for the state. Its main reason for existence has been to finance local development and works as an office under the Governor.[15]

In 2009, the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority distributed 47.8 million dollars to fund wastewater infrastructure projects. An additional 18.9 million dollars was made available to improve funding for drinking water projects in the state. The funding was to be distributed through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which were directly funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was strongly supported by Democrats and implemented by President Obama. Governor Beshear, a strong supporter of President Obama's Reinvestment Act, stated that these infrastructure improvements will not only create jobs but address short and long-term water challenges for the state of Kentucky.[16]

See also


  1. ^ "Registration Statistics - State Board of Elections". Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  2. ^ "Registration Statistics". Commonwealth of Kentucky State Board of Elections. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  3. ^ "Our Bylaws." Kentucky Democratic Party. Web. 26 September 2017
  4. ^ "American President: Richard M. Johnson (1837–1841)." Miller Center. Web. 28 November 2011. < Archived 2011-10-15 at the Wayback Machine>
  5. ^ "Richard M. Johnson (vice President of United States) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 28 November 2011. <>
  6. ^ "John C. Breckinridge (vice President of United States) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 28 November 2011. <>
  7. ^ "American President: Alben W. Barkley." Miller Center. Web. 29 November 2011. < Archived 2011-10-15 at the Wayback Machine>
  8. ^ "The US50 - A Guide to the State of Kentucky - List of Governors." The US50 - A Guide to the Fifty States. Web. 29 November 2011. <>
  9. ^ Cook, Katey (January 20, 2020). "Kentucky Democrats introduce minimum wage bill". WYMT. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  10. ^ "Kentucky Democratic Party elects first Black chair, Colmon Elridge | Louisville Courier Journal". Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  11. ^ "House Leadership." Kentucky Legislature Home Page. Web. 06 January 2017. < Archived June 5, 2017, at the Wayback Machine>.
  12. ^ "Senate Leadership." Kentucky Legislature Home Page. Web. 24 September 2017. <>.
  13. ^ Wikler, Beth, and Kim Bailey. "Dying For Coverage In Kentucky." Families USA: The Voice for Health Care Consumers. April 2008. Web. 30 October 2011. <>
  14. ^ Yetter, Deborah. "Kentucky leading among states in Medicaid enrollment as it works to sign up those eligible". Louisville Courier Journal. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  15. ^ "Welcome." Kentucky: Infrastructure Authority - Home. Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. Web. 11 December 2011. <>
  16. ^ "Kentucky: Infrastructure Authority - Recovery Act Investments Announced for Kentucky's Infrastructure." Kentucky: Infrastructure Authority - Home. 1 May 2009. Web. 11 December 2011. <>