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Republican Party of Kentucky
ChairpersonJ. McCauley Brown
Senate PresidentRobert Stivers
House SpeakerDavid Osborne
HeadquartersFrankfort, Kentucky
Membership (2022)Increase1,608,203[1]
Political positionRight-wing
National affiliationRepublican Party
Colors  Red
Statewide Executive Offices
5 / 7
Seats in the Kentucky Senate
31 / 38
Seats in the Kentucky House of Representatives
80 / 100
Seats in the U.S. Senate
2 / 2
Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
5 / 6

The Republican Party of Kentucky is the affiliate of the Republican Party in Kentucky and follows its nationally established platform. The party's headquarters is in Frankfort, Kentucky.[2]

The party gained relevance around the 1940s though Kentucky was still part of the Solid South at the time. Since this emergence, the party did poorly in state executive office elections until 2015 but saw some success on the federal level and in the Kentucky General Assembly. The party is organized into two main committees that hold authority.[3] In the 2015 Kentucky elections, the party captured the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, and Auditor, gaining the majority of the state executive offices for the first time in modern history. In 2016, Republicans gained control of the state house for the first time since 1920. It is currently the dominant party in the state, controlling all but one of Kentucky's six U.S. House seats, both U.S. Senate seats, and has supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. The only two statewide offices that the party does not currently control are the governorship and the lieutenant governorship, which are currently held by Democrats Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman respectively.


Emergence and relevancy

Cassius Marcellus Clay and John Gregg Fee organized the Republicans in Madison County, Kentucky. Clay was selected as Kentucky's member of the Republican National Committee.[4]

After the times of the Solid South, Kentucky has a unique Republican history. Although it is a traditionally Democratic Southern State, the Republican Party of Kentucky became more relevant in Kentucky political affairs around the 1940s and 1950s.[5] Although candidates in presidential and congressional races began to fare well and see success in elections around this time, it did not translate to much success on the state and local levels.[2] Despite receiving measurable numbers of votes and being competitive in elections, many of the candidates for gubernatorial and legislative races consistently failed to get elected into office.


Despite becoming consistently competitive in state elections, the party's strength in the 1970s and 1980s were comparable to that of the 1930s and 1940s. Between the time of the emergence of the Republican Party of Kentucky and the 1980s, the only Republican governor elected to office was Louie B. Nunn in 1967.[6] This is considered one of the few high points for the party. Problems within the party organization contributed greatly to these struggles. Part of it is due to the turnover at the state party chairman position throughout the 1970s, which hindered any consistency and progress within the party organization. While in the 1980s, however, much of the difficulties for the party came from trying to get good candidates to run for office.[2] For example, in the four state elections held between 1979 and 1987, Republicans only contested 53 out of the 100 State House of Representative seats and only 11 of the 19 State Senate seats.[7]

Party organization

The Republican Party of Kentucky is organized based on three levels of authority. The top authority comes from the registered Republicans in Kentucky when the State Convention is in session. However, since the convention is often out of session, there are two lower levels of main authority. The Republican State Central Committee (RSCC) has full control of party operations when State Convention is not in session, while the executive committee within the RSCC controls operations when the RSCC is not in session.[3]

Republican State Central Committee

The Republican Party of Kentucky's main authority when not assembled in State Convention is the Republican State Central Committee. The RSCC is responsible for a number of activities and operations involving the party on the state and local levels and is required to meet twice per year through established rules. Some of the operations include controlling of funds, creating committees, and promoting campaigns on all levels. The RSCC meets within twenty days of the Republican State Convention to elect certain officers, while some other officers in turn are appointed by the elected officers. For example, the State Chairman is elected by the RSCC, who in turn appoints a Treasurer of his or her choosing.[3]

Executive committee

While the RSCC is not in session, the responsibilities for party organization are delegated to the executive committee, which consists of 56 members and is required through established rules to meet four times a year. Most of the power in the executive committee resides in six high-ranking members, which are the State Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, National Committeewoman, and National Committeeman.[3]

Current officers

Current elected officials

The Kentucky Republican Party controls five of the seven statewide offices and holds a majority in the Kentucky Senate. Republicans also hold both of the state's U.S. Senate seats and five of the six U.S. House seats. This did not change in the recent state office elections of 2011, as James Comer won the Agriculture Commissioner seat, while the Democrats won all the others.

Members of U.S. Congress

U.S. Senate

Republicans have controlled both of Kentucky's seats in the U.S. Senate since 1998:

U.S. House of Representatives

Out of the 6 seats Kentucky is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, 5 are held by Republicans:

District Member Photo
1st James Comer
2nd Brett Guthrie
4th Thomas Massie
5th Hal Rogers
6th Andy Barr

Statewide office

Republicans control five of the seven elected statewide offices:

Kentucky General Assembly

Place in Kentucky General Assembly

The Republican Party of Kentucky holds supermajorities in both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly. They currently hold 30 of the 38 seats in the Kentucky Senate, while holding 75 out of 100 seats in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Republican Senate Leader Position
Sen. Robert Stivers Senate President
Sen. David Givens President Pro Tempore
Sen. Damon Thayer Majority Floor Leader
Sen. Julie Raque Adams Majority Caucus Chairman
Sen. Mike Wilson Majority Whip
Republican Caucus Leader Position
Rep. Steven Rudy House Republican Floor Leader
Rep. Suzanne Miles House Republican Caucus Chair
Rep. Chad McCoy House Republican Whip

Recent events and initiatives

Dewayne Bunch resignation

In April 2011, recently elected 82nd District State Representative Dewayne Bunch was severely injured at the school that he worked at. He was knocked unconscious while trying to break up a fight between two students.[8] With the accident causing severe trauma and requiring a long recovery process, Bunch was forced to resign. Bunch's resignation was announced by his wife and recognized by Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover on October 26, 2011, in a public press release.[9]

Recently sponsored passed legislation

Effective June 1, 2011, five specific pieces of legislation sponsored by the Kentucky Republican Caucus were passed in the state of Kentucky. These bills reflect many of the beliefs of the Republican Party of Kentucky on a handful of issues, which include education, gun control, and veteran affairs. In regards to education, House Bill 92, which was sponsored by Republican Representative Adam Koenig, is a law that requires high schools throughout Kentucky to provide seniors with more voter information. In addition, House Bill 464, which was sponsored by Republican Representative David Osborne, provides the Kentucky Board of Education with stricter rules in dealing with errors in textbooks.[10] Along with laws influencing practices in education, a law that expands the concealed carry policies was also sponsored by the Kentucky Republican Caucus and put into law in 2011. Republican Representative Alicia Webb-Edgington sponsored House Bill 313, which allows loaded or unloaded firearms to be stored in any original compartments of the owners vehicle.[10]


  1. ^ "Election Statistics Registration Statistics". Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Political Parties and Primaries in Kentucky / Penny Miller, Malcolm E. Jewell.
  3. ^ a b c d "RPK Rules | Kentucky GOPKentucky GOP". Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  4. ^ Abbott 1986, p. 10.
  5. ^ The Life and Death of the Solid South: A Political History / Dewey W. Grantham
  6. ^ Kentucky Politics and Government: Do we Stand United? / Penny Miller.
  7. ^ "Election Results Election Results". Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  8. ^ Schreiner, Bruce (2011-04-13). "State Rep. Dewayne Bunch critically injured trying to break up fight at school | Politics and Government". Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  9. ^ SunStar Media (2011-10-26). "News & Press | Statement from House Republican Leadership regarding resignation of Representative Dewayne Bunch (Kentucky House Republican Caucus)". Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  10. ^ a b SunStar Media. "News & Press | LEGISLATIVE UPDATE (Kentucky House Republican Caucus)". Retrieved 2013-01-21.

Works cited