From the Lexington Herald-Leader:
By Adam Beam | Associated Press | October 21, 2016 4:04 AM
FRANKFORT, KY. Democrats could lose control of their only legislative chamber in the South because of a blustery hero for folks in coal country — Donald Trump.
The New York real estate developer’s anger on the campaign trail matches the mood of many in Appalachia, where job losses associated with the declining coal industry have fueled a backlash against national Democrats that has slowly trickled down to the local level.
In Kentucky, the backlash could spill over into races for the state House, where Democrats hold a precarious 53-47 majority. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, has not lost an election in 36 years. But this time, he’s scared.
“My opponent can’t beat me,” Stumbo said. “But Donald Trump can.”
There’s a lot more at the original.
Kentucky Republican candidates are doing just what they should: connecting the Democrats’ anti-coal policies on the national level with declining coal mining and production in coal country. If the GOP can flip the Kentucky House, we’d finally be back to the Solid South of yesteryear, but this time solidly Republican, not Democratic.
Democrats in Kentucky are not a whole lot like the Democrats at the national level: they are mostly moderate, and fiscally responsible. You could count on Kentucky Democrats to want balanced budgets and responsible policies. The trouble came when moderate Kentucky Democrats wound up in Washington, helping to cement Democratic majorities for so long, and if not necessarily being as far to the left, they still provided important votes for liberal policies and leadership. One of the points I kept making in my (now lost) articles on the Senate candidacy of Alison Lundergan Grimes in 2014 was that, despite her coal-supporting, Second Amendment-positive advertisements, had she been elected, she’d have been another Democratic vote to give the Senate a Democratic majority and leadership. Whether she was conservative enough for Kentuckians — and she lost that election, lost in a landslide — was only part of the issue; her election would have helped liberal policies at the national level, policies which would have hurt Kentucky and the nation as a whole.
The GOP needs to flip four seats in the state House of Representatives to take control of that chamber; with the state Senate already in GOP hands, and Republican Matt Bevin serving as Governor, this would give Kentucky a solidly Republican state government for the first time in memory. The Democrats have controlled the state House for the last 96 years.
Mr Trump has been considered a drag on down-ballot Republican candidates across the country, but it’s possible that his nomination will flip the last legislative chamber in the South.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.