Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


February 1, 2014

Certain winners

If GOP does 'flip the House' it won't be because of region

ASHLAND — After 90 years of having Democrats control the Kentucky House of Representatives, the Kentucky Republican Party hopes to “flip the House in 2014.” But you would never know that by the legislative races in northeastern Kentucky.  

Of the four House seats in this corner of the state, the Democratic incumbents — State Rep. Tanya Pullin of South Shore in the 96th District, House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook in the 99th District and state Rep. Kevin Sinnette of Ashland in the 100th District — all are running unopposed. So if voters decide to “flip the House” by turning the current 54-46 majority for Democrats into a Republican majority, they will get no help from northeastern Kentucky in achieving that goal.

In fact, the only incumbent state representative from this region to face opposition for re-election is the lone Republican, Jill York of Grayson, who is seeking a fourth two-year term. She will face the winner of the May Democratic primary race between Barry Webb of Webbville and Derrick Wilts of Grayson in November in the district that includes Carter and Lewis counties.

Over in the Senate, where the Republican Party is firmly in control, incumbent Democrat Robin Webb must be considered a heavy favorite to win a four-year term in the district redrawn by redistricting to include just Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties. Republican Tony Downey of Ashland, who lost to State Sen. Walter “Doc” Blevins for the Senate seat in the old 27th District, is the only candidate to challenge Webb in the 18th District this year. He lost to Blevins by a landslide in 2012. We’re happy Webb is being challenged because we believe voters should always have a choice. Competition at the polls tends to make even good legislators like Webb  better. But Downey will have to run a much stronger race against Webb than he did against Blevins to have any chance of unseating her.

Kentucky is the only state in the Southeast to have a legislative body controlled by Democrats. That is why the GOP is putting such a great emphasis in capturing the House. If that happens, it will be because of legislative races in central and western Kentucky. With three Democratic incumbents given a free ride to re-election, this region will “stay the course” instead of helping to “flip the House.”


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