Former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will be in Louisville this week to headline a fundraiser for state House GOP candidates.
In Kentucky’s history, the GOP has held the majority in the state House for only four years and just briefly in the 1920s. This November, Republicans need to win 10 seats to gain control of the House from the Democrats, who hold a 59-to-41 majority.
Last month, House GOP leaders unveiled their platform, which includes reforming the state tax code, cutting Medicaid spending and requiring each bill be read before a vote.
Republican Caucus spokesman Joe Burgan says Huckabee’s appearance demonstrates how serious the GOP is about winning this fall.
“It really speaks to the opportunity that Republicans have this fall,” he says. “The governor is coming to town because he realizes for the first time in 91 years we have the chance to take the state House and set a new course for Kentucky.”
Part of the reason that Republicans are confident that the feat is doable this fall is due to President Obama’s unpopularity across the state. A recent poll showed Kentucky voters choosing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by a huge margin this fall, and the GOP House candidates hope to grab those coattails.
As Kentucky Public Radio’s Kenny Colston has reported, that has drawn the attention from national political action committees as well.
Burgan says the president’s poor approval rating will help, but that the GOP wanted to also outline a clear agenda such as reforming the tax code and state legislative pension system if elected.
“Rather than just running against things, this body has put out an agenda on KentuckyHouseAgenda.com, which is an agenda that Republicans hope when they have a majority they will be able to run on, policies they will be able to put into place and change they will be able to affect,” he says. “Because for 91 years the Democrats have controlled the state House.”
The event is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m., and will be hosted at the home of former U.S. Ambassador Cathy Bailey.