The new chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party says reaching beyond east Louisville is key to the local party’s future success.
At the federal level, the GOP controls all but one of Kentucky’s six congressional seats.
In state government Republicans have expanded their majority in the state Senate in recent years, and many believe taking over the state House is within reach next year.
But in Jefferson County, Republicans have struggled in Louisville-area races as of late where Democrats control nearly all of the important elected offices.
Newly elected Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Nathan Haney is looking to change that.
“This is a big county and it’s going to take a big effort. But I definitely agree and I think it is a priority that we outreach not only to south Louisville, but west Louisville is very important to us,” says Haney, who is an attorney and former state House candidate.
Among the issues Republicans need to discuss more in Louisville are school choice, lowering homicide rates and changing mandatory sentencing laws, says Haney.
“One of the things that we have got to do is we have got to go places and we’ve got to talk to people, and we’ve got to listen to what their concerns are,” he says. “There’s a lot of very basic local issues that we agree wholeheartedly on. But we never give ourselves the chance because a lot of times we haven’t done the outreach efforts that we need to do.”
On elections, Haney says from Congress to county attorney and the Metro Council, more will be done to recruit viable opponents in 2014.
As of now no Republican candidates have indicated they’re interested in running against Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth or Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who are both up for re-election next year.
Fischer beat Republican Hal Heiner by less than three points in 2010, but speculation on that race has been noticeably reticent since the mayor announced his re-election bid.
In the 2012 general election, Yarmuth thumped his Republican challenger by 30 points. There were rumors that former state Rep. Mike Nemes was being courted, but Nemes told CN2 recently he is eyeying another office.
Haney says redistricting has shuffled candidate recruitment and intention to run in the congressional race, but the 30-year-old party chair says at the very least voters should expect a competitive race for Congress in 2014.
“There’s no doubt the Third Congressional District race is a top priority of ours,” he says. “I guarantee there will be a formidable challenger against John Yarmuth.”