Observer Says Kentucky’s Small Role in Presidential Elections Leaves Local Speakers Off DNC Stage

Unlike their GOP counterparts, zero Kentucky officials will be taking the main stage to speak at this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Democrats hold the majority of statewide offices in Kentucky, including the governor’s office. But that’s not enough to get any of those elected officials onto the DNC stage this week.

Last week, Republicans heard from three Kentuckians during their convention: Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and congressional candidate Andy Barr.

But no Kentucky Democrats are being afforded the same opportunity. University of Louisville political science professor Dewey Clayton says that has to do with the state’s small role in presidential elections.

“The state of Kentucky itself does not have a large amount of Electoral College votes, it only has eight. So that clearly will probably play into this as well,” he says.

Clayton says the lack of Kentuckians on stage likely has little to do with state leaders distancing themselves from President Barack Obama recently.

As for Republicans, Clayton says they had their reasons for picking Kentucky speakers, most notably Paul, to address convention delegates.

“And I sort of see this as trying to really excite, shore up and energize Romney’s ticket,” he says.

Clayton says Democrats don’t need Kentucky officials to speak because they know President Barack Obama won’t win that state in his re-election effort. The last time the state voted for a Democratic president was for former President Bill Clinton in 1996. 

Instead, Clayton says Democrats are inviting a lot of minorities and women to speak to contrast their party’s makeup with Republicans.

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