Politics

Governor Steve Beshear says Kentucky risks running off the “progressive path” it’s on if voters give the GOP a majority of state House seats. Beshear made the comments in Barren County Thursday.

Democrats currently hold a 54-to-46 advantage in the chamber, but Republicans have made a major push to win control of the House for the first time in more than 90 years. To help Democratic incumbents, Beshear has been on the road this week, announcing funding for infrastructure projects in districts where these members are facing competitive challenges by Republican candidates.

Beshear said if the GOP does gain control of the House—the party already controls the state Senate—he’s worried about how it would affect recent gains Kentucky has made in education and health care.

“If people will just look at Mississippi, Alabama, and a lot of these southern states where they’re dominated by far-right wing conservative Republican parties both in the House, Senate, and the governorship—all of those states are in a race to get back to the 19th century,” Beshear said.

He also denounced the large amounts of money Republican PACs have been spending in Kentucky, in an attempt to tip the balance.

“This is money coming from folks all around the country that don’t care a thing about Kentucky, will never be in Kentucky, and—when it’s over with—won’t come to Kentucky,” he said. “But they’re trying to influence the outcome of our races with all of their millions and billions of dollars.”

Democratic groups and PACs have also spent heavily in several competitive House districts.

House Republicans say they will pursue legislation they believe will positively impact the state’s economy, such as a “right to work” law that would allow workers to opt out of joining a union at their workplace. Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson has accused Beshear of using public money in an effort to buy votes during his recent check presentations in Democratic-held House districts.