FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – While reports out of Washington indicate Republican pollsters and party leaders are worried the so-called “blue wave” could turn over control of both houses of Congress in November, a state legislative leader remains optimistic the GOP will hold in Kentucky.
While several polls show most Americans are largely satisfied with the economy, the Republican party been unsuccessful keeping the economy at the forefront of the election debate. President Trump spends his time on other issues, such as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Bob Woodward's book about his presidency, and an anonymous editorial in the New York Times purportedly from a senior administration official.
“Certainly, we are facing a different environment then we faced the last three election cycles since we are now in control. That makes it much easier to attack,” said House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect. “Now, we have gone to a defense mode seeking to stay here, which is a different perspective.”
He continued, “It’s a tumultuous political environment all over the country. I think, in large part, we are not as susceptible to that as we’ve seen in some states, even though it’s an unusual environment. It’s challenging, but I am confident, based on everything I’ve seen or heard, there is not a doubt in my mind we will hold the majority.”
Osborne, 59, assumed the duties of speaker after Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, resigned the post last November amid settling sexual harassment allegations. He is being challenged by two people in his re-election bid in November, Democrat Diane Seaman of Pendleton and Independent Samantha Nicole Gerges of Crestwood.
Osborne, who has been in the House since 2005, would not say if he will run for speaker when lawmakers convene for a week in January when legislative leaders are chosen.
“I’m going to worry about winning my election first before we go any further than that,” Osbourne said.
As part of the “Trump Tsunami” during the 2016 general election, Republicans went from a 53-47 minority to a 64-36 majority in the House. Several special elections later, the GOP currently holds a 63-37 advantage.
With a larger than usual number of incumbents deciding not to seek re-election, and Republican Floor Leader Johnathan Shell, R-Lancaster, defeated in the GOP primary, it remains to be seen how that number will change in November.
When Jeff Hoover was elected Speaker of the House in 2017, he became the first Republican to hold that post in over 100 years.