FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky House Republicans kept their supermajority for another two years following the General Election, but there will be some scrambling for leadership positions when lawmakers convene for the organizational session in January.
Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, resigned the top post last fall, after he and three other House Republicans entered a settlement involving sexual harassment allegations. Hoover won re-election to another two-year term representing the 83rd District, when no Republican or Democrat filed to run against him.
Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, then assumed the duties as Speaker for the entire 2018 legislative session. He has expressed interest in the Speaker’s post, which would then leave a vacancy as Speaker Pro Tem, if he is successful.
Majority Leader Johnathan Shell, R-Lancaster, was defeated in the May GOP Primary by Travis Brenda, who then won the General Election, beating Democrat Mary J. Renfro, so that position will be open as well.
Majority Whip Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, announced on Friday that he would not seek re-election to that leadership spot.
“I’m going to be a hard-working caucus member and do the work of the people as a State Representative,” Bratcher said. “When you’re in leadership, you’re expected to travel quite a good deal, fundraise quite a bit, and there’s a lot of long hours put in. I started this quest in 2015 to turn the House red, and it’s been a lot of time, miles on the road, and I’m going to give it a break for a cycle.”
Bratcher would not say who he would like to see in his leadership post. “We have 61 members, all of whom are qualified.” “He said he plans to seek re-election to the House in 2020.”
Majority Caucus Chair David Meade, R-Stanford, also had no opponents in his bid for another term in the House. He could seek re-election as Caucus Chair, although there is talk that he may run for Speaker Pro Tem, if Osborne is chosen Speaker.
There is also talk in Frankfort that Hoover could run for Speaker once again, since two of his biggest critics in the GOP, C. Wesley Morgan of Richmond and Phil Moffett of Louisville, lost their re-election bids. However, there are still two whistleblower suits pending in court stemming from the sexual harassment allegations, and Hoover’s name could once again become prominent.
It should be an interesting time when the organizational session gets underway Jan. 8-11 in Frankfort.
The main part of the legislative session runs Feb. 5 through March 29.