Kentucky Republicans celebrated Friday when the State Board of Elections announced the number of registered GOP voters surpassed registered Democrats for the first time, 1,612,060 to 1,609,569.
“After a century and a half, the birthplace of Lincoln has finally aligned with the party of Lincoln," Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams said of the numbers.
Just 40 years ago, Democrats made up 68% of registered voters in Kentucky, more than doubling the 28% registered Republican.
While Republicans have made significant electoral gains since the 1980s — particularly dominating federal races — they were slower to make gains in voter registration, as many in rural parts of the state remained registered Democrats to vote in local primaries, where the party still dominated. (Courier Journal)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky cheered the news as “a day I never thought would happen.”
"After decades of hard work and grassroots efforts across the Commonwealth, registered Republicans now outnumber registered Democrats in Kentucky,” he said in a statement. “Congratulations to all my fellow Republicans who have worked so hard and so long to make this historic day possible. This is great news for the Commonwealth but it’s just the beginning.”
Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Mac Brown said it’s the result of decades of work.
“This did not happen overnight, and we didn’t do it alone,” he said, reports the Courier Journal. “This day has been decades in the making and is only made possible by the hard work and effort put in by so many. We stand on the shoulders of giants who came before us. Kentuckians know the Republican Party is their party."
Republicans currently hold both U.S. Senate seat, five out of six House seats, and a majority of seats in the legislature.
“We are living a historic moment in the commonwealth,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who is seeking a third term from Kentucky in this year's election. “The majority of people in Kentucky realize that their beliefs are best represented by the Republican Party."