Monday, December 28, 2015

Democratic control of Kentucky House weakens further

(AP) — Another Kentucky state lawmaker is switching from the Democratic Party to the GOP, further boosting the Republican Party's mission to take control of the only Southern legislative chamber still run by Democrats.

State Rep. Jim Gooch chairs the Natural Resources and Environment Committee. He said Monday he will seek re-election as a Republican. He attributed his decision to President Barack Obama's "radical agenda," including environmental regulations and push for gun control.

He is the second House Democrat to switch parties since Gov. Matt Bevin was elected in November, highlighting state voters' drastic Republican turn. Two other Democrats accepted appointments from Bevin's administration, leaving the House at 50 Democrats and 46 Republicans when the legislature reconvenes next month.

Special elections will be held to fill the four vacant seats.