For the first time since the Civil War, a majority of Kentucky voters don’t identify as Democrats as Republicans continue to make gains in voter registrations in the state.
It is a trend that has been developing for a long time.
As of June 15, Democrats make up 49.9 percent of registered voters in Kentucky while Republicans make up 41 percent and the rest identify either with a third party or as independents.
Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky's Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, says that Kentuckians began to split with the Democratic Party on a series of issues in the late 20th Century.
"The Republicans had a setback in the days of Watergate, but Reagan brought them back and abortion became the most important defining issue for the Republican Party," Cross says.
Even though Republicans have always had fewer registered voters in the state than Democrats, GOP politicians have held both of Kentucky’s seats in the U.S. Senate since 2001 and a majority of the state’s U.S. House seats since 1995.