Republicans maintain commanding majority in state Senate

Damon Thayer
Damon Thayer

Voters gave Republicans another commanding majority in the Kentucky Senate on Tuesday, ensuring that Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear must deal and compromise to get what he wants over the next two years.

Republicans picked up a seat, replacing Democratic Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville in Western Kentucky's 3rd District with Republican lawyer Whitney Westerfield, also of Hopkinsville. Pendleton joined the Senate in 1993.

Pendleton's loss gives Republicans 23 of the chamber's 38 seats, including an independent who caucuses with them but not counting the seat recently vacated by David Williams of Burkesville in the staunchly Republican 16th District. Democrats have 14 seats.

Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, who is expected to replace Williams as Senate president, held onto Southeastern Kentucky's 25th District.

Next door, in the 21st District, Republican real-estate broker Albert Robinson of London beat Democratic business owner Amie Hacker, also of London, to fill the seat of departing Republican Sen. Tom Jensen.

Robinson spent three decades in the General Assembly until losing to Jensen in 2004. He was controversial for pushing a legislative pension increase and using his office to get state money to improve land he privately marketed. Some Republican lawmakers this year said they don't want him back.

"Albert's getting up in years, and he wasn't all that helpful. He was self-serving, quite frankly," Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Dan Seum of Louisville told cn|2 in August.

In Central Kentucky's 7th District, Democratic Sen. Julian Carroll of Frankfort, a former governor, turned back Republican Frank Haynes. Nearby in the 17th District, Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown held off Democrat David Holcomb.

In northeastern Kentucky's 27th District, Democratic Sen. Walter "Doc" Blevins of West Liberty won re-election. In Kenton County's 23rd District, where Republican Sen. Jack Westwood is retiring, Republican businessman Chris McDaniel of Taylor Mill will replace him.

Western Kentucky's 1st District chose Republican Stan Humphries, judge-executive of Trigg County, to replace retiring Republican Sen. Ken Winters.

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