Politics & Government

Kentucky Democratic Party searching for a new leader

State Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, is stepping down as chairwoman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. This is a Nov. 2, 2015, file photo.
State Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, is stepping down as chairwoman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. This is a Nov. 2, 2015, file photo. Lexington Herald-Leader

State Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, is stepping down as chairwoman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Overly, who was elected chairwoman of the party in January 2016, has asked the party’s governing board to form a search committee to look for her replacement.

Overly, the first woman to serve in Kentucky House leadership and the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2015, has been mentioned as a possible candidate in next year’s 6th Congressional District race and the 2019 race for governor.

“While my future plans at this time are uncertain, I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Kentucky,” Overly said in a statement. “With the future of our country and our commonwealth at stake, all options are on the table.”

Party spokesman Brad Bowman said Overly will stay on as party chairwoman until its State Central Executive Committee selects her replacement from the search committee’s recommendations.

Bowman said Overly told the committee she was leaving the post “because she wanted to open it up for a new chair going into the 2018 elections.”

The search committee will have 11 members — one each from the office of Attorney General Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, six from each congressional district in the state, one each from the House and Senate Democratic caucuses, and one state-at-large member.

No timetable was set for the search committee to do its work, Bowman said.

Overly has represented the state’s 72nd House District since 2008. It includes Bourbon, Bath and Nicholas counties and part of Fayette. She was elected House majority caucus chairwoman in 2013.

Overly has chaired the Democratic Party without pay in tough times. Democrats last year lost the state House to Republicans for the first time since 1921 and Republican Donald Trump won 118 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Morehead, said Overly “has made it clear she will stay on until her replacement is named. That’s the way she is.”

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