Politics & Government

Kentucky Senate Democrats elect new leaders

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Senate Democrats have selected an entirely new leadership team for the next two years.

In a unanimous vote Monday, members of the minority party in the state Senate selected Ray Jones of Pikeville to be the Democratic floor leader. Also named to the leadership team were Gerald Neal of Louisville as caucus chairman and former Gov. Julian Carroll of Frankfort as caucus whip.

Jones, who has been in the Senate since 2001, replaces R.J. Palmer of Winchester, who lost a re-election bid last month to Republican Ralph Alvarado of Winchester. Neal, a state senator since 1989, replaces Johnny Ray Turner of Prestonsburg. Carroll, a senator since 2005, replaces Jerry Rhoads of Madisonville, who did not seek re-election.

Republicans have controlled the Senate since 2000. They now outnumber Democrats in the Senate, 26-12. That could change after a special election is held to replace Sen. Walter Blevins, D-Morehead, who won an election last month for Rowan County judge-executive.

Senate Republicans chose their leaders last week. House Republicans and Democrats will pick their leaders when the 2015 General Assembly begins Jan. 6.