Kentucky Democrats successfully defended their control of the state House -- but they're now stranded on a political island. It appears that Republicans will take control of the Arkansas House of Representatives, leaving Kentucky as the only southern state with a Democratic-controlled House. And that will make Kentucky House Democrats a big blue target in future years. The Kentucky state House will remain in Democratic control for at least two more years, when all 100 seats in the body are back on the ballot.
In Arkansas, Democrats control both the state House and state Senate. But in Tuesday's election, the Arkansas GOP easily won their Senate and appear to have a tie or one-vote lead in the House. Kentucky's eastward neighbor West Virginia also had big GOP gains in their state House, but fell short four votes of a majority. Democrats clearly control the West Virginia state Senate.
If West Virginia were to flip before Kentucky, only Kentucky's and Illinois' Houses would be Democratic-controlled from Wisconsin east to Pennsylvania, south to Florida and west to Arkansas. National Republican groups consistently targeted Kentucky Democrats this year and said they have long term goals of flipping the chamber into their control.