Republicans look to 2019 after keeping control of Kentucky legislature

(WLKY) - Republicans in Kentucky are feeling vindicated after Tuesday night's midterm elections, in which the party kept control of the state House and state Senate.

GOP candidates won 17 of the 19 state Senate races, increasing their majority to 28 seats. In the House, unofficial results show Democrats gained two seats, but Republicans will keep their supermajority with 61 seats.

"Here in the Kentucky, the big blue wave hit a big red wall," said state Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer.

Thayer and state Senate President Robert Stivers both said the outcome is proof the Republican message is resonating with voters.

"I think that shows that Kentuckians believe in our message and they believe in what we're doing," Thayer explained.

Stivers believes the monthslong fight over teacher pensions actually benefited GOP candidates.

"I think that when teachers got out and saw that we were fully funding pensions, we're putting more per pupil in education and we were trying to correct a problem that they knew and we knew was more than just a funding issue," Stivers said.

The GOP is now looking to 2019.

"I think a school safety bill is coming and I think there's probably going to be a cleanup bill on tax reform," Thayer said.

After a polarizing election, Stivers and Thayer said it's time for both parties to get to work for Kentuckians.

"We need to have dialogue, not argument, but dialogue about how to fix these problems," Stivers explained. Thayer emphasized that while unity is important, the Republicans have a strong enough majority to get things done without Democratic support.

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