The Democratic Party has consistently been the dominant political party in Kentucky since the state was formed in 1792. The Party descended from Thomas Jefferson’s anti-Federalist Republicans in opposition to Alexander Hamilton’s Whig Party. The belief in states’ rights and a preference to a small, unobtrusive state government over a large federal government continued to be the overriding philosophy of the party through the 1850s when the Civil War broke out.
Democrats in Kentucky have followed a pattern of splitting and reuniting since the Civil War. Some of the more famous splits occurred over the issue of slavery and, throughout the 20th Century, over a factionalism attached to various opposing candidates within the party.
Democrats like Ruby Laffoon, A.B. “Happy” Chandler, Earle Clements, Lawrence Wetherby, Alben Barkley, Bert T. Combs, Edward T. Breathitt and Wendell Ford – many of whom were key players in the factional in-fighting – were instrumental in setting the tone for the modern Kentucky Democratic Party. Democratic candidates run less often on traditional liberal or conservative platforms and more on the promise of tax relief, educational improvement and government efficiency.
Today, ensuring honesty, integrity, and fresh ideas for the Commonwealth are the ideals of our Kentucky Democratic Party. We strive to protect our Kentucky values, while laying a foundation for a brighter tomorrow for all Kentuckians. Comprised of teams of Democratic leaders, the Kentucky Democratic Party works to communicate the message to the public, mobilize community members into action, and ensuring funds are raised to promote projects across the State.
The most important piece of the Democratic Party does not fit a common mold – it is you.