What the 2022 Midterm Elections Mean For Berea, Kentucky and Beyond

by The Berea Torch

Now that most of the votes cast during the 2022 United States Midterms have been counted. The Berea Torch will discuss what these election results mean locally and nationally and what to expect from the future.

On a national scale, even though all votes have not been counted, the data does not indicate the Republican Red Wave that many expected. The electorate’s general tendency is to move towards the party that does not hold the presidency during the midterms unless the president is stupendously popular. This midterm season completely bucked the norm. The contest for the Senate has been won by the Democrats, as they have secured 50 Senate seats, giving them a majority when counting the Vice-President’s tie-breaking vote. The House of Representatives is a complete toss-up; no matter who wins, the majority will be tiny—very few political pundits expected to see such a result. The consensus among talking heads was that people had forgotten the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and momentum was moving toward the Republicans.

In the Bluegrass State, the results were mixed. The rejection of both constitutional Amendments 1 and 2 is seen by many as a victory for progressive and leftist forces in Kentucky. Other than winning on constitutional issues, Kentucky voters overwhelmingly supported GOP candidates. Progressive Charles Booker resoundingly lost to GOP senator Rand Paul. Booker found support in 3 counties: Jefferson, Franklin, and Fayette (these correspond to Louisville, Lexington, and the state capitol Frankfort). All of the other 120 counties choose Paul over Booker. Before the election, the GOP controlled the State House of Representatives with a 75-25 majority. Following the election, the GOP gained a net of 5 seats, so they control the house with an 80-20 majority. Democrat Patti Minter was a progressive running in Bowling Green. She was the incumbent but lost. With that loss, there are no longer any Democrats representing any district in the western part of the state and in the central time zone geography of the state. Eastern KY has been a long-standing blue wall in the US because of New Deal democrats. This made the region one of the US’s most reliably democratic voting blocs. That has been shifting for several years. It has finally and fully collapsed. Rep. Angie Hatton from Letcher Co (the southeastern coalfields) lost her election to a GOP candidate. She was one of the few remaining Eastern KY Democrats. Now, Rep. Ashley Lafferty is the sole eastern KY Democrat remaining.

In Berea itself, Rebecca Blankenship was elected to Berea Community School Board, making her the first openly transgender public official in Kentucky. In the Berea City Council, incumbent council member John Payne lost his seat to David Rowlette, who had served on the council from 2018 to 2020. This shifts the Berea City Council further to the right of the political spectrum. Due to the reshaping of state legislatures, Berea is now split between three different seats, making it difficult for any representative to give full attention to the town.

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