While all eyes were on the presidential primaries, Governor Matt Bevin and the Kochs lost big last night in Kentucky. According to the Associated Press, voters helped the Democrats maintain a majority in the state House over Republicans, giving them control of 53 of the 100 seats:
The victory by Democrats assures they will have at least the 51 votes they need to pass a budget that will most likely roll back most of Bevin’s spending cuts. Bevin has proposed using the savings to begin to pay down the state’s multi-billion dollar pension debt.
There is no doubting that Governor Bevin is another Republican Koch puppet. Americans for Prosperity Kentucky launched a huge field effort in support of Bevin during the 2015 gubernatorial race. AFP also ran two ads attacking Bevin’s opponent, Jack Conway, and KochPAC gave his campaign $1,000.
Not only did the Koch political network push to get Bevin elected, they’ve heavily advocated for his proposed budget cuts. In January, AFP praised the governor’s budget on their website, calling the cuts “necessary”:
Frankfort has closed its eyes and covered its ears as it spends tax dollars without regard for the future, we commend Gov. Bevin’s leadership over the state’s finances.
However, Democrats and educators have argued that the proposed budget cuts would be damaging to Kentucky’s education system:
But college and university presidents said the cuts would force them to raise tuition and could cause the elimination of some academic programs, while K-12 advocates said the cuts would hurt public preschool options.
By protecting the Democratic majority in the Kentucky House, voters have rejected the Kochs’ careless agenda that would hobble their education system. The fight is only beginning, with many more state legislators facing re-election this November, but for now, Kentucky has something to celebrate.