Rep. Jim Gooch of Providence has changed his party registration to Republican, bringing the current number of GOP members in the 100-seat chamber to 48. However, that number will soon fall to 46 when two representatives who won statewide office in November begin their new duties.
"As I seek re-election in 2016, a presidential election year, I want to run as a member of a party that I can support that party’s nominee," Gooch said today in a statement. "I cannot support any of the Democrats running for President."
The 60-day 2016 legislative session begins Jan. 5. There will be special elections called to fill those and two other vacancies in the House at some point during the session.
Democrats have controlled the Kentucky House since 1921. The GOP maintains a strong 27-11 majority in the Senate. Kentucky is the only Southern state with split-party control of the legislature.
Earlier this month, Republican Matt Bevin took over as governor, ending eight years of Democratic executive leadership under Steve Beshear.