A BRIEF HISTORY OF GRANT COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Debby Lucas Angel, last updated Sept 2020
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By accounts, the Grant County Democratic Party was formed in 1915.
Founded at a time when Grant County was overwhelmingly Democratic; Mark Carter, with the Grant County Deposit Bank, founded the Party and ruled over the county until 1935. That year, R.L. Vincent took over the position.
1990 – 2000
During the 1990’s, the national Libertarians began their push within the Republican Party. In Kentucky, this was lead by Mitch McConnell. It has been reported he even tried to recruit Darrell Link into the GOP. Backed by McConnell, Damon Thayer won as senator and the Republican Party began their takeover. Many of the Democratic Party saw the writing on the walls and started considering moving away from our Party.
2000 – 2010
All went relatively smoothly with the Dems ruling the county up until 2010. During that time, there were ebbs and flows of political power within the Party. For instance, during the 1960’s and early 1970’s there were two major factions in the dominant Democratic Party of Grant County:
- Those for Happy Chandler. Albert Benjamin “Happy” Chandler Sr. (July 14, 1898 – June 15, 1991) was an American politician from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He represented the Commonwealth in the U.S. Senate and served as its 44th (1935 – 1939) and 49th (1955 to 1959) governor. He resigned in October to be appointed to an unexpired seat in the U.S. Senate. Aside from his political positions, he also served as the second Commissioner of Baseball from 1945 to 1951 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. His grandson, Ben Chandler, later served as congressman for Kentucky’s Sixth District.)
- Those for Bert T. Combs. Bertram Thomas Combs (August 13, 1911 – December 4, 1991) was an American jurist and politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. After serving on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, he was elected the 50th Governor of Kentucky in 1959 on his second run for the office. Following his gubernatorial term, he was appointed to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Lyndon B. Johnson, serving from 1967 to 1970.
Around 2010, the drain of Democrats moving to the Republican Party and the TEA Party began in earnest. A second surge away happened in 2014 and then a third again in 2017.
The history of this period is interspersed with near schisms occurring within the Party—almost to the extent of the 2016 to 2020 “us and them” of the GOP and Democrats. Yet the Party managed to maintain its singularity and survived.
In 2017, the Grant County Democratic Party began a new era which continues on today.
Over the history of the Party, quadrennial re-organizations have taken place, coinciding with the presidential elections. However, the 2020 election year was different in more than just a chaotic election cycle. The COVID-19 novel coronavirus struck the country with a vengeance causing social distancing and masking up to battle the contagion. Many things were delayed and cancelled. As with other entities, the Kentucky Democratic Party made the decision to delay the formal reorganization until at least 2021. In the meantime, they allowed for county party executive committee members to step down and new members to be put in place. Grant County used the allowance to change our committee in 2020.
Below is a partial list of the lineage of the Democratic chairs.
Mark Carter (1915 to 1935)
R.L. Vincent (1935 – )
H.A. Arnold ( )
Julian Wills ( ) (resigned due to Clinton getting into office)
Royse Adams ( ) (finished Wills’ term)
Darrell Link ( )
Bill Adkins ( – 2017)
Jenn Williams (2017 – 2020)
Debby Lucas Angel (2020 – )