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Kentucky Republican Party chair to step down after 8 years of growth

Mac Brown speaks at former Gov. Matt Bevin's inauguration in 2015. Just before he was elected to be the chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, Bevin tapped Brown to lead his 21-person transition team.
KET Screenshot
Mac Brown speaks at former Gov. Matt Bevin's inauguration in 2015, just after he was elected to be the chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky. Bevin also tapped Brown to lead his 21-person transition team.

Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Mac Brown announced in an email to state party officials he would resign from the post.

Brown said in an email to the Republican State Central Committee that after eight years of serving in the role, it was time to “allow new and fresh leadership to take the party to the next level.”

Since Brown was elected to the post in November 2015, the Republican Party has seen huge growth in the state. Republicans overwhelmingly control both chambers of the state legislature, nearly all constitutional offices and all but one U.S. Congressional office.

“Over the past eight years we have made tremendous progress in transforming the Commonwealth into a state of opportunity, but there is still a great deal of work to be done,” Brown wrote.

Brown is a former vice president of the Brown-Forman Corporation.

Before 2016, Kentucky Democrats held a majority in the state House of Representatives and Republicans had slim control of the state Senate. Today, Republicans hold 80 of the 100 seats in the House and 31 out of 38 seats in the Senate.

Brown also led the party when the number of Republican registered voters surpassed Democrats for the first time.

Brown took the helm of the Kentucky Republican Party shortly after the election of GOP Gov. Matt Bevin. And while Republicans won all other statewide offices in 2019 and 2023, Gov. Andy Beshear helped Democrats recapture the governor’s mansion — a rare statewide success for the once dominant party.

As fractures deepen in the Republican Party over former president Donald Trump, election integrity and policy issues like Kentucky’s total ban on abortion, Brown called for unity as the party looks to select its next leader.

“The key to our future success is for the Republican Party to come together and not fight each other,” Brown wrote. “Help the next Chairman build the party.”

Sarah Van Wallaghen, the executive director of the Kentucky Republican Party, confirmed Brown’s resignation in a statement.

“Brown has been one of the most influential chairmen to ever lead the Republican Party of Kentucky,” Wallaghen wrote. “He is a true statesman, who has steered the ship of our organization for nearly a decade. We thank Mac for his service and wish him well as he embarks on this new chapter of his life.”

This story has been updated.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Lexington, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.

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