The Kentucky Democratic Party Executive Committee has elected Colmon Elridge as the party’s new chairman.
Elridge served as special advisor to former Governor Steve Beshear from 2007 to 2015, most recently as director of government relations for the Kentucky Education Association, a statewide organization for teachers’ representation.
Elridge will be the first black to chair the Kentucky Democratic Party.
In a statement, Elridge wrote that it was an honor for him to lead his party into the future.
“As a black man, the first in his immediate family to be born with the right to vote, it is an honor to make history today,” Elridge wrote.
“I believe the Kentucky Democratic Party has a bright future ahead of it and I can’t wait to apply things I’ve learned from my experience to help Democratic candidates win in 2022 and beyond.”
Elridge was nominated for the position by Governor Andy Beshear. He replaces Ben Self, the co-founder of West 6th Brewing Company, who started as chairman in 2017. Self announced in September that he would be leaving the position at the end of the year.
Elridge will take over the party after historic losses to Democrats across Kentucky.
Democrats now have 25 seats in the House of Representatives with 100 members and 8 seats in the Senate with 38 members, a low water mark for the party.
And while Democrats control the governorship in Kentucky, all other national offices have been occupied by Republicans since last year.
Governor Andy Beshear said Elridge had the “experience, leadership and ethics” to lead the party in the future.
“I’ve known Colmon for a long time and I can’t think of a better person to help build the Democratic Party here in Kentucky,” Beshear wrote in a statement.
“As chairman, Colmon will work every day to elect Democrats who will advocate public education, access to quality and affordable health care and well-paid jobs.”
Elridge is from Cynthiana and studied at Transylvania University and Sullivan University. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of the Cumberlands.
He represented Kentucky during the video appeal at the Democratic National Convention that summer.