The History Of Presidential Visits To Kentucky

Aug 14, 2019

In 1938, the Latonia Racetrack in Covington was filled with an estimated crowd of 50,000 as President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to town to make his case for the New Deal and to argue that it was working for Kentucky. He noted that he knew about Latonia and its famous track because he was a reader of the sports page. FDR carried Kentucky in all four of his successful bids for the presidency.

Kentucky, with its eight electoral votes, is not particularly competitive these days, as the state has drifted solidly into the Republican column in every election this century. But throughout the history of this country, presidents from James Monroe to Donald Trump have visited the Bluegrass State to campaign,  raise money, push their agenda, and check in with soldiers.

Author Wayne Onkst chronicled these trips in his new book, Presidential Visits to Kentucky: 1819-2017. Onkst is set to speak at the Campbell County Public Library in Newport to talk about the book on Thursday, August 22.

He joins Cincinnati Edition to talk about Kentucky’s role in presidential history.

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