Changes at the KY Democratic Party (Update 2x)

Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples

As we head into the fall of 2021, people are already looking ahead to the 2022 midterms and the 2023 state officers election, including the governor's race. But as Kentucky Democrats start gearing up for those races, they will be doing so without two familiar names at KDP headquarters.

Mary Nishimuta

Mary Nishimuta, the KDP Executive Director, has given her two weeks notice, and is returning to her former career (as noted in her statement below). She was hired in 2017, after having been a national team leader for Bernie Sanders' campaign in 2016.

Here is her statement, as posted on Facebook:

Dear friends,

When I left the private sector to serve the Kentucky Democratic Party in 2017, it was with a passion to apply my organizational skills to rebuild the party and create a permanent campaign infrastructure here in Kentucky.

In the last 4+ years, we’ve brought on a team of professionals who have dedicated their careers to that mission as well. Our data and digital infrastructure, coordinated campaigns, opposition research and communications, fundraising, voter protection, campaign trainings, and internal operations have been professionalized and improved year over year.

I am transitioning back into my prior career (supply chain consulting) but am leaving the party in great hands. We have a fantastic team, a strong foundation, and great momentum as we enter the 2022 and 2023 cycles.

I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the Kentucky Democratic Party and working with our elected officials and their teams, candidates, county party leaders, and volunteers from across the Commonwealth. While there have been many, many people who have been fantastic friends on this journey, I want to send a special thank you to our team at the party whom I’ve worked with in the trenches: Colmon, McKenzie, Ben, Cassie, Marisa, Trey, Kenny F, Kenny C, Sharon, Charlotte, Lucas, Brett, Joshua, Delores, Bailey, Lindy, John, Rick, Clinton, and Brenda; and a thank you to my extended ASDED/ASDC family Will, Brad, Lauren, Maureen, Ken, and all of the amazing ED’s in other states who have been fantastic collaborators.

There have been countless others who are instrumental in building the foundation of our party. Thank you for your work, for encouraging and challenging me, and for your continued support. This isn’t a goodbye. I won’t be far!


Kenny Colston

Kenny Colston, the digital director for the state party, has left his role at KDP to join a national political organization. He joined KDP in 2018, after working as a social media specialist in the private sector. He was previously the communications director for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy


Colmon Eldridge, the chair of KDP, issued this statement:

I am very grateful to both Mary and Kenny for sharing their immense talents with the Kentucky Democratic Party! Because of their hard work and dedication, we are a much better party and for that we should all be forever grateful. While both are moving on in their careers, they will always have a home at KDP and will continue to be allies in our fight to elect Democrats up-and-down the ballot, including re-electing Governor Beshear.


(Update) The new Executive Director: Two different sources have told us that Sebastian Kitchen, currently working in Governor Beshear's office, will be the new KDP ED. We have reached out to Kitchen for comment, but have not heard back.

(Update 10/2): Kitchen is the new executive story. See the press release here.


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Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)