Former Congressman Larry Hopkins Passes at 88

Former Kentucky U.S. Rep. Larry Hopkins passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88.

Hopkins stunned Kentucky politics in 1978 winning the 6th Congressional District, a feat not performed by a Republican in the previous half-century with the district under Democratic control. Hopkins held the district for 14 years, until 1993. He served as a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Front Page of Nov. 4, 1978 Courier Journal.

“I had the opportunity to serve alongside Larry in Congress for nearly a decade, standing by his side as he tackled the most pressing issues facing our state and the nation,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said. “As a former marine, he used his expertise on the House Armed Services Committee to reform and modernize our military. As a representative of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region, he worked on numerous bills to improve the lives of our farmers. Above all, Larry cared deeply about the Commonwealth.”

Hopkins served in the United State Marine Corps during the Korean War. Hopkins ran for Govenor of Kentucky in 1991 against then Lt. Gov. Brereton Jones, a Democrat. Jones won with 64 percent of the vote. Hopkins was outspent and Jones enjoyed a 2-to-1 Democratic voter advantage.

Hopkins focused on Jones’s personal finance in the 1991 election, runnings ads produced by One Hopkins television commercial, produced by Roger Ailes, which pictured Jones with a “For Sale” sign hanging around his neck, according to a 1991 Washington Post article. Internal polling showed Hopkins came to a single digital disadvantage to Jones, but a Congressional check-bouncing scandal reverberated into the Commonwealth, likely ending his chances to pull another shocker. He did not seek re-election to his Congressional seat in 1992.

Current 6th Dist. U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, called Hopkins a legend in Kentucky politics.

“Serving for over a decade in the seat I now hold, Larry rose to being the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee,” Barr said. “He was beloved by both sides of the aisle, and his humor was famous with constituents and colleagues. On a personal note, Larry was a great friend and mentor to me during and before my time in Congress.

“I will miss him, and I join all Kentuckians in praying for his family, friends, and the community that he loved so much.”