Today, Catholics are a prominent part of Kentucky politics. Current State Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, former U.S. Representative Anne Northup, and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning are just a few examples. But in 1960, for only the second time in U.S. history, a Catholic topped a major presidential ticket and Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy confronted the same issue that defeated fellow Democrat Al Smith in 1928: his religion. Some Kentuckians feared Kennedy's faith, believing he would follow the Vatican over the U.S.