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Democrat Andy Beshear Emerges As Apparent Winner In Narrow Ky. Governor Race

andy beshear
Bryan Woolston
Kentucky Attorney General and democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andy Beshear stands with his wife, Britainy as he delivers a speech at the Kentucky Democratic Party election night watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Louisville, Ky.

In an election where Republicans won every down-ticket race, Democrat Andy Beshear appears to have narrowly beaten incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin to win the Kentucky governorship, with 100% of precincts reporting. As of Tuesday night, Beshear held 49.2% of the vote compared to 48.9% for Bevin, who said, "we are not conceding this race by any stretch."

Tuesday night, Bevin called the race a "squeaker," citing unspecified "irregularities" in the election, according to Reuters.

Should Beshear emerge as the victor, it is bound to be seen as a blow to President Donald Trump, who is enormously popular in Kentucky and went way out of his way to try to hoist Bevin – who was called by one survey the most unpopular governor in America – on his back and drag him across the finish line.

Trump held a rally for Bevin in Lexington on Monday, and his image was in almost every campaign ad, standing with the Kentucky governor.

"If you win, they are going to make it like, ho hum," Trump said Sunday. "And if you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in this history of the world.

"You can't let that happen to me,'' Trump told the crowd.

Some political observers say the results show more of a frustration with Bevin than the Bluegrass State flipping from red to blue.

Bevin earned the ire of many Kentuckians with his plans to overhaul Medicaid and by starting feuds with public school teachers

Leading up to Election Day, Bevin's ads touted his stances on abortion, immigration and his opposition on impeachment.

Notably, in Northern Kentucky, Bevin lost Kenton and Campbell counties – two counties he won in 2015 – with 48.4% and 45% of votes, respectively. Bevin won Boone County with 56.2% of the vote.

Bevin and Beshear were neck-and-neck all night, with each candidate taking his turn as the frontrunner. Libertarian John Hicks earned 2% of the vote.

Beshear was elected attorney general of Kentucky in 2015 and is the son of Steve Beshear, who served as the state's governor from 2007 to 2015. He has campaigned on returning the state to its "Kentucky values."

Elsewhere, races were not as close, with Republicans dominating the ticket:

  • Daniel Cameron, a one-time counselor for Mitch McConnell, won the seat of Attorney General with 57.5% of the vote. He has become the first African American to win state office at the top of the ticket, according to NPR member station WFPL.
  • Mike Harmon won reelection as Auditor of Public Accounts with 55.4% of the vote.
  • Ryan Quarles won reelection as Commissioner of Agriculture with 57.9% of the vote.
  • Allison Ball won the seat of Treasurer with 60.4% of the vote.
  • Michael Adams is the new Secretary of State, winning 51.9% of the vote.

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.