Photo credit: UK College of Agriculture via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ky. Democrats Choose Leftist Andy Beshear for Governor — But Can He Win?


On Tuesday, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear won the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, establishing him as the top challenger to incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin in the upcoming November 5th general election. The 41-year-old son of former Governor Steve Beshear won a competitive race against Kentucky’s House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins and former Auditor Adam Edelen, narrowly beating the former by just five percentage points. It is important to note that while Mr. Adkins, a relatively pro-life and conservative Democrat, won coal country and many of Kentucky’s rural districts, Beshear won the populous cities which are home to most Democratic voters in the state. This suggests potential trouble for Beshear, whose leftist record will likely alienate many Kentucky voters.

Beshear’s primary campaign relied greatly on support from the state’s public school teachers’ union, the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), and the pro-abortion NARAL. The KEA, which also recently orchestrated a highly deceitful campaign of attacks against Gov. Bevin, is no stranger to controversy in the state. Earlier this year, a member of the organization’s leadership was forced to resign after publicly comparing Covington Catholic High School students to the Nazi Party’s youth wing, and the group has also been criticized for keeping students out of school as a bargaining chip to demand higher wages and pension payments. NARAL also has a reputation for scurrilous behavior, having gained notoriety for supporting radical abortion laws in Virginia and blaming pro-life Americans for the criminal abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s gruesome murders.

Despite the fact that Beshear has run a campaign of mild temperament up to this point, his associations speak multitudes about how far-left he actually is. When examining his record, this becomes very apparent. As Attorney General, for example, he fought against Kentucky parents and Governor Bevin to put the brakes on school choice and pension reform. Thus, it’s unsurprising that the brusque blurb on his website makes no mention of school choice or any alternatives to the KEA-dominated public school system. In fact, he avoids promoting a single substantive policy proposal on education, opting instead to imply that, if elected, he will simply give the teacher’s union every cent it demands.  

However, education isn’t the only issue where Beshear is seriously out of touch with Kentuckians. The Attorney General is also deeply opposed to them on issues of life and death. Voting-age Kentuckians constitute one of the most pro-life state electorates in the country. According to Pew Research, 57 percent of Kentuckians believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, while only 36 percent believe that abortion is regularly acceptable. In contrast, Beshear’s support of abortion has been so radical, that as Attorney General he opposed even modest reforms to improve safety of clinics and hold abortionists accountable for unsafe practices. As recently as last month, he even filed an Amicus Curiae brief calling on a federal judge to strike down such a law.

Ultimately, it is clear that Kentuckians have a serious choice to make in November. They can opt to reelect an incumbent who shares their common values: supporting family rights in education and boldly standing up for life. Or they can vote for the radical KEA and NARAL path: electing a politician who has little shared with them in terms of moral values or policy preferences. Given what is known and what will likely become known, this should be an easy choice for Kentuckians of values.

Photo credit: UK College of Agriculture via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Leo Thuman

Leo Thuman is a columnist for, primarily focusing on religious liberty issues.

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