by Thomas Valentine
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has conceded defeat in the state’s gubernatorial race to Democrat Andy Beshear. The concession comes over a week after the election, which was too close to call on election night.
Beshear led by just over 5,100 votes on election night, a margin of less than 0.4 percent. A re-canvass left that margin essentially unchanged, leading Bevin to forgo the possibility of a recount request.
Democrats are declaring Beshear’s victory a harbinger of things to come in 2020 after winning a statewide race in Trump country. But the circumstances in Kentucky are unique. Kentucky has long voted for Democrats in statewide races, even though it has been reliably red in presidential elections for decades. Bevin was just the second Republican governor of Kentucky in the last 50 years. Beshear is the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, Bevin’s predecessor and a popular politician who was elected to statewide office four times. Bevin also had the machine power of teachers’ unions against him after he sought to reform their public pension plan.
Republicans are taking heart that they swept the other five statewide races in Kentucky by wide margins. That includes a victory by Daniel Cameron, the state’s first black attorney general and the first Republican attorney general in over 70 years.
The final general election of 2019 is this Saturday and could be similarly close. Louisiana will hold a runoff election between incumbent Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican challenger Eddie Rispone. Edwards is a rare breed in two ways: he is a conservative pro-life Democrat, and he is a Democrat holding statewide office in the South. The Republican National Committee is pouring an additional $1 million into the race in the final days according to a Politico report. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are also campaigning in Louisiana in the final week.
The RealClearPolitics average of four polls taken in the last month show the race is virtually tied, with Edwards holding a 0.4 point edge.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore