Kentucky Governor concedes, another state flips Blue

Patrick Kane, The Carroll News

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It appears that the so-called “blue wave” that lifted the Democratic Party to a majority in the House of Representatives has continued into the 2019 election cycle. Both chambers of the Virginia State House flipped, solidifying it as a blue state, and Louisiana re-elected its Democratic governor. But the most prominent example of this blue wave came on November 14, when Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin conceded to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. Beshear’s election marks a significant victory for Democrats as they claim a powerful seat in a deeply Republican state.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Governor. Bevin finally conceded the race after consistently trailing Beshear by roughly 5,000 votes. This came after a recanvassing sponsored by Bevin, during which he spouted claims of voter fraud, for which no evidence was ever presented. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundgeran Grimes has since officiated the results, and Beshear, son of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, is scheduled to be inaugurated in January 2020.

The race became nationalized due to the involvement of President Donald Trump. Leading up to the election, Trump tweeted several times in favor of Bevin, and hosted a rally a few days prior to the election, in which Trump, Bevin, Vice President Mike Pence and Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul were in attendance. Trump proposed that a Bevin defeat would reflect badly upon him in the eyes of the media, even pleading with the audience, “You can’t let that happen to me!”

However, many credit the loss not to Trump, but to Bevin himself. During the campaign, Bevin tied himself to Trump, who is popular in the state, but Bevin couldn’t outrun his own record. Bevin consistently ranked as America’s most unpopular governor, according to Morning Consult. He gained infamy by clashing with the state’s public school teachers during a strike. Bevin also put forward an unpopular plan to institute work requirements for Medicaid, which was struck down in federal court. And to make matters worse, he fired his African-American lieutenant governor a year before the election.

When asked for comment on the election and what it could mean for Trump, Colin Swearingen, political science professor at John Carroll, who teaches the course on elections, simply said, “It came down to Bevin, who’s part of the Tea Party crowd who governs in more of a hard-line way … I wouldn’t put too much of this on Trump.”