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2019 Kentucky gubernatorial election

The 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial election took place on November 5, 2019, to elect the governor and lieutenant governor of Kentucky.[1] The Democratic nominee, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, defeated Republican incumbent Matt Bevin by a margin of just over 5,000 votes, or less than 0.5%.[2] Bevin conceded on November 14,[3] after a recanvass took place that day[4][3][5] that did not change the vote count.[3] Libertarian John Hicks also qualified for the ballot and received 2% of the vote. Statewide turnout was just over 42%,[6] much higher than for the 2015 gubernatorial election. The result was a major swing from 2016, when Donald Trump won the state by 30 points and Republicans gained a supermajority in both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly.

2019 Kentucky gubernatorial election

← 2015 November 5, 2019 2023 →
Turnout42% Increase
  Andy Beshear at Teacher's Rally 13 April 2018 (1).png Matt Bevin (cropped).jpg
Nominee Andy Beshear Matt Bevin
Party Democratic Republican
Running mate Jacqueline Coleman Ralph Alvarado
Popular vote 709,846 704,760
Percentage 49.20% 48.83%

Kentucky Governor Election 2019.svg
County results
Beshear:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%
Bevin:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

Governor before election

Matt Bevin
Republican

Elected Governor

Andy Beshear
Democratic

BackgroundEdit

Major-party primary elections occurred on May 21, 2019.[7] Incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin was renominated by the Republican Party, and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear won the Democratic nomination.[8]

Bevin announced on January 25, 2019, that he would run for a second term, choosing State Senator Ralph Alvarado as his running mate over incumbent Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton.[9] No Republican governor of Kentucky has ever been elected to more than one term, even after the state's constitutional prohibition of governors serving consecutive terms was repealed in 1992. The only Republican before Bevin to run for reelection, Ernie Fletcher, was defeated by Democrat Steve Beshear in 2007. Bevin is only the second Republican governor of Kentucky in the last 50 years. Andy Beshear is the first governor of Kentucky to have had a direct relative be elected governor earlier.

Beshear had the support of 2020 Senate candidate Amy McGrath, his father and former governor Steve Beshear, former Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, former governor Paul Patton, and representative Rocky Adkins, all well-known Democrats in the state. Bevin had the support of President Donald Trump, who remains relatively popular in the state, particularly in rural areas. Trump and US Senator Rand Paul held a rally in support of Bevin and Republican Attorney General nominee Daniel Cameron the day before the election. Many considered the decisive factor in this election whether voters would vote based on local issues, as Bevin and his policies were deeply unpopular,[10] or as a referendum on Trump, with whom Bevin closely aligned. The former would be more favorable for Democrats, the latter for Republicans.

Beshear won thanks to overwhelming support in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky's two main population hubs, and their suburbs, as well as major swings in the Cincinnati suburbs and lackluster performance by Bevin in Republican strongholds, particularly the coal country of Eastern Kentucky, where Beshear won multiple counties that overwhelmingly voted Republican in 2016.[11] Voter turnout was high across the state compared to past Kentucky elections, with a statewide turnout of about 42%. Fayette County (Lexington) saw a 20% increase in voter turnout, and Beshear received over twice as many votes in the county than the 2015 Democratic nominee for governor, Jack Conway. Unusually high turnout was seen as a major factor in Beshear's win.[6]

Beshear's win coincided with Democratic momentum nationwide in elections in 2017, 2018, and 2019, following the election of Donald Trump in 2016.[12] But Republicans won all other statewide offices in Kentucky, including Attorney General and Secretary of State, and kept their supermajority in both houses of the Kentucky Legislature.[13]

RecanvassingEdit

Beshear declared victory after the initial vote count,[14] selecting J. Michael Brown to lead his transition team.[15] Bevin refused to concede and requested a recanvassing of the vote, which took place on November 14.[5] A recanvassing is a reprint of the voting receipts from each voting machine, and is done to make sure county officials recorded vote totals correctly. It is not a recount, which the Kentucky State Constitution does not permit for gubernatorial races. The recanvass resulted in only one change, an additional vote for Independent candidate Blackii Effing Whyte.[3]

Republican primaryEdit

CandidatesEdit

NominatedEdit

Eliminated in primaryEdit

DeclinedEdit

EndorsementsEdit

Matt Bevin

U.S. Executive Branch officials

Individuals

PollingEdit

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Matt
Bevin
Robert
Goforth
Ike
Lawrence
William
Woods
Undecided
Cygnal May 10–12, 2019 600 ± 4.0% 56% 18% 2% 1% 23%

ResultsEdit

 
County results
Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Matt Bevin (incumbent) 136,060 52.4%
Republican Robert Goforth 101,343 39.0%
Republican William Woods 14,004 5.4%
Republican Ike Lawrence 8,447 3.3%
Total votes 259,854 100.0%

Democratic primaryEdit

CandidatesEdit

NominatedEdit

Eliminated in primaryEdit

DeclinedEdit

EndorsementsEdit

Rocky Adkins

Statewide officials

Andy Beshear

Statewide officials

Adam Edelen

Members of the Kentucky legislature

Current and Former Elected Officials

Media

Groups

PollingEdit

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Rocky
Adkins
Andy
Beshear
Adam
Edelen
Undecided
Garin-Hart-Yang Research (D)[A] April 15–18, 2019 601 ± 4.0% 17% 44% 16% 23%
ALG Research (D)[B] April 11–15, 2019 500 22% 43% 23%
Garin-Hart-Yang Research (D)[A] February 4–7, 2019 603 ± 4.0% 17% 55% 7% 21%

ResultsEdit

 
County results
Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Andy Beshear 149,438 37.9%
Democratic Rocky Adkins 125,970 31.9%
Democratic Adam Edelen 110,159 27.9%
Democratic Geoff Young 8,923 2.3%
Total votes 394,490 100.0%

Other candidatesEdit

Libertarian ConventionEdit

The Libertarian Party of Kentucky is currently recognized as a "political organization" under state law, a status that grants the party ballot access, but denies it a state-operated primary. Libertarian candidates were nominated at the party's nominating convention, held in March 2019.[49][50]

Nominated

  • John Hicks, IT consultant[51][49]
    • Running mate: Ann Cormican, factory worker[51][49]

Write-inEdit

Declared

General electionEdit

Losing by a margin of less than 0.4 percentage points, Bevin did not concede and requested a recanvass, or review of counted votes,[54] which was held on November 14.[55][56] According to the Kentucky state constitution, the swearing in of a Kentucky governor must be held on the fifth Tuesday following the election (December 10).[57][58] While a recount law does exist in Kentucky, it does not permit recounts for gubernatorial elections.[59] Should a candidate contest the election results, the state legislature would determine the winner after hearing a report from a randomly selected 11-member committee from the House (8) and Senate (3).[59] This process, which is enforced through the Goebel Election Law, has only been used once, during the 1899 Kentucky gubernatorial election.[60][61] Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and some other Republican members of the Kentucky state legislature expressed skepticism of Bevin's voter fraud claims and on November 7 urged Bevin to concede if the recanvass did not go in his favor.[62][63] On November 11, U.S. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, a prominent Republican who represents Kentucky, announced that "all indications are" Beshear would be the next governor.[64] The recanvass did not result in any changes in the vote totals for either Beshear or Bevin, just one more vote for Blackii Effing Whyte.[3]

On November 14, Bevin conceded.[65]

PredictionsEdit

Source Ranking As of
The Cook Political Report[66] Tossup October 15, 2019
Inside Elections[67] Tossup November 8, 2019
Sabato's Crystal Ball[68] Lean R November 8, 2019

DebatesEdit

Dates Location Bevin Beshear Hicks Link
July 17, 2019 Louisville Participant Participant Not Invited Full debate - Kentucky Farm Bureau
October 3, 2019 Paducah Participant Participant Not Invited Full debate - Courier Journal
October 15, 2019 Lexington Participant Participant Not Invited Full debate - Courier Journal
October 26, 2019 Louisville Participant Participant Not Invited Full debate - WLKY
October 29, 2019 Highland Heights Participant Participant Not Invited Full debate - WLWT

EndorsementsEdit

Matt Bevin (R)

Federal politicians

Statewide officials

Individuals

Organizations

Newspapers

Andy Beshear (D)

Statewide officials

Local officials

Labor unions

Newspapers

Organizations

Individuals

PollingEdit

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Matt
Bevin (R)
Andy
Beshear (D)
John
Hicks (L)
Undecided
The Trafalgar Group (R) October 29 – November 2, 2019 1,117 ± 3.0% 52% 47% 1% 0%
Targoz Market Research October 13–20, 2019 401 ± 4.2% 36% 55% 4% 6%
Mason-Dixon October 10–13, 2019 625 ± 4.0% 46% 46% 1% 7%
Garin-Hart-Yang Research (D)[A] August 19–22, 2019 501 ± 4.4% 39% 48% 6% 7%
Clarity Campaign Labs (D)[C] August 12–13, 2019 792 ± 3.3% 39% 48% 5% 4%
Gravis Marketing June 11–12, 2019 741 ± 3.6% 48% 42% 10%
Mason-Dixon December 12–15, 2018 625 ± 4.0% 40% 48% 12%
Hypothetical polling
with Rocky Adkins
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Matt
Bevin (R)
Rocky
Adkins (D)
Undecided
Mason-Dixon December 12–15, 2018 625 ± 4.0% 41% 42% 17%
with Alison Lundergan Grimes
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Matt
Bevin (R)
Alison Lundergan
Grimes (D)
Undecided
Mason-Dixon December 12–15, 2018 625 ± 4.0% 47% 46% 7%
with generic Democrat
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Matt
Bevin (R)
Generic
Democrat
Undecided
Public Policy Polling (D)[D] May 6–7, 2019 676 ± 3.8% 39% 49% 11%

ResultsEdit

Kentucky gubernatorial election, 2019[112]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Andy Beshear 709,577 49.20% +5.38%
Republican Matt Bevin (incumbent) 704,388 48.83% -3.72%
Libertarian John Hicks 28,425 1.97% N/A
Total votes 1,442,390 100.0% N/A
Democratic gain from Republican

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

Partisan clients
  1. ^ a b c Poll sponsored by the Andy Beshear campaign
  2. ^ Poll sponsored by the Adam Edelen campaign
  3. ^ Poll sponsored by Democratic Attorney General Association
  4. ^ Poll sponsored by End Citizens United

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit