The Corner

Democrats Looking Surprisingly Weak in Kentucky’s Race for Governor

This year, three states hold gubernatorial elections — Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. 

Louisiana operates under the odd “jungle primary” rule, where if no candidate gets 50 percent, the top two finishers go on to a runoff, regardless of party. Sen. David Vitter is leading the most recent polls, and Democrat State Rep. John Bel Edwards is in second place, currently comfortably ahead of two other Republicans, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle. No poll of any potential runoff combination has shown a Democratic victory so far this year

In Mississippi, incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Bryant looks like a safe bet for reelection, leading by 30 in an April poll. 

That leaves Kentucky, where Democrats have enjoyed success in the state offices while losing the senatorial and presidential races in this state lately. But a survey by the Democratic firm PPP last month suggests the GOP may have a better shot than usual this year. In fact, Republican nominee Matt Bevin — who you may remember from a 2014 primary challenge against Sen. Mitch McConnell — actually led by a narrow margin: 

PPP’s first general election poll of the race for Governor in Kentucky finds a very tight race. In a head-to-head election, 40 percent of voters choose Republican Matt Bevin over Democrat Jack Conway, who garners 38 percent. Bevin is viewed favorably 31/28, while Conway is viewed unfavorably 34/31- a plurality of the electorate has no opinion about each candidate.

This morning the Republican Governors Association unveiled a new ad, hitting Conway and attempting to tie him to President Obama:

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