Democratic Challenger Andy Beshear Upsets Republican Matt Bevin in Kentucky Gubernatorial Race

Andy Beshear reacts to statewide election results at his watch party in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. November 5, 2019. (Harrison McClary/Reuters)

Republican Kentucky governor Matt Bevin narrowly lost the state’s gubernatorial race to Democratic challenger Andy Beshear on Tuesday evening by a margin of just over 5,000 votes.

The loss for Bevin, who was unpopular during his tenure, came after President Trump joined the incumbent at a campaign rally on Monday to support his reelection.

“Tonight, voters in Kentucky sent a message loud and clear for everyone to hear,” Beshear told supporters. “It’s a message that says our elections don’t have to be about right versus left, they are still about right versus wrong.”

Beshear is currently the attorney general of Kentucky and son of former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, who served from 2007-2015. Bevin has so far refused to concede, telling supporters that “there have been more than a few irregularities” with the election.

President Trump had campaigned strongly for Bevin’s reelection, giving a speech at the rally on Monday that lasted over an hour. Vice President Mike Pence also travelled to Kentucky to aid the reelection effort.

At the rally for the governor, Trump told supporters it would not look good for him if Bevin lost. “You’re sending that big message to the rest of the country, it’s so important, you got to get your friends, you got to vote. Because if you lose it sends a really bad message. And they will build it up,” he said. “You can’t let that happen to me.”

Bevin had supported controversial changes to the state’s Medicaid programs, which include work requirements for Medicaid recipients. The changes were expected to cost $272 million over the 2019-2020 fiscal years.

Despite Bevin’s loss, Republicans won every other statewide race in Kentucky. Daniel Cameron, a  former aide to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), became the first African American to win the attorney general’s race and the first Republican to take the position in 70 years.

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