In an extraordinarily close election, Democrats claimed they had won a narrow victory over the incumbent Republican in the Kentucky gubernatorial race Tuesday night.
With 100% of the precincts reporting, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear appeared to have edged Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, 49.2% to 48.9%. The state’s Democrats declared victory, though Mr. Bevin did not concede and major news organizations did not call the race as of deadline.
Democrats didn’t sweep the elections. There are no harbingers for 2020. In fact, the GOP did very well where it was expected to do so. The Democrats performed where they were expected to perform.
So, ignore the clickbait at the Drudge Report. Dismiss the spin from the mainstream media. Take a hard look at the results of Tuesday’s elections. That’s where the facts lie.
Let’s examine the three big battlegrounds from last night, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia.
Kentucky. At this writing, the marquee Kentucky governor’s contest is too close to call. Democrat challenger Andy Beshear leads Governor Matt Bevin by a razor-thin 5,100 votes out of 1.4 million cast. Beshear may hold on, but this wasn’t the referendum on Trump that Democrats longed for.
Until a couple of months ago, Bevin was considered a sure loser. He trailed in many polls by double digits. He had been viewed negatively by Kentucky voters. With Trump weighing in, Bevin surged back into a virtually dead heat with Beshear.
Democrats should actually be concerned about last night’s results in the gubernatorial contest. If it was a referendum on Trump, it means the nation is still narrowly divided. There’s no big anti-Trump wave out there.
Worse news for the Democrats (that you won’t see in the mainstream media) … Kentucky Republicans swept every other statewide office by large margins. That includes the attorney general’s office. Kentucky voters elected the first black in the state’s history as AG. Daniel Cameron won the office in a landslide over former AG Gregory Stumbo. Every other statewide victory for the GOP was also in landslide territory, expect secretary of state.
Then there’s the state legislature, which wasn’t up for election. The GOP retains supermajorities in both chambers.
By all measures, Kentucky was a Republican night. Other than the tight governor’s battle, Kentucky voters affirmed their loyalty to the GOP.
Mississippi. Republican Tate Reeves captured 52.2% in a solid win over Democrat Jim Hood. Republicans swept every other statewide office. They retained strong majorities in the Mississippi House and Senate.
Mississippi became red country years ago. Last night’s results simply underscore the point.
Virginia. Democrats took control of the state legislature. They now control the governorship, other statewide offices, and the legislature together for the first time since 1994.
What happened in Virginia last night was part of an ongoing trend there. The explosion of growth in the Northern Virginia suburbs have long favored Democrats. NOVA is part of the DC metro area, and is populated with federal government workers, federal contractors, and immigrant populations (many illegal). NOVA dominates politics in the Old Dominion.
NOVA’s growth has been coloring the Commonwealth blue. What happened in last night’s elections were unsurprising. If NOVA was declared independent, the rest of Virginia would be reliably red.
The takeaway from yesterday’s elections: There was no blue tide. Trump wasn’t repudiated in states where he must win next year. Democrats won where they were anticipated to win. The Kentucky’s gubernatorial contest is an outlier. And there’s still a chance it could go Matt Bevin’s way.
What do you think? Weigh in!