It’s a major loss for Republicans in a state where they hold supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature, both US Senate seats, and five out of the state’s six House seats. Bevin pulled out all the stops to clinch a win; President Donald Trump rallied in Lexington, Kentucky, Monday night ahead of the election to turn out voters. But even that last-ditch effort wasn’t enough — a sign that Trump’s influence isn’t omnipotent.
At the end of the day, in the eyes of Kentuckians, Bevin remained an extremely unpopular governor. He threatened to cut Medicaid expansion in the state, which would have likely pushed about 400,000 people off their health insurance.
And his time in office was met with statewide protests by Kentucky teachers, after he pushed to cut pensions. Bevin called teachers “ignorant” and “selfish,” and said kids were likely exposed to sexual assault because teachers were protesting instead of staying in the classrooms.
Does this mean Mitch McConnell is going to lose his Senate seat? Not so fast.
The Beshear win is big for Democrats. But Democratic and Republican strategists alike warn against extrapolating much further. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be up for reelection in 2020, but that race is entirely separate from the governor’s race Democrats just won.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt to have party infrastructure going into a federal election cycle, but that race is going to be that race,” Matt Erwin, a Kentucky Democratic strategist, said.
When I heard that Bevins had lost, my first thought (well, after I cheered so loudly I scared the dog and then had a chuckle over Twitler being a loser) was what does this mean for Yertle McConnell. Does it mean that his wife Elaine Chao will have to funnel even more of that sweet Department of Transportation money to Kentucky? If she does, will the citizen of Kentucky think that they got the money because of Yertle, or will it backfire? They might think that the new governor is doing a bang-up job after just one year. Oh, my my, what is a grifter to do?