Democrats Flip Kentucky Governor; GOP Holds Mississippi

November 6, 2019

There was a split-decision in the two gubernatorial races contested on Tuesday.

Kentucky Governor 

Unpopular Republican Gov. Matt Bevin lost his bid for a 2nd term to his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Andy Beshear. Bevin has thus far refused to concede the closely-contested race, which was only decided by about 5,000 votes.

Bevin's loss came despite a last-minute visit by President Trump on Monday. It wasn't enough to save the governor, who had alienated many groups during his term. He recently polled as the most unpopular governor in the country.

Bevin was also up against a moderate Democrat with a well-known family name. Beshear's father Steve was a two-term governor of Kentucky who immediately preceded Bevin.

The GOP had a good night in down-ballot elections, sweeping other state-wide races. This serves to highlight the specific dynamics of the governor's race that led to a Democratic win in this deep red state.

Mississippi Governor

Term-limited Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who defeated Attorney General Jim Hood by about 6 points. It was the hardest-fought Mississippi gubernatorial race since 2003 which was also the year Hood was elected to his current office. 

Hood is the only Democrat to currently hold a statewide office in the state. There will be none in January as Republican Lynn Fitch won the race for attorney general over Democrat Jennifer Collins.

Louisiana Governor

Up next is the runoff for governor of Louisiana, to be held on Saturday, November 16.  Unlike Tuesday's races, the current incumbent of this deep red state is a Democrat, John Bel Edwards. The race is seen as a toss-up, with recent polling within the margin of error. President Trump will be in the state Wednesday to campaign for GOP challenger Eddie Rispone.

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