(updated 9:50 p.m. – 11/7/23)
We are under no illusion that Kentucky is turning blue but tonight, it seems, Kentucky made the right choice and re-elected Andy Beshear to the office of governor. Beshear defeats Kentucky’s Attorney General, Republican Daniel Cameron.
It was the logical choice in a race that gave the Kentucky voters a clear choice between a candidate who had proven his ability to lead without falling into petty squabbles, and a candidate who jumped on Republican talking points about crime, religious choice, and COVID-19, using national words for a Kentucky-specific public. He tried fear and public anxiety to win votes — in addition to firmly securing his lips to Trump’s coattails in an effort to clout chase the felony-indicted former President’s baffling popularity in the state.
“Like Governor Beshear said, you don’t fire a coach when the team is winning, and his victory tonight is proof that a bipartisan majority of Kentucky voters agree,” said Kentucky House Democratic Caucus Leaders Derrick Graham, Cherlynn Stevenson, and Rachel Roberts in a statement. “His administration oversaw record economic growth, record-low unemployment, and record state revenues. That trifecta speaks volumes, as does his leadership during a worldwide pandemic and two of the biggest natural disasters Kentucky has ever seen. We want to congratulate him – and the other winning candidates – and look forward to working closely with them over the next four years. The campaign is over; now is the time to govern.”
The Democratic Governors Association led by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement,
“Gov. Beshear’s victory tonight also makes clear that voters across party lines want strong Democratic leaders who focus on a positive vision and lifting people up – instead of the division and anger we too often see from the other side.”
Abortion rights groups who invested heavily in the fight against the Kentucky (and other states) ban on abortion, released statements in support of Beshear’s win as the fight against the restrictive abortion laws continues.
“Abortion and birth control have won Andy Beshear a second term as Governor of Kentucky,” said Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for PPAA-KY in a statement. “The fundamental right to reproductive health and freedom are under attack like never before and Kentuckians want someone at the helm to fight for their futures. Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates congratulates Governor Beshear in defeating one of the most aggressive anti-abortion politicians to lead in the state of Kentucky.”
“Once again, Kentuckians have made it clear that they support abortion rights,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Action fund in a statement. “Through a clear rebuke of Daniel Cameron’s anti-abortion rhetoric, lies, and last-ditch effort to soften his well-documented stance against reproductive freedom, Kentuckians showed that they will not let politicians make decisions about their bodies, lives, and futures. This victory would not have been possible without the advocates and organizers that put abortion front and center in this election.”
Other supporters like the Fairness Campaign also released statements of support for Beshear.
“Kentucky just reelected its most pro-LGBTQ governor ever, Andy Beshear,” Fairness Campaign executive director Chris Hartman said in a statement. “Tonight is a resounding victory for LGBTQ Kentuckians, and especially transgender kids, who were forced to bear the brunt of attacks not just from the Kentucky General Assembly, but also by Daniel Cameron, who sought to score cheap political points with anti-trans attack ads and harmful rhetoric. It didn’t work. Let this be a lesson for all Kentucky politicians–you don’t gain anything by continuing to attack Kentucky’s trans kids. Leave trans kids alone and focus on the real problems facing our commonwealth, just like Governor Andy Beshear.”
Andy Beshear will serve his second term as Kentucky’s Governor following in the footsteps of his father Steve Beshear. Beshear joked in his acceptance speech that the race was a choice between “Jack Harlow and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.” Rapper Jack Harlow supported Beshear in his bid for re-election. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the governor of Arkansas and daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.