Wow. This is fantastic news tonight!!! I am jumping for JOY!!!!!
Republican Matt Bevin has won the Kentucky governor’s race, according to The Associated Press, defeating Democrat Jack Conway.
Bevin, a self-funding businessman who unsuccessfully challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a primary last year, overcame a funding disadvantage and Kentucky’s Democratic lean in state races to become only the second Republican to win a gubernatorial election since the early 1970s.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Matt Bevin, a Republican political novice, wealthy Louisville businessman and Tea Party favorite, was elected Kentucky’s next governor on Tuesday, a victory that could herald a new era in a state where Democrats have held the governor’s mansion for all but four of the last 44 years. The Associated Press declared Mr. Bevin the winner shortly after 8 p.m.
In beating his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway, Mr. Bevin surprised many in his own party, who believed that the climate in Kentucky was ripe for a Republican but feared that Mr. Bevin, a charismatic conservative with a go-it-alone style, was too far out of the mainstream and too inexperienced to win.
Mr. Bevin, 48, has spent recent weeks traveling Kentucky in a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban with more than 200,000 miles on it; on Tuesday, Election Day, he turned up at two Chick-fil-A restaurants here in Louisville, shaking hands in a last-minute bid for votes.
Health care has been an especially contentious issue in the campaign, in large part because Gov. Steve Beshear, the Democratic incumbent, expanded Medicaid under President Obama’s health care law. And estimated 420,000 Kentuckians, nearly 10 percent of the state’s population, now have coverage as a result. Mr. Conway is a strong supporter of the expansion. Mr. Bevin, a fierce opponent of the health care law, at first said he would reverse it, but has since softened his position and said he would stop enrolling new people but would not take coverage from people who had it.
Kentucky might look at first glance like a red state, but the political picture here is nuanced. Republicans thought they had an edge this year because President Obama is hugely unpopular here. But registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, and Democrats like Mr. Conway have managed to win in years past by casting themselves as “Kentucky Democrats,” to distinguish themselves from their more liberal East and West coast counterparts.
“It’s confounding,” Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist and former top adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said before the election. “Republicans have won both Senate seats. We have five of six congressmen, we control the state Senate and unless something catastrophic happens, we will control it forever. But we’ve only been able to elect two Republican governors since 1967.”
Kentucky’s shifting political winds were evident on Tuesday at the Shelby County fairgrounds, where voters in Shelbyville, a small city east of Louisville that bills itself as “The American Saddlebred Capitol of the World,” were casting their ballots.
Michelle Zimmerman, a 43-year-old nurse, said she voted Democratic in the last two governor’s races, but had voted for Mr. Bevin this time; she found his views more in keeping with her values. “I’m pretty conservative,” she said. One factor in her decision: She and her husband can no longer afford their health insurance because the premiums have gone up since President Obama’s health care law went into effect. Mr. Bevin is a staunch opponent of the law.
The hard-charging Mr. Bevin, who calls himself a “self-made man,” and disdains what he refers to as “the welfare state,” burst onto the political scene last year when he waged an unsuccessful primary challenge to Senator McConnell. Then, in May, he squeaked past thee other Republicans — including the state’s agriculture commissioner — to win the primary for governor by just 83 votes.
Mr. Bevin held strong appeal to both fiscal and Christian conservatives; when Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was jailed, Mr. Bevin made a show of visiting her.
“This is the chance for a fresh start, it truly is, and we really need it,” Bevin told a packed crowd at The Galt House in Louisville. “I believe this offers us an opportunity to change the tenor of what has become expected in the world of politics.”
Amen! Congratulations Governor-elect Bevin! I can’t wait for more of these “fresh starts” to happen across our country including in the White House! It’s a great start to a great NEW beginning!
Singing #BoldAndCourageous with Krista Branch!!! God Bless America!
Written by Nancy Hayes
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