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The Aftermath

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Friend of the Blog Joe Sonka has a good wrap of the Kentucky gubernatorial election:

Beshear’s overperformance compared to his last run took place in every region, including very rural counties, but the biggest shift in vote margin took place in Kentucky’s largest counties, Jefferson and Fayette.

In 2019, Beshear won the two counties in a blowout with roughly two-thirds of the vote, running up massive vote margins of 98,821 in Jefferson County and 36,482 in Fayette County.

This time, Beshear ran up the score even more, winning the urban centers of Louisville and Lexington – the home of 25% of Kentucky’s registered voters – with more than 70% of the vote. He won by 102,946 votes this time in Jefferson, while he improved his margin even more in Fayette, winning by 8,577 more votes than he did in 2019.

Another big shift this time around for Beshear occurred in Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties – three populous northern Kentucky counties south of Cincinnati that house nearly 10% of the state’s registered voters and are typically considered a Republican stronghold.

Beshear built on his surprise victories in Kenton and Campbell counties in 2019 by winning them again Tuesday by larger margins, while also significantly reducing his margin of defeat in Boone County.

The shift in the region is apparent when comparing Tuesday’s results with the past two governor elections. In 2015, Bevin beat Democrat Jack Conway by 16,543 votes and 22 percentage points in the three counties, and Bevin won the counties by 3,745 votes in 2019. This time, Beshear beat Cameron in the region by 555 votes.

Beshear also flipped a few counties in coal country but his primary strength came where you would most expect; Louisville, Lexington, and the Cincinnati suburbs. US politics is fundamentally urban vs. rural at this point, which is going to make winning in a state like Kentucky extremely difficult. This is also interesting:

In 2018 Andy Barr beat Amy McGrath by a handful of points, leading the state GOP to redraw the borders of the district in a more GOP friendly way. Still looks like an opportunity, though, keeping in mind that Beshear ran 15 points ahead of every other statewide Democrat. At the very least I feel that we could do better than Geoff Young…

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