Kentucky voters attract national attention in race for Governor

(WAVE News)
Published: Nov. 6, 2023 at 4:12 PM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - From the outside looking in, the Kentucky Governor’s race is about much more than the candidates Andy Beshear and Daniel Cameron. It is about issues, influence and voter loyalty.

”If Andy Beshear is able to win re-election in such a pro-Trump state,” UK Political Science Professor Stephen Voss said, “it will call into question the idea that voters won’t cross party lines.”

”If Beshear wins,” UK Institute for Rural Journalism Director Al Cross said, “it shows that Democrats can still appeal to Republicans, people who not only are registered Republican but vote Republican.”

That would be a strong message outside state lines because there are almost 76,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats in Kentucky. Challenged by his party’s association with the unpopular President Biden, Governor Beshear probably can’t win without Republican votes.

Party loyalty has also become a test of former President Trump’s endorsement of Daniel Cameron. Trump’s endorsement failed to save the unpopular incumbent Matt Bevin in 2019.

”Trump’s been pretty good at defeating Republicans, who disagree with him,” Voss said. “But he hasn’t really been very effective at helping Republicans, who are aligned with him, win against Democrats.”

”If Cameron wins,” Cross said, “it really shows the power of Donald Trump to change races. Because Cameron was clearly behind, and there is a sense he’s now breathing down Beshear’s neck.”

Tuesday night the voting stops and the counting starts, but not the speculation. The race for Kentucky Governor has a history of predicting which party takes the White House.