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GOP advisor reveals cynical gamble that fueled Kentucky’s Tea Party governor’s win

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Many political observers were shocked that Republican Matt Bevin won the race for Kentucky governor despite vowing to roll back the Medicaid expansion that benefited up to 400,000 residents.

But one defeated Democratic candidate said he saw the cynical seeds of Bevin’s surprising victory during a recent meeting with Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, where someone asked a longtime advisor to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about Bevin’s promise, reported Insider Louisville.

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“I remember being in the room when (the McConnell advisor, Scott) Jennings was asked whether or not Republicans were afraid of the electoral consequences of displacing 400-500,000 people who have insurance,” said Adam Edelen, who lost his re-election campaign for state auditor.

“He simply said, ‘People on Medicaid don’t vote,’” Edelen continued. “Well, ultimately he was right, and that turned out to be the case.”

He said, in hindsight, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway didn’t attack Bevin’s policies enough but instead focused on the Republican’s tax issues.

“It seemed to me that they could punch that bruise, but also bring up just how radical their policy agenda is — with everything from vouchers to right to work,” Edelen said. “They have a policy agenda that really, in my view, threatens the social construct that has served the state pretty well for a long time. So there was the opportunity to run on those issues.”

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He said Republicans benefitted by rural white voters’ antipathy toward President Barack Obama — which he said had depleted the Democratic Party’s bench in Kentucky and other states.

“What I would say to those who are in leadership of the Democratic Party is that we’ve got to move to a post-Obama approach,” Edelen said. “Love him or hate him, he has all but wiped out the bench in middle America and the South of the Democratic Party. That’s just a fact.”

Edelen, who had hoped to challenge Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), is among those candidates’ whose futures were clouded by losses.

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“I think you could make a strong case that Rand has badly neglected the needs of Kentuckians to serve his own political ambitions,” Edelen said. “I think that’s a compelling case to be made. But it’s not just about candidates, it’s about ideas and vision, and I think that’s where the (Democratic) Party needs to get right now. Because just criticizing the opposition without offering something to follow is not going to work, especially for Democrats.”

However, he said a lot can change in politics.

“I thought Rand Paul was a gadfly six years ago, a weird guy in mock turtlenecks with a famous (father) who happened to be a fringe celebrity, and then the next thing you know he’s in the U.S. Senate,” Edelen said. “So I think I would encourage someone looking at any race to just get at it and make your mark, and the public itself will determine how credible they’ll be. I don’t think Rand Paul’s going to beat anybody 60-to-40 next year — I don’t see that happening.”

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Watch Bevin’s appearance on Fox News after he won election:

Matt Bevin on Fox News

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"We also gave people something to believe in. And at the end of the day, hope is a powerful, powerful thing. And I think this message resonated with the voters of Kentucky, and I think it's the very same message that will resonate with folks in 2016."View my entire interview on Fox News where I discussed the Governor's election below!

Posted by Matt Bevin on Friday, November 6, 2015

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Wall Street Journal drops a truth-bomb on Trump over his market-destroying trade war: ‘Everyone loses’

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In yet another blast from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors looked back at Friday's stock market free fall and pointed the finger directly at President Donald Trump and his "trade-war general" Peter Navarro for being the main culprits.

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This article first appeared in Salon.

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