The fact that Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear managed to pull off a victory against incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin doesn’t mean that Kentucky itself is going to be in play in 2020. National and state politics are different animals, and according to the Washington Post, many Republicans who voted to remove Bevin still say they support President Donald Trump.
But, that same article suggests, that doesn’t mean that election wasn’t a huge wake-up call for the Republican Party.
“The fast-growing counties of Boone, Campbell and Kenton have traditionally been solidly Republican, and Trump won a combined 62 percent of the vote in 2016 after he swept all three. In 2015, Bevin carried those three counties by a combined 16,500 votes after he won about 59 percent of the vote,” wrote Kevin Williams and Tim Craig for the Post. “On Tuesday, Beshear flipped Campbell and Kenton counties amid a surge in turnout that was replicated statewide in urban and suburban communities. As a result, Bevin’s overall margin in suburban Cincinnati cratered to just 3,745 votes.”
University of Kentucky political science professor Stephen Voss argued that while Bevin’s loss probably doesn’t mean the broader GOP is vulnerable in 2020, these trends in the suburbs should be a long-term worry for Republicans.
“The problems the GOP nationally faced in 2018 have carried over to 2019 in Kentucky,” said Voss. “This is yet another election where there was a rebellion against the GOP among educated, relatively affluent, center-right communities, and if that happens in 2020, not only are Republicans going to suffer a bloodbath nationwide, they will need to start worrying about a permanent realignment.”
“People will vote against a party a couple times, without realigning, but eventually, that becomes a habit,” he added.
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