Kentucky voters reelected Governor Andy Beshear, the region’s lone Democrat.
Beshear will serve a second term after defeating his Republican challenger, Attorney General Daniel Cameron. According to ABC News, the incumbent secured 53% support (or just over 693,000 votes) to Cameron’s 47% (626,350 votes).
“In the parable the good Samaritan, it says we are all each other’s neighbors – no exceptions,” said Beshear during his victory speech on Nov. 8. “Our neighbors aren’t just Democrats. They’re not just Republicans. They’re not just independents. Every single person is a child of God and they are all our neighbors.”
Beshear said the state “is on a historic win streak” with “the two best years of economic development in the history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky” and praised several infrastructure initiatives already underway.
“We have record high budget surpluses and record low unemployment,” he said. “We’ve created almost 50,000 new jobs, $27.8 billion in new private sector investments. So tonight, I stand here excited and optimistic about what we’re going to do these next four years together.”
The reelected governor promised to secure raises for teachers and universal preschool during his next term in office as well as add new jobs to the state.
The 46-year-old previously served as the Kentucky Attorney General. Although he led in the polls in the weeks before Election Day this year, Beshear won his first term by less than half a percentage point, per NBC News.
“Beshear’s victory was likely boosted by his positive approval rating as Kentucky’s governor,” reports Fox News. “Even as a Democrat in a conservative state, Beshear has consistently been rated as one of the most popular governors in the country.”
Cameron had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and stressed his professional track record of challenging the Biden administration while on the campaign trail. Kentucky voters backed Trump over President Joe Biden by 26% in 2020. The attorney general hoped to leverage the Democratic president’s unpopularity to dissuade voters from reelecting Beshear.
“I know there’s a lot of folks here that want to make sure we get Joe Biden out of the White House. But before we do that, let’s remove Andy Beshear from the statehouse,” Cameron said during one campaign event, per Politico. The outlet also noted that Beshear made “no mention of national politics when speaking at events across the heavily Republican state.”
Beshear is part of a dwindling group of Democratic governors in the South.
Democrats in Louisiana failed to replace Governor John Bel Edwards with another member of their party in October. Edwards could not seek a third term due to term limits and will hand off his office to Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican.