Frankfort, Ky. – After wining the Republican primary by a mere 83 votes, candidate Matt Bevin went on to trounce his Democratic contender, Attorney General Jack Conway, in the general election last night to become the next Kentucky governor.
Bevin, who has never been elected to public office, will become only the second Republican to hold the governor’s office since Louie Nunn left office in 1971.
Although Bevin never led in any of the statewide political polls, in the end he tallied 511,771 votes, to Conway’s 426,964. More telling, Bevin won 106 of the state’s 120 counties. Conway held on to strongholds in Fayette and Jefferson counties, however the margins were not enough to offset losses in the rest of the state. Conway didn’t win any counties in the Northern Kentucky area.
Voter turnout was just over 30 percent, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Republicans took over other Kentucky constitutional offices as well. Ryan Quarles defeated Jean-Marie Lawson Spann by more than 20 points to become the next Commission of Agriculture. Allison Ball will become the state’s next treasure after beating Rick Nelson by more than 20 points. In a tight race for state auditor, Mike Harmon narrowly defeated incumbent Adam Edelen by more than 3 points.
Democrats were able to retain a few offices, albeit barely. Alison Lundergan Grimes defeated Republican challenger Stephen Knipper by less than 3 points. For attorney general, Andy Beshear – son of outgoing governor Steve Beshear – beat challenger Whitney Westerfield by slightly more than 2,000 votes.
Governor-elect Bevin will take office on Dec. 8, 2015. His running mate, Jenean Hampton, will be the first black candidate to win a statewide race in Kentucky.