Kentucky Gubernatorial Primary: Contentious Race but Many Good Choices

May 20, 2015

It has attracted national media attention.  Politico calls it “a bitter campaign”.  The Washington Post calls it a “soap opera”.  Candidate Matt Bevin calls it a “food fight”:

But the personal issues in the campaign obscure the fact that any of the four Republicans running would make a great next Kentucky governor.

  • The local NPR affiliate observes that the four (especially the three front runners) are largely united on the issues: against imposing a toll on the Brent Spence Bridge to Cincinnati, for making Kentucky a right-to-work state, for rolling back Kentucky’s Obamacare exchange, and for rolling back Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid in the state.  (Even on this NPR affiliate, the panel observed that since Medicaid expansion, one in four Kentucky residents are now on the program—even on this NPR affiliate, the panel admits that that’s a problem!)

It doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter, but since it matters so much to the left, and since they’ve tried so hard to smear the Tea Party as racial or racist, I can’t resist pointing out that Matt Bevin’s running mate for lieutenant governor is a black woman (also a veteran).

Kentucky is a red state.  Kentuckians voted 57% for McCain in 2008 and more than 60% for Romney in 2012.  Both of their U. S. senators are Republicans, and one is the Senate majority leader, and the other is running for president as the libertarianish option.  Yet Kentucky elected a Democrat for governor last time.  In fact, they’ve had Democratic governors for 40 of the last 44 years.  In fact, state agriculture commissioner James Comer is currently the only Republican statewide elected office holder (out of seven statewide elected offices).  Kentucky can do better than this.

And they’ll have their chance to.  In the meantime, in the primary, it’s still anybody’s game.

According to the most recent poll of the race, taken earlier this month, the first three contenders are effectively tied: Matt Bevin with 27%, James Comer 26%, Hal Heiner 25% (Will T. Scott: 8%).  Real Clear Politics’ round-up of what few polls had been taken in past months also suggested a close race.

WCPO summarizes the candidates in brief.

Update (May 20th, 2015):  The results are in from yesterday’s vote.  Matt Bevin’s Web site has already been updated to accept the nomination.

Matt Bevin accepts the nomination

But it was indeed a close race!  Bevin beat runner up Comer by less than a hundred votes:


32.91%, 70,479

James R. COMER / Chris McDANIEL

32.87%, 70,396


27.05%, 57,948

Will T. SCOTT / Rodney COFFEY

7.17%, 15,364

(Total) 214,187

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