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Will deep-red Kentucky reelect popular Democratic governor next week?

Despite the state being historically Republican, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is well-liked and leading in recent polls.
Will deep-red Kentucky reelect popular Democratic governor next week?
Posted at 2:17 PM, Nov 01, 2023

Kentucky's Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is seeking reelection in his state's Republican climate.

Despite the state being red, Beshear is well-liked and leading in recent polls. At the same time, Republican candidate Daniel Cameron, the state's attorney general, is looking to leverage his party base to win the election on Nov. 7.

Beshear is downplaying party labels and leaning on his accomplishments as he campaigns for a second term. He said while he may be a proud Democrat, he stands to support "every single Kentucky family." The governor is touting his role in facilitating low unemployment rates, creating new jobs, improving infrastructure and leading recovery efforts in a number of disasters as more important than partisan politics. 

"Kentucky, we've been through a lot together; a pandemic, tornadoes, flooding, wind storms, ice storms, even the polar plunge," Beshear said at the Kentucky Gubernatorial Debate in Louisville. "Yet I am here tonight more excited, more optimistic, and more hopeful for our future than at any time in my lifetime." 

Cameron, on the other hand, is leaning into his Republican roots, picking apart Beshear for vetoing transgender bills and for his handling of the pandemic, while linking him to President Joe Biden. 

Beshear called out Cameron for the number of times he mentioned President Biden in a debate but never uttered the word "jobs." 

"You are going to see a contrast of vision versus division," said Beshear. 

This year, Beshear vetoed a bill banning transgender care for the youth, and last year, he vetoed a bill prohibiting transgender females from engaging in school sports that matched their gender identity. Both measures were overturned by the Republican-led legislature.

"When I am governor we are going to protect women's sports from biological males and we are going to protect our kids from these transgender surgeries," Cameron said, according to Associated Press. 

Making an appeal to teachers, Cameron promised to support an education system that hones in on the basics as he aims to convert some teacher voters. Four years ago, teachers helped push Beshear forward in polls, AP said. Beshear is promising big pay raises for teachers and staff should he win a second term.

The candidates are also clashing on the hotly contested topic of abortion, which is banned in the state of Kentucky. 

Beshear continues to rip his opponent for not supporting abortion exceptions in cases of rape and incest. 

"These are little kids that he would force to carry the baby of their rapist. That is wrong, that's extreme and that's not who we are as Kentuckians," Beshear said in an October debate, according to CNN

Cameron said if elected, and a bill about exceptions came across his desk by the state's GOP-led legislature, he would sign it.

But the current governor claimed Cameron's never outright said he supports exceptions. Beshear pointed to a Kentucky Right to Life survey in which Cameron opposed the exceptions. 

"He signed his name. When someone shows you who they are, believe them," Beshear said. 

On the other hand, Cameron criticized Beshear for vetoing a bill that would have banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That happened in April 2022 before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

"His largest campaign contributor outside of Joe Biden is Planned Parenthood. So don't be at all fooled by the fact that Andy Beshear won't tell you what he wants in terms of limits, because what he wants is no limits and the taxpayer to pay for it," Cameron said, according to CNN. 

Beshear argued he vetoed the bill for not having any exceptions.

Kentucky is one of few crossover states left where the governor represents a party that the state did not win for president. According to the University of Virginia, there are nine such states left.

Beshear and Cameron will go head to head on Nov. 7. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents of the state can find their polling places here.


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