Democrats Blame ‘Trump-Mania’ for Matt Bevin Victory in Kentucky

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Democrats stunned by Matt Bevin’s victory in the race for Kentucky governor blamed “Trump-mania” for the Tea Party candidate’s unlikely 53%-44% win over Democrat Jack Conway.

“Attorney General Jack Conway ran a strong campaign focused on the issues that matter to Kentuckians: good schools, good-paying jobs and economic opportunity,” said Elisabeth Pearson, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, in an official statement on the results.

Pearson added: “Unfortunately, he ran into the unexpected headwinds of Trump-mania, losing to an outsider candidate in the year of the outsider. While Jack Conway came up just short tonight, his presence in this race strengthened the issues debate in Kentucky.”

Bevin, a veteran and small business owner who lost 60%-36% in an primary challenge to Sen. Mitch McConnell last year, staged a political comeback. Pollsters gave Conway the edge over Bevin with just days to go before the election, as the Democrat out-raised and out-spent his Tea Party rival. The New York Times called Bevin “a loose cannon capable of alienating voters from both parties.”

To the experts, Bevin had a succinct reply: “You watch.”

Trump played no direct role in the campaign, although Bevin compared himself to the billionaire frontrunner, telling the Washington Post: “Part of what people appreciate about him is the very same thing [as me]. He doesn’t owe anybody anything.”

One major factor in Bevin’s victory was the recent failure of Kentucky’s Obamacare co-op, which took in 60 percent of the state’s customers in the program. Apparently, Democrats would rather blame Trump than Obamacare, to which their party is wedded.

Conventional wisdom among Republican insiders suggests that Donald Trump’s name at the top of the 2016 ticket would hurt downticket races. However, Bevin’s strong win is an argument against that hypothesis.

As other results came in from across the nation, it looked to be a strong night for Republicans, as the party held the Virginia Senate and claimed victory in other local races and ballot initiatives.

Check for updates.


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