Kentucky’s Democratic Governor, Andy Beshear, has secured a second term, as projected by ABC News, successfully defending against a challenge from Republican State Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Throughout the race, seen as the most significant among the three gubernatorial contests in 2023, Beshear highlighted his record as an effective leader during the COVID-19 pandemic and in dealing with devastating flooding and tornadoes. Meanwhile, Cameron attempted to link him with President Joe Biden, who has been grappling with low approval ratings.
On Tuesday, alongside the governor, voters went to the polls to cast their ballots for the lieutenant governor and other offices.
In another projection by ABC News, Republican Russell Coleman emerged as the winner in the state attorney general election, and Republican Michael Adams secured a second term as secretary of state.
In his victory speech, Beshear continued to present himself as a nonpartisan legislator.
“Tonight, Kentucky made a choice – a choice to move forward for every single family, rather than shifting to the right or left. It’s a choice to reject ‘team R’ or ‘team D’ and to affirm that we are one team, Team Kentucky,” he declared during his victory party.
“This victory sends a clear, resounding message: candidates should run for something, not against someone. A candidate should demonstrate vision, not sow division, and it’s a strong statement that the era of anger politics should end right here and right now,” he added.
On Tuesday night, Cameron conceded to Beshear, acknowledging that the race “didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped.”
“Thank you so much for your willingness and commitment to this campaign, an effort ultimately about our children and grandchildren,” he expressed to his supporters.
He also requested the audience at the watch party to pray for Beshear.
Kentucky has traditionally been a Republican stronghold at the federal level since the 1950s. In 2020, former President Donald Trump secured a 26% margin victory over now-President Joe Biden.
Beshear faced a significant challenge from Cameron, four years after narrowly defeating incumbent Governor Matt Bevin by a mere 5,000 votes, with Beshear receiving 49% of the votes and Bevin 48.8%.
Abortion access was a pivotal issue in this election, with Beshear supporting access and Cameron opposing it. Both candidates accused each other of holding extreme positions on abortion policy during the gubernatorial debate at Northern Kentucky University on October 16.