The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Steve Bittenbender

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) — Republican businessman Matt Bevin was elected Kentucky’s next governor on Tuesday, marking a setback for Democrats who had controlled the office in every election but one since 1971 and underscoring the party’s decline in the conservative U.S. South.

Bevin, who rode Tea Party support to a narrow victory in a four-way Republican primary, soundly defeated State Attorney General Jack Conway, who quickly conceded on Tuesday night after his late October lead in the polls evaporated on election day.

“This is a chance for a fresh start,” said Bevin at his victory event, calling his candidacy an opportunity to change traditional politics. “It truly is, and we desperately need it.”

Republicans also were successful in securing a second term for Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who easily defeated a little-known opponent in the conservative Southern state, according to media reports and CNN projections.

Kentucky’s more hotly contested race reflected the partisan divide seen nationally over gay marriage and President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law in a contest to replace Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, who cannot run because of term limits.

Bevin’s path to victory included courting religious conservatives after meeting with embattled Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis after she was jailed for defying a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

“I am ecstatic,” Davis said in a statement released by her attorneys at the conservative Liberty Counsel, adding that Bevin had prayed for her. “I will be forever thankful that he came to visit me while I was in jail.”

While Tea Party leaders celebrated a win for Bevin, a conservative known to challenge establishment Republicans, he also benefited from a late infusion of cash from the Republican Governors Association. The organization said it poured $2.5 million into the state during the final two weeks of the campaign and spent a total of $6 million on the race.

Bevin had pledged to roll back the expansion of Medicaid to provide health coverage to the poor under Obama’s health plan as started by the current governor, which Conway had supported.

Although Kentucky voters routinely send Republicans to Washington, D.C., experts thought Conway had the advantage going into election day, given Democrats’ enduring state-level strength in recent decades.

Bevin’s lieutenant governor, Jenean Hampton, becomes the first African American elected to statewide office in Kentucky.

(Writing and additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Walsh)

Photo: Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Matt Bevin addresses the crowd during a campaign stop at Lexington Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, in this May 19, 2014, file photo. REUTERS/John Sommers II/Files

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

President Joe Biden at the Port of Baltimore

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

In mid-October, President Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, joining the nearby Port of Long Beach, which had been doing so since September. The move followed weeks of White House negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, as well as shippers like UPS and FedEx, and major retailers like Walmart and Target.

Keep reading... Show less

Sean Hannity

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

President Joe Biden spoke to reporters on Monday, saying that the new omicron variant of COVID-19 was “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” and that the public response would be done “not with shutdowns or lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more.” Fox News quickly began spreading false claims that Biden was about to impose more lockdowns — in a disinformation campaign that has spread across the network’s purported “straight news” side and even to its financial news channel.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}