Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who was elected in 2015, is running for reelection against the state’s attorney general, Democrat Andy Beshear.
President Donald Trump endorsed Bevin, and held a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, on Monday night in a final push to encourage voters to turn out for the Republican candidate. If Bevin wins, Republicans will maintain control over the state Legislature and the governor’s office.
Trump won Kentucky by nearly 30 points in 2016, but Bevin’s victory margin in 2015 came within 10 points of his opponent.
Medicaid eligibility is an issue in Kentucky, and Bevin wants more work requirements for recipients. Beshear wants to lift those requirements.
In 2014, Bevin ran for a seat in the US Senate but was defeated in the GOP primary by incumbent Mitch McConnell.
Beshear was elected attorney general of Kentucky in 2015, and is the son of Steve Beshear, who was the 61st governor of Kentucky, serving from 2007 to 2015.
Mississippi governor’s race
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, is running against Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat. Term limits prevented incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Bryant from seeking reelection.
Trump endorsed Reeves and held a rally for Reeves in Tupelo, Mississippi, ahead of Tuesday’s election. The Republican Party currently controls the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers in Mississippi.
Cook Political Report recently shifted the Mississippi gubernatorial election from “likely Republican” to “leans Republican,” indicating that the race has become more competitive for a state that has voted solidly Republican in the past three presidential elections. Cook points to a combination of a tough primary runoff for Reeves and Hood’s appeal to voters across the aisle as a factor in their decision. Hood is the only statewide elected Democrat in Mississippi.
Hood has served as state attorney general since being elected in 2003. Reeves has served as lieutenant governor since being elected in 2011.
There is an unusual aspect to the state’s election process. A candidate needs a majority in the popular vote and needs to win a majority of Mississippi’s 122 state house districts. If no candidate fulfills both of these requirements, the Mississippi House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, selects the winner. The rules were established during the Jim Crow era.
Vice President Mike Pence made an appearance at a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Monday.
Republicans control the House of Delegates with 51 seats to Democrats’ 48, and the state Senate with 20 seats to Democrats’ 19, with one vacancy in each chamber. All 140 seats were on the ballot Tuesday. Republicans have not won a statewide race since 2009, but they have held on to the Senate since 2014 and House since 1999 by slim margins.
Democrats are within striking distance of taking either chamber. If they were to win both, it would position the party to control the next round of redistricting ahead of the 2020 census.
Democrats have poured a record-breaking amount of money into the state Legislature races. Virginia has long been a bellwether for national wins but has drifted left in recent years.