Director of Content and Engagement, Commonwealth Policy Center

In the election results for Kentucky’s Constitutional Offices, the GOP candidates performed better than some analysts surmised. For the first time in 70 years, Kentucky has a Republican Attorney General in Daniel Cameron. Cameron defeated former Kentucky Attorney General and Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo by a 15.6% margin to become Kentucky’s first African-American Attorney General. Further, incumbent Republican Allison Ball defeated Democratic challenger Michael Bowman in the race for Kentucky Treasurer by the largest margin in the Treasurer’s race since 1987 (21.32%). Treasurer Ball won by the 3rd largest margin in any statewide race in the last 20 years. In arguably the most surprising result, Secretary of State-Elect Michael Adams defeated Heather French Henry (Miss America 2000) despite earlier polls showing him down by double digit percentages. Incumbent Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles and Incumbent Auditor Mike Harmon both won their races by 19.6% and 15.6% respectively.

The only GOP loss was by Gov. Matt Bevin, who’s race was by far the most contentious. Bevin was never projected, in any public polls, to win the election. Yet Gov. Bevin only lost by 5,189 votes (.36%), that’s approximately 43 votes per county. This indicates that Kentucky is moving in a more conservative direction, but that Gov. Bevin’s favorability within his own party wasn’t strong enough to take advantage of this trend. Contrary to the national media’s implications, this election does not mark the demise of conservative candidates on Kentucky ballots. If anything it indicates the opposite.