Politics

Election night has wrapped and Republicans are celebrating. Here are five key points from the 2015 general election.

  • Louisville businessman Matt Bevin will be Kentucky’s next governor. He’s the second Republican to have the job since 1971. He’ll also be the first governor from Louisville since the 1950s. Bevin’s running mate, Jenean Hampton, will be the first African-American to hold a statewide office in Kentucky.
  • Republicans picked up the state auditor’s seat, to the surprise of many Democrats.
  • Voter turnout: 31 percent, according to the State Board of Elections.
  • Two Democrats did manage to win statewide races — incumbent Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Andy Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear and the state’s next attorney general.
  • Republicans are expected to focus now on taking the state House, the last Democratic stronghold in state government.
Update 9:49 p.m.: Andy Beshear Is Kentucky’s Next Attorney General

Democratic attorney Andy Beshear has been elected attorney general, narrowly edging out Republican state Sen. Whitney Westerfield.

Beshear, the son of outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear, had a lead of roughly 1,800 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting when the Associated Press called the race minutes ago.

Beshear and incumbent Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes were the only two Democrats to win office on a landslide Election Night for state Republicans.

Update 9:23 p.m.: Harmon Upsets Edelen, Says He’ll Push Pension Audits

In perhaps the most shocking result of Tuesday’s election, incumbent Adam Edelen lost the race for state Auditor to Republican candidate and state Rep. Mike Harmon.

Democrats and pundits alike had banked on an Edelen victory; he has long been considered a potential challenger for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in 2016.

In his victory speech, Harmon thanked supporters.

“You all are the people that have helped give this victory,” he said to a cheering crowd. “No one person can campaign throughout the state without great people working for you, praying for you.”

Harmon said one of his first initiatives as auditor would be to push for full performance audits of the state’s ailing pension systems. “I’m going to do everything we can to get them back on track.”

Edelen conceded the race just after 9 p.m., telling a crowd of supporters that “defeat is never easy.” He congratulated Harmon and said he would head “back to the private sector.”

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Harmon led 52-48.

Update 8:55 p.m.: Grimes Wins, Conway Concedes, Edelen Loses

A couple more called races from the Associated Press: Democrats will hold at least one statewide constitutional office. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has been re-elected, the AP reports. She topped Republican Steve Knipper.

But Democrats lost another statewide post. Republican state Rep. Mike Harmon has defeated Democratic state Auditor Adam Edelen, the AP reports.

And Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway has conceded.

“Tonight is not the result that we had hoped for, but it is the result that we accept,” he told supporters in Frankfort.

Update 8:31 p.m.: Republicans Ball, Quarles Accept Victory

We’re awaiting word from the candidates for governor.

Meanwhile, a couple of Republican victors have addressed the crowd gathered in Louisville.

Ryan Quarles, the agriculture commissioner-elect, said he believes people voted for him because of the “bi-partisan campaign apparatus.”

“We started early,” he said. “We were able to garner a lot of Democrat and Republican support early on. We put over 60,000 miles on our car traversing the state from end to end.”

He added: “We are going to continue to push back against Barack Obama’s out of touch and out of control EPA.”

State Treasurer-elect Allison Ball said her future role has “been a rubber stamp for a long time.”

Ball, a bankruptcy attorney, also noted her financial background as a reason for her victory on Tuesday night.

“I think that resonates with people,” she said. “I also think that people like the idea of having fresh eyes looking at these problems. Particularly, like the pension mess. Things like that. So my background and being someone from outside of the system.”

Update 8:10 p.m.: AP Calls It For Bevin

Republican Matt Bevin will be Kentucky’s next governor, the Associated Press declared moments ago.

He’ll be just the second Republican governor from Kentucky since 1971.

We’ll have more shortly.

Update 8:04 p.m.: Republicans Hold Ag Commissioner Post, Pick Up Treasurer

As Republicans optimistically watch returns for GOP gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, they’re also cheering two wins in statewide races.

Republican state Rep. Ryan Quarles will be Kentucky’s next agriculture commissioner, defeating Democrat Jean-Marie Lawson Spann. The Associated Press called the race a few moments ago. Quarles will replace James Comer, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Also, Republican Allison Ball will be the next state treasurer. The AP is calling the race for her over Democratic state Rep. Rick Nelson. Ball, a bankruptcy attorney, will replace Democrat Todd Hollenbach, who would not run again because of term limits.

Update 7:50 p.m.: Mulvihill Poised To Win Metro Council Seat

With 64 percent of the precincts reporting, Democrat Pat Mulvihill has a commanding lead over Republican Bob Redman for the Louisville Metro Council District 10 seat.

Mulvihill appears poised to take the seat once held by Metro Council President Jim King, who died suddenly earlier this year. Democrat Steve Magre was appointed to the seat soon after King’s death.

The Courier-Journal has called the race fomr Mulvihill, an assistant Jefferson County attorney.

“I had such a wonderful team of volunteers,” he told WFPL News’ Stephen George. “You know, it’s great for me, it’s great for them, and hopefully I can fulfill the shoes of a legendary councilman in Councilman King.”

Mulvihill said he plans to establish a community advisory board to help get more District 10 residents involved in decision-making.

He added: “I was blessed to have a positive campaign. I’m glad it was that way.”

Update 7:15 p.m.: Democrats Watch Anxiously

Democrats were still filing into the Frankfort Convention Center on Tuesday evening. After an upbeat start to the night, a few supporters were starting to anxiously gather around the televisions.

Initial returns appear slightly favorable to Republican Matt Bevin. Democrats say they’re optimistic though, hoping that polls will begin to show stronger support for Democrat Jack Conway as votes are tallied.

With just seven counties reporting, Conway led 52 percent to 45 percent. But early results from Lexington and Louisville, where Conway is strongly favored, were not as overwhelmingly Democratic as the people at this convention center had hoped. But there are many votes in those cities and elsewhere to tally.

Meanwhile in Louisville, Republicans clapped intermittently as results rolled in. But no one at the Galt House was getting too excited, as a long night appeared to be ahead.

— Ryland Barton & Ashley Lopez

Update 6:36 p.m.: Republican Chair Says Race May ‘Go To The Wire

Republican candidates are waiting results Tuesday night at the Galt House on the Ohio River in downtown Louisville.

GOP officials said gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin has a good shot at winning tonight’s election and that recent polls, which show a narrow lead for Democrat Jack Conway, could be wrong.

“I do think this is anyone’s game — up and down the line,” outgoing Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson said. “At this time, I think it is going to go to the wire. We may or may not know the outcome before the night is over in all of these races.”

— Ashley Lopez


 

Earlier: In the next few hours, Kentucky will (probably) know who’ll be the next governor.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. in the eastern half of the state. They’ll close in the central time zone an hour later.

A few issues with voting have been reported throughout the state — 36 complaints have been sent to the attorney general’s office, with issues ranging from electioneering too close to a polling place to disruption at the stations.

Results will come in soon after polls close in the Central time zone. We’ll post results, reaction and more in this live blog.

In the meantime, WFPL News and Kentucky Public Radio have reporters dispatched at the Republican and Democratic rallies.

Follow Ryland Barton (@RylandKY), Ashley Lopez (@AshLopezRadio), Ja’Nel Johnson (@JaNelSJohnson) and Jacob Ryan (@jacobhryan) on Twitter for their updates.

Here’s a quick look at what they’re looking at late this afternoon:

While you wait, check out these pieces from earlier today: