Voters in Kentucky are casting ballots in a primary that will deliver an initial verdict on the job performance of Gov. Matt Bevin.
The ally of President Donald Trump faces state Rep. Robert Goforth and two other challengers in Tuesday’s GOP primary.
Democrats are choosing between three leading gubernatorial candidates on a ballot that also includes contested primaries for attorney general and other statewide offices.
Bevin’s standing with conservatives is being tested after a turbulent term. Among other things, he has lashed out at teachers who used sick days to attend protest rallies.
Hours after the polls opened, Trump Tweeted his support for the governor and encouraged Kentuckians to head to the polls.
“To the great people of Kentucky, please go out and vote for Matt Bevin today. Very important. He has done a fantastic job for you and America!”
Voter Tom Priddy cast his vote in Lawrenceburg for Bevin, saying he appreciates that the governor is a strong Trump ally.
“I don’t necessarily like everything about Trump, but Trump’s doing the job,” Priddy said. “He’s doing everything that he said he was going to do.”
A spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office says things were going smoothly at the polls, but turnout was light and might end up lower than the projected 12.5%.
The leading Democrats running for governor are Attorney General Andy Beshear, ex-state auditor Adam Edelen and longtime state Rep. Rocky Adkins.
Beshear is the son of Kentucky’s last Democratic governor.
Voters trickled into a small polling place in Finchville, Kentucky, under cloudy skies.
Cecil Hardin, a conservative, said he cast his ballot for Bevin in part because the governor is working to try to fix Kentucky’s public pension system, which is one of the country’s worst-funded.
“I know he’s upset some people and he has upset me in some cases, but Matt Bevin is doing a job that no one else has made an effort to do for our public servants,” Hardin said. “He’s working to do that, to get it straightened out and no one else has bothered to do it. And I know it’s upset people but once the change is made its going to be good in the end.”
Democrat Angela Fish said casting her ballot was a tough decision, but she ultimately chose Edelen because she thought Beshear’s father’s tenure would be a detriment to the candidate since voters chose Bevin to replace him.
“It was really tough for me because I like Andy Beshear a lot … I stood in there for a while because I couldn’t decide,” she said. “To replace Bevin with a Democrat, I thought Adam Edelen had a better chance.”