When President Donald Trump traveled to Lexington on Monday to campaign for Gov. Matt Bevin and other Republican candidates, Bevin asked voters to support him and send a signal to Washington that, “Kentucky is bleeding red” and supports Trump.
Trump also asked Kentucky voters to send a “radical message” to Democrats who launched an impeachment inquiry against him by re-electing Bevin and electing Republicans down ballot in the state.
Kentucky voters sent a different message, however, opting instead to elect Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, as the state’s next governor.
The final vote tally was not available from the Kentucky Board of Elections prior to print deadline Tuesday, but Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes called the race in favor of Beshear at about 10 p.m.. At the time, with 97.5 percent of the votes reported statewide, Beshear had 49.36 percent (or 683,370 votes) to Bevin's 48.67 percent of votes.
In 2016, when Trump was elected as president, he gained overwhelming support both statewide and in Floyd County, where 72.5 percent of voters cast ballots in his favor.
Tuesday, Floyd County voters favored the Democrat in the governor’s race, opting to elect Beshear by a 855-vote margin. In Floyd County, Beshear received 5,903 votes and Bevin received 5,048 votes, Floyd County Election officials reported. Beshear carried 26 of Floyd County’s 44 precincts (absentee ballots included), while Bevin carried 18, some of which he won with one- and four-vote margins.
Turnout was about 38.16 percent in Floyd County, with 11,396 voters casting ballots.
Bevin, however, carried the votes in other local counties. He pulled the majority of votes in Pike, Perry and Johnson counties on Election Day.
Polls reportedly suggested that the race was nearly tied prior to the election, and Beshear and Bevin both spent the week leading up to the election in Eastern Kentucky counties, with both candidates talking about the importance of obtaining votes in rural areas and others describing Eastern Kentucky as a battleground region for the race.
In the months and weeks leading up to the election, Bevin visited Floyd County numerous times to announce funding allocations and to announce that the Kentucky Department of Corrections will re-open the former Ottercreek Correctional Facility in Wheelwright. Several residences along Ky. 306 displayed signs encouraging passersby to elect Bevin on the day of his visit to Wheelwright. Local officials reported the signs were installed the night prior to Bevin’s visit and removed the following day. Wheelwright’s precinct favored Beshear, giving him 126 votes to Bevin’s 101 votes.
Bevin made numerous trips to Eastern Kentucky, including an August visit to the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville, where he was joined by Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump.
During that visit, Trump Jr. tied Bevin’s election to his father’s work.
“(Bevin) is a local extension of what my father is trying to do for the country,” Trump Jr. said during the event.
Other visits by the governor included groundbreaking ceremonies, check presentations and other events. In an interview recently with Appalachian Newspapers, Bevin answered criticisms about the visits by saying that he has long been a supporter of the region.
“We have (money) pouring into Eastern Kentucky into infrastructure, into roads, into water, into sewer, into economic development, the likes of which has not been seen ... at least for many decades, and we’re doing this intentionally,” Bevin said. “And for those who literally have only begun to notice it for the past couple of moths, I wonder where they’ve been and why they’ve been asleep as to what’s been going on for the past three-and-a-half years.”
Beshear accused the governor of selling “false hope.”
“This governor sold false hope to Pike County,” Beshear said. “In all the numbers he puts out there about jobs and investments, do you know what he still includes? EnerBlu, a company that he claimed was going to be a reality, that I had concerns of from the start. He said there was going to be hundreds of jobs and a hundred-million dollars of investment, never got off the ground. Instead, he sold false hope to Pike County and to Eastern Kentucky.”
The governor’s race was one of two races in which Floyd County voters choose the Democratic candidate on Election Day. Floyd County voters also chose Democratic candidate in the attorney general’s race, voting to bring Prestonsburg resident Greg Stumbo back to Frankfort.
He received 5,974 votes in Floyd County, compared to 5,212 received by Republican candidate Daniel Cameron in that race. As of print deadline, however, it appeared Cameron would win the race.
Floyd County voters choose Republicans in every other state race on the ballot, including that of Prestonsburg resident Allison Ball, who easily won her second term as Kentucky State Treasurer.
In Floyd County, Ball received double the number of votes, compared to her opponent. She received 6,965 votes to 3,990 votes cast for Democratic candidate Michael Bowman. The final tally in that race was also not available prior to print deadline.
Floyd County results include:
Governor and Lt. Governor
Matthew G. Bevin/Ralph A. Alvarado; Republican
Floyd County votes: 5,048
Andy Beshear/Jacqueline Coleman; Democrat
Floyd County votes: 5,903
John Hicks/Ann Cormican; Libertarian
Floyd County votes: 279
Secretary of State
Michael G. Adams; Republican
Floyd County votes: 5,508
Heather French Henry; Democrat
Floyd County votes: 5,391
Daniel Cameron; Republican
Floyd County votes: 5,212
Gregory D. Stumbo; Democrat
Floyd County votes: 5,974
Mike Harmon; Republican
Floyd County votes: 5,461
Sheri Donahue; Democrat
Floyd County votes: 4,808
Kyle Hugenberg; Libertarian
Floyd County votes: 296
Allison Ball; Republican
Floyd County votes: 6,965
Michael Bowman; Democrat
Floyd County votes: 3,990
Commissioner of Agriculture
Ryan F. Quarles; Republican
Floyd County votes: 5,581
Robert Haley Conway; Democrat
Floyd County votes: 4,987
Josh Gilpin; Libertarian
Floyd County votes: 280