Democrats Claim Victory in Virginia and Kentucky. What Does That Mean for 2020?
Nov. 06, 2019
“You can’t let that happen to me. And you know what? You can’t let that happen to your incredible state, Kentucky. You can’t let that happen,” President Trump declared in a rally in Lexington, Kentucky on Monday night, referring to the possible defeat of Matt Bevin, the Republican governor running for reelection. “If you lose, they will say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world,” he added. “You can’t let that happen to me, and you can’t let that happen to your incredible state.”
But it did happen—not just to Trump and to Kentucky, but to the whole country. The Democratic candidate, Andy Beshear, has apparently bested Bevin; although it is a razor-thin margin , and Bevin has yet to concede, many major news outlets have declared Beshear the winner.
This was a stunning turn of events in a state that Trump won in 2016 by nearly 30 points, and it has serious implications for the GOP going forward. As the Washington Post put it in a headline this morning : “Kentucky Outcome Embarrasses Trump and Worries Many Republicans Ahead of 2020.” The former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele observed, “Losing the governorship is a smack at both Mitch McConnell and the president, sending up a cautionary note. Just because Trump shows up doesn’t mean an automatic win anymore.”
It can’t have been a good night for Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who is facing reelection in Kentucky in 2020. Is he rethinking his slavish devotion to the president in the clear light of day, and are other Republican politicians beginning to quake in their loafers?
Kentucky was not the only thrilling Democratic victory of the night. In Virginia, both the state house and the senate are now in the hands of Democrats, and since the governor is also a Democrat (Ralph Northam, who has apparently weathered his blackface scandal ), this means the Dems have total control of the state government. (The president didn’t go to Virginia himself, but sent VP Mike Pence to rev up the red electorate. Guess it didn’t help.)
In the third important election of the night, the Republicans won the governorship in Mississippi, with Tate Reeves defeating Democrat Jim Hood. It would have nice—and a miracle—to win that one too, but with 2020 less than a year away, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful this morning.
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