Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear will lead Kentucky for another four years after defeating his Republican opponent, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, in Tuesday's election. Beshear's margin stood at 53-47 with approximately 80% of the vote counted when the Associated Press called the race.
In winning a second term, Beshear once again overcame Kentucky's strong conservative lean, thanks to the high marks voters have given him for his sure-handed stewardship of the state through multiple emergencies. Republicans had sought to portray the incumbent, who is the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, as a left-wing radical in cahoots with national Democratic figures, but the attacks failed to stick. Beshear, meanwhile, highlighted Cameron's support for a total ban on abortion, an unheard-of topic for any Kentucky Democrat to center in a statewide campaign.
While Beshear will continue to face a hostile legislature dominated by Republicans, he'll still have the considerable powers of his office at his disposal. In the past, he's used his authority to issue executive orders permitting the medical use of marijuana and restoring the rights of some 180,000 citizens who had completed felony sentences. Beshear's victory ensures that those orders cannot be rescinded, at least for the next four years.