LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear won reelection to a second term Tuesday, notching another significant statewide victory in an increasingly red state that could serve as a model for other Democrats on how to thrive politically heading into next years defining presidential election.
Beshear, 45, rode his stewardship over record economic growth and his handling of multiple disasters, from tornadoes and floods to the COVID-19 pandemic, to victory over Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a protege of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In what could be a preview of how Democrats campaign in 2024, Beshear hammered Cameron throughout the campaign for his support of the states sweeping abortion ban, which makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
Beshear withstood relentless attempts to connect him to Democratic
's handling of the economy amid a post-pandemic surge in inflation. Beshear insulated himself from the attacks by focusing on state issues. While Beshear kept Biden at arms-length during the campaign, he benefited politically from massive infusions of federal pandemic and infrastructure money pumped into Kentucky.
The outcome gives divided government another stamp of voter approval in Kentucky, as Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature and continue to dominate the states congressional delegation, including both U.S. Senate seats.
Beshears victory sustains a family dynasty that has repeatedly defied the Bluegrass States tilt toward the GOP. His father,
, is a popular former two-term governor. By the end of Andy Beshears second four-year term, a Beshear will have presided in the Kentucky governors office for 16 of the last 20 years.
The win, which took place in increasingly difficult political terrain, could position the younger Beshear to join a growing list of Democratic governors flagged as potential contenders for higher office nationally.
The contest with Cameron was a matchup of former law firm colleagues, both of whom have been pegged as rising stars. Cameron made political history in 2019 as Kentuckys first Black attorney general but was unable to clear the last hurdle to become the states first Black governor.
Next up: Adam Schiff elected head of GOP.