Democrats claim victory over Trump-backed Kentucky governor, seize Virginia legislature

(Reuters) – U.S. Democrats claimed an upset win in Kentucky on Tuesday over a Republican governor backed by President Donald Trump and seized management of the state legislature in Virginia, the place anti-Trump sentiment within the suburbs remained a potent power.

The outcomes of Tuesday’s elections in 4 states, together with Mississippi and New Jersey, might provide clues to how subsequent 12 months’s presidential election might unfold, when Trump will purpose for a second four-year time period.

In Kentucky, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, whose father, Steve, was the state’s final Democratic governor, scored a slim victory over Governor Matt Bevin regardless of an election-eve rally headlined by Trump.

In a speech in Lexington, Kentucky, on Monday evening, Trump – who gained Kentucky by 30 proportion factors in 2016 – informed voters that they wanted to re-elect Bevin, or else pundits would say the president “suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.”

The remarks mirrored the extent to which Bevin, 52, sought to nationalize the marketing campaign, emphasizing his assist for Trump amid a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry of the Republican president in Congress.

While the consequence was a big setback for Trump, who stays comparatively well-liked in Kentucky, it could have had extra to do with Bevin’s diminished standing within the state. Opinion polls confirmed Bevin could be the least well-liked governor within the nation, after he waged high-profile fights with labor unions and lecturers.

Beshear’s upset win might additionally bolster Democrats’ slim hopes of ousting Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s on the poll himself within the state subsequent 12 months.

At a rally on Tuesday evening, Bevin refused to concede, citing unspecified “irregularities,” whilst Beshear referred to as on the governor to honor the outcomes.

Trump asserted on Twitter that his rally had helped Bevin keep away from a much bigger loss and boasted that Republicans had gained a number of different statewide races.

“@MattBevin picked up at least 15 points in last days, but perhaps not enough (Fake News will blame Trump!),” the president wrote.

Kentucky’s Attorney General Andy Beshear, working for governor in opposition to Republican incumbent Matt Bevin, reacts to statewide election outcomes at his watch occasion in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Harrison McClary

Meanwhile, Democrats wrested each chambers of Virginia’s legislature from slim Republican majorities, which might give the occasion full management of the state authorities for the primary time in a quarter-century.

Trump has prevented Virginia, the place Democrats discovered success in suburban swing districts in final 12 months’s congressional elections, as they did in states throughout the nation. Tuesday’s election, which noticed Democrats prevail in a number of northern Virginia suburbs, urged the pattern was persevering with.

In Mississippi, the place Republican Governor Phil Bryant was barred from working once more on account of time period limits, Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves defeated Attorney General Jim Hood, a reasonable Democrat who favors gun rights and opposes abortion rights.

Like Bevin, Reeves campaigned as a staunch Trump supporter in a state that Trump simply gained in 2016. The president held a marketing campaign rally within the state final week alongside Reeves.

In New Jersey, Democrats have been anticipated to take care of their majority within the state’s normal meeting, the legislature’s decrease chamber.


The Virginia contest drew heavy consideration and cash from each events. Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential front-runner, visited Virginia over the weekend to marketing campaign with a number of statehouse candidates, and Republican Vice President Mike Pence held a rally on Saturday.

Other Democratic presidential contenders, together with U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, have additionally campaigned with native candidates.

In one notable race, Democrat Shelly Simonds, who misplaced a state House of Delegates race in 2017 by way of random draw after the election resulted in a tie, gained a rematch in opposition to Republican David Yancey.

Virginia’s Democratic features got here regardless of a 12 months of scandal for the occasion’s prime officers within the state. Governor Ralph Northam barely endured a political firestorm after his yearbook web page was proven to have photographs of somebody in blackface and one other particular person in a Ku Klux Klan costume, whereas Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to sporting blackface himself in faculty.

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Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, in the meantime, has denied two accusations of sexual assault.

The legislative wins doubtless imply that Democrats can cross a raft of payments that Republicans had resisted, together with new gun limits. Democrats will even management the redistricting course of in 2021, when lawmakers draw new voting strains for state and congressional elections after subsequent 12 months’s U.S. Census.

Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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