Kentucky Political News Headlines

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Summary

2011 General Election Re-Cap

Top Headlines:
- Governor Beshear Re-Elected
- Democrats win 6 of 7 Constitutional Officers, Comer lone Republican Winner
- Voter Turnout Low

Kentuckians went to the polls today primarily to elect Kentucky's seven statewide Constitutional Officers with the featured race being for Governor of the Commonwealth between incumbent Governor Steve Beshear (D), Senate President David Williams (R), and Gatewood Galbraith an Independent.

Governor Beshear was successfully re-elected to a second term with 56% of the vote.
President Williams and Gatewood Galbraith garnered 35% and 9% respectively of the more than 800,000 votes cast in the Governor's Race. With Governor Beshear's victory his running mate, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson (D) becomes Kentucky's Lt. Governor.

Although the Governor's Race was the featured race on the ballot the outcome was somewhat anti-climactic as Governor Beshear had shown significant strength in pre-election polling that matched his margin of victory tonight. Political observers are much more interested in what agenda Beshear might push forward in a second term after a large victory tonight. His victory speech offered a few hints; including: continuing fiscal discipline, world-class education system, and job creation is and will continue to be the top priority.

Down the Ballot

With wins in the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, and Treasurer races, the Democrats picked up 6 of 7 Constitutional Offices. The lone Republican winner was State Rep. James Comer who will be the next Agriculture Commissioner.

Its still early to draw significant analysis from tonight's election returns, but it is somewhat surprising that Kentucky; which has 2 U.S. Senators, 4 of the 6 Congressional Seats, and a State Senate controlled by Republicans, would see such strength by Democrats statewide. Maybe Kentucky's strong Democrat voter registration is just more persistent in these Constitutional election years.

Only three of the seven races featured incumbents, but all three won and all three were Democrats: Governor Beshear, Attorney General Conway, and Treasurer Hollenbach. So it doesn't seem that an anti-incumbent sentiment was at play today, which has been more predominant in the past few election cycles.

No doubt more analysis will be done on tonight's returns in the days ahead.

Official Returns (Winners in Yellow) 98.6% of Precincts Reporting

Voter Turnout - 28%  This is historically low, second only to the 1999 Gubernatorial Race when turnout was 20%.

Governor-Lt. Governor

Beshear-Abramson (D)  56
Williams-Farmer (R)      35
Galbraith-Riley (I)           9

Attorney General

Conway (D)   55
P'Pool (R)     45

Secretary of State

Grimes (D)    61
Johnson (R)  39


Hollenbach (D)   49
Crosbie (R)         46
Moellman (L)        5


Edelen (D)      56
Kemper (R)     44

Agriculture Commissioner

Comer (R)    64
Farmer (D)   36