A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

It’s Matt Bevin vs. Andy Beshear for governor; Bevin gets strong challenge; NKY candidates fall

By Tom Latek and Mark Maynard
Kentucky Today

Kentucky voters have spoken – or at least nearly 20 percent of them – and the race for the governor’s seat is going to be a battle between two political heavyweight rivals.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin received 51 percent of the party’s vote in Tuesday’s primary in his bid for reelection and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear will be his opponent in November.

Beshear won a hard-fought battle with longtime state representative Rocky Adkins and former state auditor Adam Edelen. His strong showing in Louisville and west Kentucky proved to be the difference against Adkins, who led for much of the night.

Bevin was challenged by three opponents. Rep. Robert Goforth received nearly 40% of the vote in a strong showing.

Matt Bevin (R) and Andy Beshear (D) will face off in the General Election.

Bevin and Beshear have dueled in court on many issues over the last three years and this race promises to engage many more voters in the general election this November.

Kentucky’s ailing state pension system and abortion are sure to be hot topics.

Bevin has tied himself to President Donald Trump, who sent out a phone message to Republican voters on Monday night showing support for him and sent out a tweet on Tuesday reminding voters to go to the polls for him. Bevin will continue to utilize Trump’s overwhelming popularity in Kentucky over the next five months.

Bevin prides himself on job creation in Kentucky and having one of the lowest unemployment rates in years.

Here are the results for the other offices on the primary ballots:


Former Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo (D) was uncontested in the primary and will meet Republican Daniel Cameron, a political newcomer and former aide to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, in November.

Kentucky hasn’t elected a Republican as attorney general in 70 years.

Cameron bested NKY’s Wil Schroder by more than 26,000 votes statewide.


Four Republicans and four Democrats battled in the primary. Facing off in November will be former Miss America Heather French Henry, who won the Democratic nomination, and former State Board of Elections member Michael Adams, who defeated three other GOP candidates in the primary.

NKY’s Stephen Knipper ran a distant third on the Republican ballot, garnering 18% of the vote.


Republican incumbent Allison Ball ran unopposed and will meet graphic designer Michael Bowman (D).


Republican incumbent Mike Harmon was unopposed and will face Democrat Sheri Donahue.


Incumbent Ryan Quarles won the Republican primary and will face Scott County farmer Robert Haley Conway in November.

The last day to register to vote for the general election is 4 p.m. on Oct. 4 at GoVoteKy.com.

You can see if you’re registered at GoVoteKy.com by providing first and last name and birth date.

Unofficial results for the Primary Election reflect 658,979 ballots cast out of 3,421,796 registered voters, reported Secretary of State Alison Grimes.

The turnout was higher than anticipated, at 19.26 percent.
The unofficial Kentucky Primary Election vote totals for all counties are available at GoVoteKY.com.

The deadline to request a recanvass in any race is May 28 at 4 p.m. local time. Requested recanvasses will be conducted May 30 at 9 a.m. local time. 

The State Board of Elections will meet to certify vote totals for the General Election at 9 a.m. ET on June 4th.

NKyTribune staff contributed to this report

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  1. Marv Dunn says:

    It’s going to be a rough and tumble race for Governor. No dirt will be too dirty to bring against your opponent given the animosity between these two. I’m glad to see the turnout a little better than predicted; could it have something to do with the teachers. I also think its interesting that Beshear, despite his stiff competition, garnered more raw votes than Bevin. Are the Republicans staying home?

  2. Parker Hills says:

    Dont the teachers understand that if we continue on the same course, they literally won’t get the pension they’re promised? Like financially and logically there’s no way to pay the pension dollars down the road if something isn’t done basically right now. It’s a shame people can’t take straight talk, when he pretty much said is as it is. Maybe if smiley faces, emojis, and rainbows are involved next time they might be more receptive. I just started a businesses in Alexandria and if they even consider raising taxes to cover the major pension shortfalls I have to close my doors. Taxes are already too high and margins not all that high. Dear, teachers, please negotiate a deal instead of not even attempting to talk about the issue, please dont be selfish and tank the entire state at the expense of your emotions, we need reform, we need change and hope, the state and its economy will drop far below Mississippi’s if we dont change the system which really won’t have a negative affect on your retirement in all reality. Dear teachers don’t be selfish. Don’t follow your union leaders blindly, they’re the one making the 6 figure salaries at your expense, questions there motifs. Thank you

  3. Dean Knolls says:

    This Republican voter will pull the lever for Beshear this time around ! Bevin has done and said too many dumb things. He has some goofy people working for him from up this way too.

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