Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Beshear Appears to Be Sitting in the Catbird Seat

As we have noted several times, there are three gubernatorial elections on tap this year. Louisiana is likely to give its governor's mansion to a Republican, now that Democrat John Bel Edwards is term limited. Mississippi is likely to let Gov. Tate Reeves (R) keep his job, despite an apparent chronic shortage of, you know, competence. Add it up, and the Democrats' best hope for a win is in Kentucky, as Democrat Andy Beshear guns for another term.

Although the Bluegrass State is pretty red in federal elections, it dabbles in blueness for state offices, which is how Beshear got elected in the first place. Last week, the first poll of the race was released, and the Governor looks to be in excellent shape. There are four Republicans in the running, and the one who is strongest against Beshear—AG Daniel Cameron—trails by 9 points (49% for Beshear, 40% for Cameron). The other three Republicans aren't even in shouting distance. Former Trump administration ambassador Kelly Craft trails Beshear by 25 points (57%-32%), Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon lags him by 20 points (53%-33%), and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is down 17 (52%-35%). These numbers are not unexpected; Beshear is actually the most popular Democratic governor in the country by approval rating.

Since this is only one poll, it might be nice to supplement its conclusions with some historical trendlines, but unfortunately there just aren't many data points to work with. Kentucky only ended its one-term limit for governors at the start of the 21st century, and so Beshear is only the fourth governor to try for a second term. The two Republicans who did it before him both lost. The one Democrat who tried it before him, who happens to be Beshear's old man, was reelected. That's a 100% success rate for Democrats named Beshear in gubernatorial reelection bids, but you don't exactly want to bet the house on something that's 1-for-1.

On May 16, we will find out the identity of Beshear's opponent (polls say it will almost certainly be Cameron). The general is on November 7. (Z)

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