Kentucky A.G. Andy Beshear wins Democratic nomination for governor

Published: May. 21, 2019 at 8:42 PM EDT
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The Latest on Kentucky's Democratic primary election for governor (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

Attorney General Andy Beshear has won the Democratic nomination for governor in Kentucky, setting up a showdown with his political nemesis - Republican incumbent Matt Bevin.

In Tuesday's primary election, Beshear defeated two other prominent Democrats - former state auditor Adam Edelen and longtime state Rep. Rocky Adkins. Beshear was behind until the end of the night. Despite that, he said he has what it takes to beat Bevin in November.

"This is an amazing state with amazing people but what we need to do is be brought together," Beshear said.

Beshear promised to continue finding ways to solve the state's opioid crisis.

"Doing right by our neighbors means finally tackling this opioid epidemic," he added.

Beshear will try to restore the governorship for Democrats and carry on a family tradition. His father, Steve Beshear, was a popular governor whose two terms preceded Bevin's tenure.

Even during the primary campaign, Beshear aimed most of his criticism at Bevin. The two have waged a series of legal battles in recent years as Beshear challenged some of Bevin's executive actions and sued him on pension and education issues.

"He knows that he (Bevin) is wrong on virtually every issue and if he does not distract us, he will lose," Beshear said.


Even though he lost, House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins will still hold a leadership role in Frankfort.

Early on it seemed like Adkins would pull out a victory as he won much of Eastern Kentucky but, in the end, Beshear's margin in Jefferson and Fayette counties proved to be too much. Beshear took about 40 percent of the vote.

During his concession speech, Adkins thanked his family and supporters. He said he regrets nothing about this campaign and said he believed his campaign had the best organization.

"While we raised the money that we needed to raise In this campaign to be able to get on TV, direct mail, do all those things, do all those things that you have to do I still believe at the end of the day that the campaigns are one through organization and I know that we had the best organization in this campaign without question," Adkins said.

He also said he plans on fully supporting Beshear in his run against Gov. Matt Bevin come November.


8:30 p.m.

Democrat Adam Edelen's political comeback has come up short as the former state auditor has conceded in his run for the Democratic nomination for governor in Kentucky.

In his concession speech Tuesday evening, Edelen pitched his progressive ideas to the end. He talked about the need to build a modern state economy that includes creating renewable energy jobs in coal-producing Kentucky.

Though the former state auditor only won two counties, he still carried more than 27 percent of the votes. He could use this as a building block.

Edelen took the podium at 21C in downtown Louisville and urged Democrats to rally around the party's gubernatorial nominee, who will challenge Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

"We ran the campaign that we wanted to run, a future-focused campaign that was honest with the people of Kentucky about our challenges and our opportunities. Tonight, I will certainly be behind whomever the Democratic nominee is and look forward to doing my part to make sure that we retire Matt Bevin and bring civility and stability back to the governor's mansion."

Edelen, who ran attack ads against rival Andy Beshear in the gubernatorial primary, described the primary squabbles as "family differences." Edelen says Bevin and his "radical cohort" will bring Democrats together.

Edelen's political rise took a sudden fall four years ago when he lost his reelection bid for state auditor.

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