The latest from Kentucky’s gubernatorial race

Welcome to the Friday, October 20, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Kentucky voters will pick their next governor on Nov. 7
  2. An update on presidential election campaign finances
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many members of the U.S. House have announced they aren’t running for re-election in 2024?

Kentucky voters will pick their next governor on Nov. 7

Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi are holding gubernatorial elections this year. Louisiana just held its gubernatorial election last Saturday, on Oct. 14. We covered that election in detail here—Republican Jeff Landry won the primary outright, garnering 51% of the vote. When Landry is sworn into office in January, Louisiana will change from a divided government to a Republican trifecta.

So, what’s next? 

Both Kentucky and Mississippi will hold their gubernatorial general elections on Nov. 7. Today, we’re going to look at what’s at stake in Kentucky. Like Louisiana, Kentucky currently has a divided government—Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and Democrat Andy Beshear is governor.

Beshear is running for re-election against state Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R). Three election forecasters—The Cook Political Report, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Electionsrate the election Lean or Tilt Democratic.

According to CNN’s Eric Bradner, “The race will test whether a Democratic incumbent can survive in a deep-red state where his party’s voter registration advantage has been erased in recent years and the political environment is increasingly dominated by national themes.”

In case you have not been following the race, here’s a brief primer on the candidates.

  • Gov. Andy Beshear: Beshear was first elected in 2019, when he defeated incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R) 49.2% to 48.8%. He is the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear (2007-2015) and was attorney general from 2015 to 2019.
    • Beshear has campaigned on his record and his administration’s handling of a number of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of natural disasters. Beshear said, “We’ve been through a lot these past four years, and some days have been tougher than others, but I will always show up to help the people of Kentucky. … Bringing thousands of good paying jobs to the commonwealth, 46 thousand more jobs than before the pandemic; clean drinking water to folks who’ve been overlooked and underserved; and making sure communities across Kentucky have what they need to recover from natural disasters.”
  • Attorney General Daniel Cameron: Cameron has served as attorney general since 2019, when he defeated Gregory Stumbo (D) 58% to 42%. He is the state’s first Black attorney general. Cameron previously worked as a law clerk and as legal counsel to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R).
    • Cameron has criticized Beshear’s policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and has highlighted lawsuits he’s brought against the Beshear and Biden administrations. Cameron said, “When Andy Beshear decided to shut down churches, I went into federal court and got churches reopened in nine days. When he instituted his travel ban and told people they couldn’t leave the state without coming back in quarantine for 14 days, I went into federal court and got that executive order struck down as well.” 

Abortion has been a central issue in the race. At an Oct. 16 debate, Beshear and Cameron said:

  • Beshear: “My opponent’s position gives a rapist more rights than their victim. It is wrong. We need to change this law. We need to make sure that those individuals have that option.”
  • Cameron: “I’m the pro-life candidate and I’ve said that Andy Beshear is the abortion candidate. I’ve also said that if the legislature were to give me a bill with exceptions in it, I would certainly sign it. But Andy Beshear wants no limits on abortion.”

Abortion is banned at the point of conception in Kentucky. 

Kentucky—alongside Kansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina—is one of four states with a Democratic governor that former President Donald Trump (R) won in 2020. That year, Trump defeated Joe Biden (D) 62% to 36% in Kentucky. The last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Kentucky was former President Bill Clinton in 1996. At the state level, Democratic governors have led Kentucky for 64 of the past 76 years. The state has elected three Republican governors since World War II—in 1967, 2003, and 2015—each of whom served a single term.

The lieutenant governor is also up for election. In Kentucky, gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates run as a ticket. Beshear named current Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman (D) as his running-mate, while Cameron named State Sen. Robby Mills (R).

Kentucky is one of nine states where the gubernatorial candidate selects a lieutenant governor and runs on a single ticket in the primary and general elections. 

Click below to read more about Kentucky’s gubernatorial election. 

Keep reading

An update on presidential election campaign finance  

There are, roughly, three months left until the expected start of the presidential primaries. We’re constantly updating our 2024 presidential election hub with the latest information on candidates, dates and deadlines, campaign announcements, and more, so bookmark that page to stay up to date on the latest news. 

The FEC’s quarterly campaign finance deadline was Oct. 15 (covering activity through Sept. 30).

Democratic candidates

President Biden (D) leads the Democratic field with $45 million in cumulative receipts.

Receipts is a broad term for all money that goes into a campaign account. While individual contributions often make up most of a campaign’s receipts, money can also come from other sources such as loans taken out by the campaign or transfers of money from other political committees, such as party committees or joint fundraising committees.

Contributions from individuals make up a majority of Williamson’s fundraising (91%), while a majority of Biden’s fundraising has come from transfers from other political committees (65%). Most of these transfers are from the Biden Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee. Joint fundraising committees raise money for multiple candidates or organizations. Regular donation limits still apply when the fundraising is dispersed to the candidates and organizations, but donors can make a single donation to the joint committee up to the combined donation limit for the candidates and organizations participating in the joint committee, rather than making multiple donations to multiple candidates and organizations.

Republican candidates

Former President Donald Trump (R) leads the Republican field with $57 million in cumulative receipts.

Individual contributions make up a majority of seven active Republican candidates’ receipts. A majority of Trump’s receipts come from transfers from other political action committees (94%). Most of these transfers are from the Trump Save America joint fundraising committee. A majority of Binkley’s (89%), Burgum’s (87%), Johnson’s (86%), and Ramaswamy’s (57%) receipts come from loans from the candidate.

Comparison to other election cycles

Here’s how the top five fundraisers across both the Democratic and Republican primaries stack up against the top five fundraisers at this point in the 2020 and 2016 campaigns. Receipts from 2020 and 2016 have been adjusted for inflation.

Learn more about campaign finance in the 2024 presidential election at the link below. 

Keep reading

#FridayTrivia: How many members of the U.S. House have announced they aren’t running for re-election in 2024?

On Oct. 17, U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) announced she would not run for re-election in 2024. Lesko was first elected to Congress in a special election in 2018. 

In light of that announcement, we gave you an overall update on congressional retirements in the Wednesday Brew. We noted retirement numbers in the House are the lowest they’ve been at this point in the year compared to the last three election cycles. 

Five U.S. Senators—three Democrats and two Republicans—have announced they’re not running for re-election in 2024. That’s the same number of U.S. Senators who announced their retirement in the 2022 cycle. 

How many members of the U.S. House have announced they aren’t running for re-election in 2024?

  1. 10
  2. 16
  3. 6
  4. 22