In a surprising turn of events, Kentucky has elected a Democratic governor who supports the LGBTQ+ community. Democrat Andy Beshear won in a narrow victory against Republican incumbent Matt Bevin, the New York Times reports.
Gov. Matt Bevin was no friend to the LGBTQ+ community. One of his first acts in office was to make it easier for anti-LGBTQ+ county clerk Kim Davis to refuse to approve gay couples for marriage. Bevin continued to vocally support Davis’ homophobic policies throughout his time in office. He was also staunchly opposed to job discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people and signed a bill allowing student groups at high schools and public universities to exclude LGBTQ+ people.
Bevin also happened to be one of the least popular governors in the nation.
“Bevin’s approval has plummeted over cuts in government services he pushed for and his brash handling of a teacher walkout, calling protestors ‘selfish’ and ‘ignorant,’ and blaming them for hypothetical sexual assaults and the actual shooting of a 7-year-old girl,” the New York Times writes.
Still, Andy Beshear’s victory comes as a bit of a shock. This is the same state that elected Trump by 30 points in 2016, after all. The outcome of this governor race could have major implications for the 2020 presidential election.
Beshear formerly served as attorney general. He was the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Kentucky.
Beshear made his support of the LGBTQ+ community part of his campaign platform. “Discrimination is wrong and it’s time to turn the page on a governor who seeks to divide us and demean those he disagrees with,” he wrote in a statement on his website.
After ousting Bevin, Beshear told supporters that his victory sent a positive message. “That our values, and how we treat each other is still more important than our party,” he said. “That what unites us as Kentuckians is still stronger than any national divisions.”
Bevin is still refusing to concede victory.