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KY-Gov Results

Democrats got exactly what they wanted last night in the Kentucky governor's race. Embattled Gov. Ernie Fletcher won the Republican primary while former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear narrowly avoided a runoff on the Democratic side.

Fletcher took the first step in what would be a remarkable political comeback by taking 50 percent of the vote in his three-way race against former Rep. Anne Northup and businessman Billy Harper. Northup, who held the Louisville-area 3rd district from 1996 until 2006, received 36.5 percent and Harper took 13 percent.

As we wrote yesterday, the results make clear that there was a significant anti-Fletcher vote (Northup and Harper combined won roughly 50 percent of the total votes cast). But by splitting that segment of the electorate Northup and Harper nearly ensured a Fletcher victory.

Beshear's outright win was more surprising. Given the six-candidate field it seemed more likely that Beshear and 2003 candidate Bruce Lunsford would face off in a June 26 runoff. But Beshear took 41 percent -- one percent more than he needed to secure the nomination without a runoff. Lunsford was a distant second with 21 percent and former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry placed third with 17 percent.

The Fletcher-Beshear matchup will almost certainly be a referendum on Fletcher's first term and the pay to play scandal that led to the resignations of a number of the governor's top aides. Beshear is a known commodity in the state -- he has served in the state House, run for governor in 1987 and for Senate in 1996 -- and represents a steady hand at the tiller.

Fletcher found a way to convince Republican voters that he was the victim in the scandal but that argument will be a much tougher sell in a general election. Beshear begins the general election as a slight favorite but, as Fletcher showed in the primary, it's hard to overestimate the power of incumbency.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 23, 2007; 12:47 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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I wonder if Ernie Fletcher has sent Billy Harper a thank you note yet? Billy forgot Kentucky had one governor who tried to run the state like a business several years ago and that was John Y. Brown, Jr.

Posted by: Paducahdry | May 25, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Was that heading KY results in the government?Or The Gov.use of KY?I'm so mixed up."Link

Posted by: Link1 | May 24, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean is a lunatic and so is the so-called "Net-Roots", a group of people with "imaginary friends"

Posted by: Sandy | May 23, 2007 10:59 PM

Posted by: Rich in irony considering the source | May 23, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean is a lunatic and so is the so-called "Net-Roots", a group of people with "imaginary friends"

Posted by: Sandy | May 23, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I spent hours watching the election returns coming in. With 99.9% of precincts completed, Beshear won 40.9% of the vote to Lunsford's 21.4%. Lunsford said that even if Beshear falls below 40% in the official count, he would not challenge him in a runoff. He then took the oppurtunity to endorse Beshear gracefully (instead of Fletcher out of spite) which may mean Lunsford is interested in another race in the future, because his gracious and quick endorsement could be to bring the liberals to like him again. Perhaps he could challenge Sen. McConnell in 2008 or run for a House seat. The first returns showed Fletcher with 65%, then soon afterward showed Northup with 65%. Northup's numbers slowly went down and down, until she led the Gov. by 3 pts. Then she trailed by 3 pts. Then Fletcher continued to gain until Northup had no hope. Also, Beshear began with nearly 50%. That number dropped slowly but steadily, and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if Beshear would fall below 40%. If Northup isn't ready to leave politics, her best hope would be to challenge her successor, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY-3) for reelection in '08. The general election should be interesting as well......I wonder if any post-primary polls have come out yet.

Posted by: J Perez | May 23, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

"some idiotic person "

stop talking about me zouk. you aren't fooling anyone

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

that was him. did you see him?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I think that clearly all of these election results were really a big victory for the "Net-Roots" and Howard Dean and the Democratic Party. I don't know why I'm saying that, other than the fact that some idiotic person will likely make that ludicrous claim later today anyway, so why not get it out of the way now

Posted by: Sandy | May 23, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Am I conversing with myself again? that Zouk is always disturbing me, even when he's not here. some think I am always disturbed but I know that wicked zouk is watching and waiting to pounce.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, |, I must say that you confuse "conservative" with "fascist." On this list, only Zouk qualifies, IMO. Razorback and JD I do not often agree with, but they at least are willing to back up and discuss their opinions. And I honestly have no idea what Cillizza's leanings are, nor do I really care.

But Zouk, yes... although I doubt he could make the trains run on time.. He would first have to learn to spell the word "locomotive."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

What about the Nevada Governer? let's talk about him today, since we're talking governers. Took money gifts and vacations for defense contracts in reno. The right continues to sell their souls. As well as the blood of our BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I hope you right-wingers making all this money of the blood of our people love you BMW's. I hope you enjoy your nice warm beds tonight. I hope the souls of the dead enter your dreams and haunt you forever.

Posted by: Rufus1133 | May 23, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: rufus1133 JKrish | May 23, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

who cares about ky, really? Seriously.

What about the relevant topics of the day? Why does CC and the rest of you right-wingers live in a cave. How do you people sleep at night, knowing what's happening to our country right now? HOw do you do it? GUILT IS GOD.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I would be interested to know more about Beshear. A quick internet search seems to indicate he is relatively progressive for a KY Democrat, but I'm not really sure what that means. Either way he's better than Fletcher, from my vantage point, but this is particularly exciting if he's relatively liberal.

Posted by: Colin | May 23, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, | , you chose to lump me in with CC. I'm honored.

Posted by: JD | May 23, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Kentucky has a Democratic registration advantage even though they may vote Republican on the state or Federal level. Republicans need to win the DINOs. Fletcher's latest SUSA shows him with 53% approval among Republicans - roughly the amount that he won yesterday. He has a 25% approval among Democrats and 38% approval amond independents.
He cannot win with that types of approval numbers among Democrats who he will need to get votes from.

Posted by: gomer | May 23, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

this must be your first day on this site bluemeanies. Wait until you see the facists in action (razor Zouk, jd, CHris Cillizza). Lies, propoganda. Just trying to keep the facsists honest

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Majority of House Supports Verifiable Elections
Holt Legislation Would Require Voter-Verified Paper Ballots, Routine Random Audits

Washington, D.C. -- Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today announced that the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 811), landmark legislation requiring electronic voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper ballot and routine random audits, has the support of a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Voting is the very foundation of our democracy," said Holt. "I am pleased that a majority of the House of Representatives recognizes that without a voter-verified paper ballot, the results of our elections will always be uncertain."

The bill is the product of cooperation and compromise between Rep. Holt, other Members of Congress, voting rights activists, election officials, and many more. Responding to concerns raised by state and county election officials, H.R. 811 provides for more flexibility in the timeline for implementation, and authorizes more federal funds to help pay for the transition. Responding to concerns raised by software manufacturers, the new bill provides for greater intellectual property protection of voting software. The bill expands privacy and independence gains achieved by voters with disabilities in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

There are only 6 states that would have to completely overhaul their voting systems in time for the November 2008 election. A dozen more would have to make changes in some counties. The rest were proactive and either are already compliant or have an extra two and a half years to make any necessary upgrades.

"This legislation is necessary, sensible, and practicable," said Holt. "All states can and should have verifiable voting systems by 2008."

The legislation is bipartisan with 20 Republican cosponsors. Republican governors in Maryland, Florida, and elsewhere have acted on a state level to require verifiability of elections.

"Our democracy only works if we believe that it does," said Holt. I hope and expect that Congress will move quickly to pass this legislation so that all voters can be confident that their votes are counted as cast."

Posted by: che | May 23, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it is within the Fix's mandate or responcibilities to be a one stop place for all matters of politics, administration, law, policy and so forth. The Fix rather consistently focuses on campaigns and elections and only touches on other things as they impact electability and campaigning. And thank goodness because otherwise the fix itself would resemble the near incoherent off-topicness that frequently makes the comments unreadable, if it didn't have a clear sense of purpose. I believe the benchconference and the capitol briefing will have the info and analysis you seek.

Posted by: bluemeanies | May 23, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Krish, switch to decaf. Liars and facists? Talk about painting with a broad brush...

Posted by: JD | May 23, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

What. Nothing on the Goodling hearing? Nothing on the Rove aide pleading the fifth because she is scared of getting jail time. She doesn't want to talk about the abermoff scandel. The right's time is up. Liars and facists. You are done for 10 years, maybe for good

Posted by: Krish | May 23, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

What is stunning is the level of the GOP's continued self-immolation.

After the Foley-Hastert scandal, after the stunning defeats in the 2006 election, they had a chance to place reformers such as Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in positions of leadership.

Instead, they stuck with crooked lobbyists such as John Boehner. Talk about slow learners!

Now this, the governor's mansion in Kentucky on a silver platter for the Democrats. Keep drinking out of the cesspool, GOP!

Posted by: filmex | May 23, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

take a look at those turnout numbers chris. The whole day was a huge win for the Democratic Party in Kentucky.

Posted by: will c | May 23, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Chris: You might note that Beshear also was state attorney general and lieutenant governor.

Posted by: Jon | May 23, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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