Bevin Goes Down Wrapped in Impeachment

US President Donald Trump (R) smiles behind Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin during a rally at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on November 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
November 5, 2019 8:56 p.m.

It appears that Republican Matt Bevin has gone down to defeat in the Kentucky governor’s race. Democrat Andy Beshear will be the state’s next governor. Republicans are having a solid night overall in the state. So it’s worth considering what this result means and what it doesn’t. Matt Bevin is many ways a toxic figure, even in a deep red state. He dismantled a very popular and successful implementation of the ACA. This is mainly about Bevin’s unpopularity, which was well earned.

Why it’s important is this: Bevin went all in on impeachment to get himself over the finish line. He brought in Trump for a caustic, aggressive rally last night to finish the sale. But it didn’t work. That’s a big deal.

It doesn’t mean Kentucky is trending against Republicans and it doesn’t mean impeachment is popular. But even in a state Trump won by 30 points nationalizing the race around impeachment wasn’t enough to turn a close race in Bevin’s favor. I actually thought it would be enough. Not because impeachment is bad politics for Democrats but because it stands to reason that in a very pro-Trump state the polarization around the issue could leveraged to Republican advantage. But again, it didn’t work.

You can never base too much on a single race. But this is a big thumbs down on Republican claims that impeachment is going to be an albatross around the necks of swing district Democrats.

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