Expert: voters preferred incumbent Democrats

Haley Russell
Assistant News Editor

In this year’s gubernatorial election on Tuesday, all but one office was filled by a Democrat.

Other than James Comer, the newly elected Republican Commissioner of Agriculture, the election results were both similar to the previous term and expected by election officials.

James Clinger, professor of political science, said there was no expectation of changing offices and because of this; the election will not have a significant impact on the local government.

“Mostly Democrats were elected but they mostly held those offices before,” he said. “So, in a sense, there’s not a lot of change in the partisan make up of the state government.”

Because of their previous offices, several of the officers were incumbent candidates, making it difficult for their Republican opponents to climb in the polls, Clinger said.

The result of Republican loss could be because of the lack of interest the Tea Party took in the general elections when Phil Moffett, their preferred candidate, lost to Sen. David Williams, Clinger said.

Along with Democrat Alison Grimes, the newly elected Secretary of State, Clinger said he expects Kentuckians will see Jack Conway, second term Attorney General mature his political career by running for a higher office such as governor or state senator.

“I think if there’s going to be some innovation, it will be new things being done by Attorney General (Jack Conway),” he said. “He clearly is someone who is ambitious and looks like he wants to run again and maybe for governor…He may be doing things to make a name for himself to advance his political career.”

Kentucky has seen many Attorney Generals go on to become governor, as Gov. Beshear has done and Clinger said because of Conway’s youth, this is a possibility.

Clinger said nothing was exceptional about this particular election when compared to prior races.

“The basic pattern of the vote was pretty much the same,” he said.

Clinger said he will be interested in next year’s elections if the Republicans get more organized and support stronger candidates.

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