Tomorrow is primary day in Kentucky’s statewide races. Democrats will select their gubernatorial nominee, and they feel optimistic about their chances of knocking off incumbent GOP governor Matt Bevin in November. Four Democrats are running for governor: state representative Rocky Adkins, state attorney general Andy Beshear — the son of Bevin’s predecessor, Steve Beshear — former state auditor Adam Edelen, and activist Geoff Young.
Bevin’s job-approval numbers in recent polls are low, and he faces a primary challenge from state Representative Robert Goforth — who’s pledging to “change the tone in Frankfort” — as well as two other lesser-known candidates. While Bevin is favored to win the primary, tomorrow night could provide a useful indicator of how many Kentucky Republicans are disgruntled with Bevin.
Most Democrats expect Republicans to be reasonably unified as November approaches, and Bevin is likely to call in pre-November support from President Trump, who calls Bevin “a very special friend of mine, a really successful guy.” Turnout in tomorrow’s primaries is expected to be low, but it may provide the state GOP some useful data on where enthusiasm for the top of the ticket is lacking. Bevin surprised the state with a surprisingly solid win in 2016, beating former state attorney general Jack Conway 53 percent to 44 percent.
Tomorrow is also the day for a special House election in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, which covers the north-central portion of the state. In January, five-term incumbent Tom Marino surprised his district and colleagues by announced his resignation. In a subsequent interview, he said his decision was partially driven by health issues from past kidney surgery.
The local parties selected their nominees; the GOP selected state Representative Fred Keller as their nominee. The Democrats selected Marc Friedenberg as their nominee. This is a heavily Republican district, scoring a R+17 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index. Marino won in 2018, 66 percent to 34 percent.