On Super Tuesday, Confident Trump Woos Kentucky Crowd

Trump, in Kentucky, finds support from voters disillusioned with Washington and demanding change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Republican front-runner Donald Trump, looking to do well in Super Tuesday presidential primaries and beyond, promised to protect issues that voters  say they’re tired of seeing Washington neglect.  

“I’m ready for change, and I think he’s the one who can do it,” said Karen Dohn, 65, as she watched a crowd of a couple of thousand file into Louisville’s International Convention Center on Tuesday.  

Beshear Looks Back, Forward on Kentucky's Political Landscape

Beshear talks to reporters in 2014 after attending a caucus meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Joseph Crowley to tout his state's health care reform success. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

In 2014, Steve Beshear sat in the first lady’s box during the State of the Union as President Barack Obama applauded the Democratic governor’s work on health care in Kentucky. Just two years later, Beshear is out of office and feuding with his Republican successor, who vowed to undo his work.  

"And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who's here tonight," said Obama, referencing the Affordable Care Act. "Kentucky's not the most liberal part of the country. That's not where I got my highest vote totals. But he is like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth's families."  

Kentucky Governor Restores Thousands of Ex-Felons' Right to Vote

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As Kentucky Gov. Steven L. Beshear, a Democrat, prepares to leave office, he is attempting to leave his mark on an issue that has made his state an outlier.  

On Tuesday, he issued an executive order that put in place an automatic process to restore voting rights to nonviolent, ex-felons once they have completed their sentence — a move that might allow 170,000 more Kentuckians the right to register to vote.  Kentucky is one of four states — along with Iowa, Florida and Virginia – in which people with felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised in their state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . Last year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe took a similar action  to the one taken Tuesday by Beshear.  

Outsider Bevin Hires Insider Chief of Staff

Establishment Republicans gave Bevin's chief of staff choice high marks. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Maybe Republican Matt Bevin isn’t going to burn down Frankfort after all.  

The Kentucky Republican rocked the GOP establishment by challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in last year’s primary and irked some party strategists this year by running his gubernatorial campaign strictly on his own terms.  

Is Vitter on the Verge of Losing Everything?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana isn’t anywhere close to belonging on a list of swing states, yet Republican David Vitter is at risk of losing not only his gubernatorial race this month, but also his Senate seat next year.  

The Pelican State’s senior senator has struggled to unify the Republican vote after finishing second in the Oct. 24 jungle primary with just 23 percent. He trails Democrat John Bel Edwards in multiple public polls heading into the Nov. 21 runoff. Vitter’s numbers have dipped to a point where, should he lose, some Republicans will want him to drop his bid for re-election to the Senate in 2016 because they are concerned he could put the seat at risk of a Democratic takeover. Republicans are already defending senators in blue and purple states, and GOP strategists don’t want to have to spend money in a state where President Barack Obama received 41 percent in 2012.  

What Does Bevin’s Victory Mean for Vitter?


Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race is yet another sobering reminder that polling is a risky business. And for some Republicans, Kentucky could be a glimmer of hope for GOP Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid in Louisiana.  

Did Bevin 'Trump' Conway in Kentucky? Not Quite

With his wife Glenna Bevin, center, and Lieutenant Governor-elect Jenean Hampton, right, looking on, Kentucky Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin, speaks to his supporters at the Republican Party victory celebration, Tuesday,  in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Update: 5:17 p.m. | If you ask Democrats in Washington, the blame for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's stunning loss Tuesday night to Republican Matt Bevin falls on the unpopularity of political insiders during a year in which outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson are leading Republican presidential primary polls.  

“Unfortunately, he ran into the unexpected headwinds of Trump-mania, losing to an outsider candidate in the Year of the Outsider," said Elisabeth Pearson, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, a group which spent around $5 million in Conway's favor, in a statement after the election.  

Election Day 2015: Republicans Win Big

Bevin speaks to supporters Tuesday night as his wife Glenna, center, and Lt. Gov.-elect Jenean Hampton listen (Photo By Timothy D. Easley/AP)

In a major blow to Democrats who have struggled to hold their ground in a once reliable part of the country, Republican businessman Matt Bevin beat Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway in their race for the state’s governor’s mansion.  

The Kentucky race was among a number of races across the country in an off-year election that political observers use as a bellwether for a full slate of elections, including the one for the White House, in 2016.  

What the Heck Happened to Rand Paul?

Paul has become just another candidate back in the pack, waiting for his inevitable exit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I never expected Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul would win his party’s nomination for president, but I did expect he would be a factor in the race. So far, he hasn’t been one. (See my February column on his foreign policy challenges here .)  

While Paul’s father never was a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2012, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul proved to be a strong fundraiser who was able to compete in low-turnout caucus states where his dedicated supporters showed energy and a deep commitment.  

RGA Going Back on Air in Kentucky for Matt Bevin

The RGA pulled ads supporting Bevin about three weeks ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 9:05 a.m. | Nearly three weeks after pulling its advertising from the Bluegrass State's airwaves, the Republican Governors Association will go back on the air for the final two weeks of the hotly contested race for the keys to the Kentucky Governor's Mansion, a source told CQ Roll Call.  

On Monday evening, a source close to the RGA said the group sees the race between Republican Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway as winnable, and said it will be back on television there through Election Day. The source said the RGA will transfer $1.6 million back to the state for a television, digital and direct mail campaign attacking Conway. The 30-second spot features a video of President Barack Obama saying “policies are on the ballot” for voters when they are considering candidates.