LOUISVILLE (AP) — The latest on Kentucky’s general election, including the nation’s most competitive campaign for governor.
Republican Matt Bevin has defeated Democrat Jack Conway to become only the second Republican Kentucky governor in four decades.
Independent Drew Curtis was a distant third in Tuesday’s election.
Republicans have dominated federal elections in Kentucky, but moderate Democrats have maintained control of state government. Bevin’s election gives Republicans control of the executive branch along with a commanding majority in the state Senate. Democrats still have an eight-seat majority in the state House of Representatives.
Focus will almost immediately shift to the state House elections in 2016, where U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has vowed to flex his powerful fundraising muscle to Republicans to take over the only southern state legislative body controlled by Democrats.
Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of Kentucky’s governor, has been elected the state’s next attorney general — a job once held by his father.
Beshear defeated Republican lawmaker Whitney Westerfield on Tuesday, capping an expensive, hard-fought campaign for the job as Kentucky’s chief law enforcement officer. Beshear, a 37-year-old lawyer making his first run for office, is the son of two-term Gov. Steve Beshear.
Andy Beshear says his priorities will include combating child abuse, drug abuse and scams targeting older Kentuckians.
The campaign turned into dueling arguments that the other candidate lacked experience for the job.
Beshear criticized Westerfield’s lack of appellate experience and representation of debt collectors.
Westerfield pointed to Beshear’s lack of prosecutorial experience.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has defeated a little-known Republican challenger in her bid for re-election.
Grimes, well-known in the state for her unsuccessful bid last year to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, ran a low-key campaign for a second term.
Her opponent, Steve Knipper, a former city council member in Erlanger, criticized her for running for the Senate just 18 months after she was first elected as secretary of state.
Grimes, a Lexington lawyer before her political career, responded by pointing to her record since taking office in 2012: She has overseen the registration of 100,000 new businesses in Kentucky; led a $10 million upgrade of the state’s online business portal and has pushed for several voting access improvements in the legislature.
Republican Allison Ball has been elected as Kentucky’s next state treasurer, winning a matchup of candidates from Appalachia.
Ball, a bankruptcy attorney from Prestonsburg, defeated Democratic state Rep. Rick Nelson of Middlesboro.
Ball says her background helping people through bankruptcies has prepared her to be a watchdog of state finances.
The treasurer balances the state’s checkbook, collects and returns unclaimed property and handles other financial duties. The treasurer also serves on the state lottery board, the State Investment Commission and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System board of directors.
The incumbent state treasurer, Democrat Todd Hollenbach, is finishing his second term and can’t serve again because of term limits.
Longtime Letcher County Circuit Judge Sam Wright has been elected to the state Supreme Court after a bitter campaign.
Wright beat Janet Stumbo, a former Supreme Court justice now on the state’s Court of Appeals, in a race that drew ire from campaign watchers who push for decorum in judicial elections.
Wright described himself as a “law and order judge” and painted his opponent as a liberal jurist who “sides with criminals.” Judicial races in Kentucky are nonpartisan, and Stumbo defended her record as being willing to make unpopular decisions if the law requires it.
Wright campaigned on his two decades of experience as a trial court judge and his success building a drug court program, which he said drastically cut rates of recidivism in Letcher County.
Incumbent Auditor Adam Edelen, considered a rising star in the state Democratic party, has been ousted by voters, who chose instead to elect Republican state lawmaker Mike Harmon as the state’s chief financial watchdog.
Harmon, an insurance agent from Danville, has served 13 years in the state House of Representatives.
His victory Tuesday was a stunning blow to state Democrats: Harmon raised far less money than the Democratic incumbent, who was seen as a potential challenger to Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in next year’s Senate race.
Harmon tried to paint Edelen as a career politician using the auditor’s office as a steppingstone to higher office. He pledged to rid the office of the “liberal agenda” and instill conservative values by scrutinizing every dollar the government spends.
Republican state Rep. Ryan Quarles has defeated his Democratic rival in a hard-fought race to be Kentucky’s next agriculture commissioner.
Quarles campaigned on his farming pedigree: He raised crops on his family’s central Kentucky farm to help pay for college, where he studied agricultural economics on his way to becoming a lawyer.
The 31-year-old lawmaker from Georgetown narrowly won the Republican nomination. In the general election, he faced Democrat Jean-Marie Lawson Spann, an agribusiness executive and host of a long-running weekly radio show on farm issues.
The two battled to replace Republican James Comer, who opted to run for governor instead of seeking re-election. He narrowly lost to Matt Bevin in the Republican primary.
Quarles will oversee the agency with a $17 million budget and 225 employees.
The Kentucky attorney general’s office says the election fraud hotline received 52 complaints from 27 counties during voting in the general election.
Many of the calls involved questions about procedural issues or legal questions, but there was one call from Perry County about vote buying or selling and a half-dozen other counties produced calls about general election fraud.
Kentucky voters went to the polls Tuesday to choose a governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer and agriculture commissioner.
Matt Bevin defeated Jack Conway in the governor’s race with 52 percent of the vote as Republicans continued their slow takeover of Kentucky politics.