Election 2011; What Does It Mean?

Well, to the surprise of no one in Kentucky, Steve Beshear has been re-elected Governor by a landslide.

Beshear was a big winner

In fact, on the surface, Democrats seemed to sweep the statewide races with only two exceptions. Republican James Comer easily defeated Bob Farmer to win the office of Agriculture Commissioner. BUT, the GOP has to be kicking itself a bit today because it missed a golden opportunity to knock off Todd Hollenbach in the Treasurer’s race. Relative newcomer K.C. Crosbie lost by a one percent margin. She had very little support from a state party that seemed hell-bent on backing other candidates, but largely ignored her. With just a bit of help she could have taken the incumbent out.

What does any of this mean for the immediate future? Well it means a nasty 2012 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly for one thing. Senate President David Williams, who lost to the Governor last night, tried to sound conciliatory in his concession, and he did seem pretty gracious. But if Beshear tries to use a double digit win as a legislative mandate, this session could be ugly all around. Couple that with a possibility Williams could face a challenge to his leadership spot and this should at least be entertaining to political watchers.

It also begs the question–“What happens in the NEXT Governor’s race?” Well Jerry Abramson will have a term as Lt. Governor under his belt by then and could be the front runner for the Dems, but on the GOP side things may get scrambled. It’s possible Comer can build his power base to the point he could run for the top spot, but aside from him , the GOP has no rising stars on its horizon in Kentucky. Meanwhile Democrats seem to have a wealth of candidate possibilities even if Abramson opts out. Attorney General Jack Conway won easily last night after a tough loss to Rand Paul last year, so he could be in the mix. Not to mention newly elected Secretary Of State Alison Lundergan-Grimes, who showed serious muscle on the campaign trail and at the polls.

It’s a long time until 2015, and a lot can happen, but you can bet GOP watchers are scratching their heads and looking for SOMEONE to rise to the top of the heap. Either in the General Assembly, or from grass-roots support.