Off year elections seldom resonate with the power brokers in Washington.
This off year there is one race that is certain to get their attention.
Matt Bevin woke up this morning as the newly elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He becomes the first Republican to win the Kentucky governor’s mansion in four decades.
Bevin is multi-millionaire and a political outsider. Until yesterday his political claim to fame was a failed Tea Party challenge for Mitch McConnell’s senate seat in the 2014 mid-terms. McConnell destroyed him. When the polls opened yesterday Bevin trailed his Democrat opponent, Jack Conway by 5 points. The talking class all but ruled him finished; his outsider status, lagging poll numbers and IRS issues deemed wounds too fatal to overcome.
Kentucky voters discounted all of that and handed him the win…by 9 points.
Bevin is not the guy that the moderate Republican establishment want to see in power. Neither do the Democrats.
Bevin appealed to the far right fringe. Bevin is pro-life…wants to defund Planned Parenthood…and campaigned hard against gay marriage.
But the number one message that he carried throughout the campaign was a call to repeal Obamacare. Bevin made it clear that if elected his first priority would be to cut back on the state’s Medicaid expansion, shut down its state run insurance exchange and end Obamacare.
Under current Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has become the poster child for all that is good about Obamacare. Beshear accepted the expansion of Medicaid and established Kynect; the state run insurance exchange. Kynect has been incredibly successful; the most successful state run exchange in the nation. Today, over $480,000+ previously uninsured Kentuckians have health care coverage through the exchange.
Bevin says he will tear it all down. He has yet to explain what if anything he will do to replace it.
Matt Bevin’ election will send a shiver through the political elites on both sides of the aisle. Will his “outsider” triumph be a political outlier or a harbinger of things to come in the 2016 general election?
You can be sure that the power brokers on both sides of the aisle will be watching Bevin’s first 100 days in office with keen interest.