Perry voters go red, choose against apparent gubernatorial winner

Attorney General Andy Beshear speaks at this year’s Hillbilly Days Festival in Pikeville. Statewide results indicated Beshear won Tuesday’s general election for governor, beating Republican Matt Bevin, who had not conceded the race as of presstime Wednesday. Beshear may have won statewide, but fared less well in Perry County, where voters gave a wide margin of victory to all Republican candidates for statewide office.

While Gov. Matt Bevin had not conceded the governor’s race to Attorney General Andy Beshear as of presstime Wednesday, the unofficial vote total showed that Beshear was maintaining a 5,189-vote lead following Tuesday’s general election.

Beshear appears to have been the only Democrat, however, to have taken statewide office Tuesday.

Despite statewide results, Perry County went “red” Tuesday, giving healthy victory margins locally to not only down-ticket Republican candidates, but also Bevin, with a nearly 36 percent voter turnout.

Polls reportedly suggested that the race was nearly tied prior to the election, and Beshear and Bevin both spent the week leading up to the election in Eastern Kentucky counties, with both candidates talking about the importance of obtaining votes in rural areas and others describing Eastern Kentucky as a battleground region for the race.

Bevin made numerous trips to Eastern Kentucky, including an August visit to the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville, where he was joined by Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump.

During that visit, Trump Jr. tied Bevin’s election to his father’s work.

“(Bevin) is a local extension of what my father is trying to do for the country,” Trump Jr. said during the event.

Other visits by the governor included groundbreaking ceremonies, check presentations and other events.

As recently as Saturday, Bevin and other officials gathered in Perry County to break ground on a proposed facility which has promised hundreds of jobs coming to the area.

In an interview recently with Appalachian Newspapers, Bevin answered criticisms about the recent visits by saying that he has long been a supporter of the region.

“We have (money) pouring into Eastern Kentucky into infrastructure, into roads, into water, into sewer, into economic development, the likes of which has not been seen ... at least for many decades, and we’re doing this intentionally,” Bevin said. “And for those who literally have only begun to notice it for the past couple of moths, I wonder where they’ve been and why they’ve been asleep as to what’s been going on for the past three-and-a-half years.”

Beshear accused the governor of selling “false hope.”

“This governor sold false hope to Pike County,” Beshear said. “In all the numbers he puts out there about jobs and investments, do you know what he still includes? EnerBlu, a company that he claimed was going to be a reality, that I had concerns of from the start. He said there was going to be hundreds of jobs and a hundred-million dollars of investment, never got off the ground. Instead, he sold false hope to Pike County and to Eastern Kentucky.”

In down-ticket races, Perry County voters voted along with the statewide results, choosing Republican candidates for Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor of Public Accounts, State Treasurer and Commissioner of Agriculture.

The unofficial results in Perry County were:

GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Matthew G. Bevin/Ralph A. Alvarado (REP): 3855

Andy Beshear/Jacqueline Coleman (DEM): 3183

John Hicks/Ann Cormican (LIB): 114

SECRETARY OF STATE

Michael G. Adams (REP): 4176

Heather French Henry (DEM): 2872

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Daniel Cameron (REP): 4234

Gregory D. Stumbo (DEM): 2871

AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

Mike Harmon (REP): 4246

Sheri Donahue (DEM): 2459

Kyle Hugenberg (LIB): 177

STATE TREASURER

Allison Ball (REP): 4516

Michael Bowman (DEM): 2465

COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE

Ryan F. Quarles (REP): 4286

Robert Haley Conway (DEM): 2515

Josh Gilpin (LIB): 165

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