State house and senate in Democratic hands, while Kentucky governor vote too close to call
Democrats have taken full control of the legislature in Virginia for the first time in more than two decades as a hotly contested governor’s race in Kentucky remained too close to call, in elections that will be seen as a blow to the president, Donald Trump.
In Kentucky, the Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear, declared victory even as the Republican incumbent, Matt Bevin, refused to concede.
In Virginia, Democrats won both the state house and state senate, with suburban voters turning out in big numbers to back Democratic candidates, continuing a trend of flipping districts that were once GOP-friendly. Democratic pickups in Virginia occurred in Washington and Richmond suburbs that already had trended in the party’s direction in recent years.
“I’m here to officially declare today, November 5 2019, that Virginia is officially blue,” the Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, told a crowd of supporters in Richmond.
Beshear declared himself the winner in Kentucky after securing 49.2% of the vote to Bevin’s 48.8%, telling voters that his performance was a message that elections were still about “right versus wrong” instead of right versus left. As of late Tuesday night, Beshear led Bevin by a margin of more than 5,000 votes.
But Bevin, who took the stage at the Republican party across town, called it a “close, close race” and said he was not conceding “by any stretch”. “We want the process to be followed, and there is a process,” he said.
Bevin, who was elected in 2015, had portrayed the election as a referendum on Trump, who stumped for the governor at a rally in Kentucky on Monday night and called Beshear “too liberal, too extreme and too dangerous”.
At the rally, Trump told the crowd: “If you lose, it sends a really bad message … you can’t let that happen to me.”