Good work, Kentucky! In a surprise result, right-wing extremist Matt Bevin appears to have won the governor's race there by a solid margin and strange wins in strange places.
Given the sharp rightward trend in the Bluegrass State in recent years, Republicans had an excellent chance to pick up this seat with Gov. Steve Beshear forced out by term limits, but Bevin did everything he could to piss away his chances. A lazy fundraiser with a thin skin, even the Republican Governors Association temporarily abandoned him an effort to whip him into shape with some "tough love." Perhaps it worked, or perhaps Kentucky's long march toward the GOP was just too much for Conway to overcome—and enough to help carry Bevin over the top.
Detractors also criticized Conway for running a weak campaign, and he's often been viewed as too-slick candidate who doesn't connect well with voters. But his failings were never as obvious as those of Bevin, who excelled at pissing off members of his own party in dramatic fashion. Conway may also have been hurt by the left-leaning independent candidacy of Drew Curtis, founder of the humor website Fark.com, who is currently taking 4 percent of the vote, though that's not enough to be a difference-maker.
What does this mean for Kentucky? Well, expect a complete rollback of all ACA improvements made in that state, beginning with Steve Beshear's Medicaid expansion by executive order.
About 400,000 Kentuckians have qualified for Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act's more generous standards, and approximately 100,000 more signed up for private health insurance policies through Kynect, according to a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Families. The share of Kentucky residents without health coverage fell more than 11 percentage points between the end of 2013 and June 2015, Gallup reported in August. Only Arkansas experienced greater improvement, with its uninsured rate declining by more than 13 percentage points.
Evidently they couldn't get out to vote? It's too early to analyze everything, but as I watched returns I couldn't help but smell a rat. Other downticket Democrats are holding their leads, yet Conway lost those voters in key areas. That deserves further scrutiny.
Here's what I mean by that: