(The Center Square) – One day after winning his second term, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday his vision for the next four years will be the same as the first four.
“I pledge today to continue to be a governor that serves everyone,” Beshear said in a press conference at the Capitol Rotunda. “I will never view the state as having red counties or blue counties, but just counties of our Kentucky families. These next four years are going to be a great opportunity. An opportunity to come together to move forward. Not right, not left, but forward.”
The Democrat defeated Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Republican challenger, earning 52.5% of the vote. Cameron had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
In a social media post, Trump blamed Cameron’s loss on his connection to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
“I moved him up 25 points, but the McConnell relationship was ‘too much to bear,’” Trump wrote.
According to unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office, Beshear held a lead of 67,174 votes out of more than 1.3 million ballots cast, with all but one of Kentucky’s 120 counties having completed their counts.
Beshear’s approach is a pragmatic one. While surveys show he’s one of the more popular governors in the U.S., he’s also surrounded by Republicans. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman ran on the same ticket and were the only Democrats to win in Kentucky’s statewide races Tuesday.
Also, the GOP holds supermajorities that can easily override any Beshear vetoes on their bills.
Still, Beshear was able to score some points on the election trail on a key Democratic issue – abortion. Kentucky is typically a pro-life state, but the governor campaigned in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Bluegrass State’s laws do not protect women who have become pregnant through rape or incest. A powerful ad from the Beshear campaign included a rape survivor who criticized Cameron’s position and the state’s current laws.
“I believe that the people of Kentucky have been very clear that they oppose what is the most restrictive law in the country, and in the very least, they want to see exceptions,” the governor said. “Our role as government, their role as a legislative body is to do the will of the people.”
Other issues Beshear hopes the legislature will take up when lawmakers return in January are raising salaries for public school teachers and passing universal pre-kindergarten.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, congratulated Beshear on his victory and said he hoped the governor would pledge to work with lawmakers who have a “co-equal branch of government” along with Beshear’s executive branch.
“We are committed to the conservative values and policies we have championed since 2017,” Stivers said. “Our constituents can remain confident we will bring forth legislation to protect Kentucky families from some of the extreme agendas of the Beshear and Biden administrations.”