Kentucky Election Results: live updates on the race for governor and more
Stay on top of the returns as votes come in for Kentucky's race for governor and other statewide offices. For live voting results, click here.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear wins second term, defeating Trump-endorsed Republican AG Daniel Cameron
Democratic incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear has won a second term, fending off a challenge from Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Initial results show Beshear winning Kentucky's largest urban centers and large swathes of rural Kentucky, a marked difference from the performance of other Democrats running statewide races in recent years.
In his victory speech – that closely resembled his standard campaign stump speech – Beshear said his victory “sends a loud and clear message that candidates should run for something and not against someone. That hate politics should end right here and right now."
While the votes are still being counted in more than a dozen counties, Beshear appears poised to significantly expand on his 5,136 vote margin of victory from 2019.
One of his keys to victory this time around was central Kentucky, receiving 72% of the vote in Fayette County, where his 45,059 vote margin over Cameron was nearly 9,000 greater than his 2019 win.
Beshear also picked up two more victories in fast-growing neighboring counties where he also scored narrow victories in 2019 – though he won then this time with larger margins.
Beshear won Scott County by just 97 votes in 2019 – just half a percentage point – but picked up an impressive victory this time around, with a margin of 1,682 votes and 10 percentage points.
Scott County is the home of Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, who incorrectly guaranteed this summer that Beshear would not win the county a second time.
The incumbent Democrat also picked up a win in Madison County, where he won by just 74 votes in 2019. This time around, Beshear won by 932 votes and three percentage points.
Beshear also gained significant ground in the northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Kenton and Campbell, which make up nearly 10% of registered voters in the state.
The governor won for the second consecutive election in both Kenton and Campbell counties, but expanded his margin of victory in both. While he lost Boone County again, he performed better than last time, decreasing his margin of defeat by more than 1,200 votes.
In 2019, Beshear lost the three counties by a combined 3,745 votes. This time, Beshear won the counties by 555 votes.
Attorney General and Republican candidate Daniel Cameron conceded the governor’s race in a speech before supporters at the Marriott in downtown Louisville.
“Well that didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted it to,” he said to laughter from the crowd.
Cameron said he had just called Beshear to congratulate him.
“I know from his perspective and from all of our perspectives that we all want the same thing for our future generations: we want a better commonwealth,” he said.
He asked the crowd to pray for Beshear, his team and the state.
“Because at the end of the day, win, lose or draw, what ultimately matters is that we know that Christ is on the throne,” he said to applause.
While Cameron was endorsed by Donald Trump and his campaign heavily touted that support, he did not mention the former president in his concession speech.
No surprises in Louisville Metro Council special elections
Louisville Democrats held onto three seats in the special elections for Districts 3, 6 and 8. The winners are Shameka Parrish-Wright, a newcomer, and two representatives who were appointed earlier this year, Philip Baker and Ben Reno-Weber. Each will serve out what’s left of the terms of council members who vacated their seats for other political positions.
With these results, the Democrats retain their majority position with 17 seats out of 26. All the even-numbered seats are up for election next year, which means Baker and Reno-Weber will have to get back on the campaign trail soon if they want to serve a full four-year term.
Republican Russell Coleman will be Kentucky's next attorney general
Republican Russell Coleman wins race for attorney general over Democratic Rep. Pam Stevenson.
Coleman is a former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney from Louisville. During his victory speech he said he would represent “all” Kentuckians.
“We will protect your family, we will defend your rights and we will back the blue,” he said.
Clarksville town council candidate dies on election day
Over in Indiana, Clarksville Town Council at-large candidate David “Red” Worrall died shortly after collapsing while greeting voters outside of a polling place on Tuesday.
Worrall, a Republican, was taken to the hospital by ambulance and died a short time later.
“It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of David ‘Red’ Worrall, who passed away earlier this afternoon,” according to a statement from town officials.
Cameron scores narrow victories in Oldham, Shelby counties
Daniel Cameron received more votes than Beshear in two key counties east of Louisville, though Beshear continued to outperform his 2019 model there.
Cameron bested Beshear by just 225 votes in Oldham County, with a margin of victory that was less than one percentage point. That’s considerably less than Bevin’s margin of victory there in 2019, where the GOP incumbent won by five percentage points and 1,373 votes.
A similar trend emerged in neighboring Shelby County, where Cameron beat Beshear by five percentage points and 805 votes – less than Bevin’s victory margin of 10 percentage points and 1,682 votes in 2019.
Beshear picks up a big win in Kentucky’s third-largest county.
Beshear picked up a big victory in northern Kentucky for the second consecutive election, winning Kenton County with 53% of the vote and a margin of 2,765 votes.
This is a much larger victory for Beshear than 2019 when he bested Bevin by just one percentage point and 543 votes.
As we reported here earlier, Beshear also performed more than 1,000 votes better in neighboring Boone County than he did in 2019.
Beshear clears 72% of the vote in Kentucky's second-most populous county.
The vote count is complete in Fayette County, with Beshear running up the score over Cameron in the Democratic stronghold and performing even better than his 2019 win there.
Beshear won 72% of the vote in Fayette this time, leading Cameron by more than 45,000 votes. In 2019, the county that is the home to Lexington played a large role in his victory, but he won with only 65% and a margin of 36,482 votes.
Voting results are also starting to come in at a faster pace from the central time zone counties, with Beshear performing significantly better in Hopkins County, which has completed its vote count.
This year Beshear lost Hopkins County to Cameron by nine percentage points, or 1,139 votes. He still greatly outperformed his 2019 model, when he lost to Bevin by 19 percentage points and 2,666 votes – an improvement of roughly 1,500 votes.
Beshear underperforming in some rural counties
Several counties show Beshear underperforming his 2019 totals, though the margins remain small.
Cameron won Grant and Meade counties by larger margins than Bevin won in 2019, increasing the margins of victory by 124 votes and 340 votes, respectively.
Though Beshear beat Cameron by 238 votes in Marion County, that margin of victory was 130 votes less than in 2019.
Republican Treasurer Allison Ball wins State Auditor election
Two-term Republican Treasurer Allison Ball will be Kentucky's next state auditor.
Ball will replace outgoing GOP Auditor Mike Harmon, who is term-limited.
Ball is an attorney from Prestonsburg and said her experience as treasurer give her the experience necessary to be the state's chief financial watchdog.
"Now I am ready to go. I am ready to be your next state auditor," Ball said in her victory speech. "I know how to do this job and how to do it right."
In an interview for the Kentucky Public Radio Voter Guide, she said she wants to focus on problems in Kentucky’s largest school system, Jefferson County Public Schools, and audit the state's disaster relief funds.
Beshear gains ground in Republican stronghold
Cameron won the northern Kentucky Republican stronghold of Boone County with 56% of the vote.
However, there are more positive signs for Beshear in those totals. The incumbent Democrat lost by 4,824 votes, which was less than the 6,053 votes he lost by in 2019, despite losing by roughly the same number of percentage points.
These totals show Cameron underperforming Bevin from 2019 because roughly 1,000 fewer people voted this year.
Counties now reporting final vote totals
More than two dozen counties have reported their entire vote totals, according to the secretary of state’s website. Several show Cameron with more votes, but Beshear is outperforming his 2019 model.
In Anderson County, Cameron picked up 54% of the vote and won by 866 votes. However, Beshear’s percentage of the vote was four points higher than 2019, when he lost by 1,402 votes.
Likewise in Taylor County, where Beshear lost by 1,443 votes, about 600 votes less than his 2019 margin of defeat.
Beshear also has a hopeful sign from Fayette County, where an estimated 93% of the vote has been counted. He leads there with 72% and by roughly 45,000 votes – much larger than his 36,482 vote margin of victory in 2019 when he picked up 65% of the vote in the county.
Michael Adams wins second term as Kentucky's Republican secretary of state
Incumbent Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams defeated Democratic challenger Buddy Wheatley, according to the Associated Press.
Adams is an election lawyer from Paducah who gained bipartisan support after advocating for an expansion of early voting in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He drew the ire of some conservative colleagues for tamping down claims of election fraud after the 2020 election.
In his victory speech, Adams said Kentuckians "want to see what's in your heart and they want to see results," saying Kentuckians rejected a “negative campaign” by his opponent Buddy Wheatley.
“In just four years we’ve taken Kentucky from the bottom of election administration to the top, and thanks to your support we’ll continue to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” he said.
Early in his first term, Adams successfully pushed for a voter ID law that split Republicans and Democrats.
The Louisville Metro Council races on the ballot
There were three Louisville Metro Council special elections on the ballot. The winners will fill vacancies left by council members who left for other government positions earlier this year.
Democrat Ben Reno-Weber and Republican Phil Haming are facing off in District 8, which covers the Highlands. Reno-Weber was appointed to fill the seat in May until the special election. He’s currently the deputy director of the Health Equity Innovation Hub at the University of Louisville. Haming is a sales engineer at Haas Factory Outlet who previously ran, unsuccessfully, for a Jefferson County Public School Board seat in 2012.
In District 6, Democrat Philip Baker is fighting back a challenge from Republican Judy Martin Stallard. Like Reno-Weber, Baker was appointed to fill the seat earlier this year. District 6 includes Old Louisville, Shelby Park and parts of the Algonquin and Park Hill neighborhoods.
Whoever wins in Districts 6 and 8 will have to run again next year.
Finally, Democrat Shameka Parrish-Wright and Independent Gibran Crook are vying to represent District 3 on Metro Council, which covers the City of Shively. Parrish-Wright is an activist and executive director of VOCAL-KY, an advocacy group focused on ending homelessness, mass incarceration and the War on Drugs. She also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for mayor last year. Crook is a youth basketball coach and tournament director in Louisville.
The winner of the District 3 race will serve out the roughly three years remaining on former Council Member Keisha Dorsey’s term.
Republican supporters gather at downtown Louisville Marriott
The crowd is growing at the Marriott in downtown Louisville where Republican candidates and their supporters are gathering to watch results roll in.
Susan Bramer was in the crowd speaking with family and supporters of her son-in-law, Republican gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron.
“I think we’re right where we need to be,” Bramer said. “It’s nerve wracking a little bit, but also we’re just so hopeful for what the future holds for them and for Kentucky with them at the helm,” Bramer said of Cameron and her daughter Makenze Cameron.
Standing around a small high-top table with two friends, Bobby Ferguson was in a celebratory mood. His son is connected to Cameron’s campaign, and he said he was encouraged by the latest polls showing a close race.
“With a one percent margin — that’s pretty dog-gone good!” he said.
Ferguson said he was hoping for Cameron to bring more “conservative opinions and views back to the Commonwealth.”
Polls are now closed in Kentucky
The final polls have closed in the state’s Central Standard Time counties. Most of the initial totals are tallying early votes, though day-of votes have begun streaming in.
Beshear appears to be outperforming his 2019 margins in many of the eastern time zone counties that are reporting early totals – such as Boone, Floyd, Letcher and Oldham counties – though most of these appear to only be reporting early voting ballots, which are expected to skew Democratic.
The incumbent governor has also stretched out a large lead in Jefferson and Fayette counties after their early votes were tallied, with 76% and 80% of the vote, respectively. They are Kentucky’s two most populous counties where Beshear ran up the score in 2019 winning roughly two-thirds of the vote there that year.
Democratic candidates gather in Louisville as votes trickle in
Democrats and supporters of Gov. Andy Beshear are gathering at Old Forester's Paristown Music Hall where the incumbent and other Democratic candidates will spend election night.
The name “Andy” is plastered across the space. The atmosphere is upbeat as volunteers and politicos mix, and election results are trickling in.
Beshear has seen a lot of support from Kentucky unions, one of his largest fundraising sources. Several members of Communications Workers of America Union came to the event in bright red “Andy Beshear for Governor” t-shirts. Jason DeValdivielso, a political action state coordinator with the union, said he is confident going into tonight but will feel better “once the final bell rings.”
“Beshear has done great things for working families,” DeValdivielso said. “Him showing up at the UAW picket line just showed that.”
Polls close in Kentucky's eastern time zone
Polls have now closed in Kentucky’s Eastern Standard Time counties (with the exception of two precincts in Jefferson County). Early results are expected to start trickling in from some of those counties by 6:30 p.m.
Counties are likely to report their early voting totals first. At least 312,000 people voted by that method, though those votes are expected to be less than 20% of the total votes counted.
These early voting results may skew more towards Democrats than the Election Day tally. Registered Democrats cast 52.2% of the early votes whereas Republicans cast 42.2% of them.
The polls are still open for another hour (until 6 p.m.) in the Central Standard Time counties.
"People died for us to vote. So get up, come out and exercise your rights"
Betty and Gene Haag voted Tuesday morning at Butler High School in Shively. Betty said she and her husband vote regularly, but that this time around she wanted to take a stand for rights and freedoms she believes are eroding.
“It's important that both parties always be heard, everybody be heard,” Haag said. “That is the way it was. And it's not that way anymore.”
She also said that people need to show more tolerance for others’ beliefs, referencing a Jewish man who died this weekend during an altercation amid Israeli-Palestinian protests in California.
Gene said he wants Americans to focus on supporting their country.
“We just need to get people thinking about America, instead of themselves, and for the good of the nation,” he said.
Over in Louisville’s Park DuValle neighborhood, voters headed to Carter Traditional Elementary School to cast their ballots. Election officers announced and cheered when someone was voting for the first time.
One of those officers, Saundra Brown, said there were busy and quiet moments during the morning, and expected to see that continue late into the day.
“I've been doing this for 20 years,” she said. “So I'll wait until six o'clock. They'll still be coming in.”
Brown said some voting machines at the school experienced issues, which she said the Jefferson County Clerk’s office told officers they weren’t able to come out and fix.
Erran Huber, the director of communications for the county clerk’s office, said he had not heard reports of voting machine issues at the school, but added that the office had a team of staff available to respond to technology issues if alerted by election officers.
But Brown urged residents to come out and cast ballots. She, along with the majority of Park Duvalle residents, are Black.
“The most important thing is that people died for us to vote. So get up, come out and exercise your rights,” she said.
Nausha and Theodore Spencer voted at Carter Traditional Elementary Tuesday morning. The married couple said they regularly participate in elections.
Nausha said they’ve been living in Louisville’s West End for more than 20 years, and she wants the area to look better maintained than it currently is.
Theodore added that having more projects sprout up near them is significant.
“You can also see the growth here, like in the hospital coming down in the West End. And if you ride around, you see a lot of developments.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Jefferson County Circuit Court ordered that two voting locations in the county stay open a half hour later than usual.
Polls at Blue Lick Elementary and at Highland Baptist Churchill are now open to voters who are in line by 6:30 p.m.
The court said there were public safety emergencies earlier in the day that required both locations to shut down for about half an hour. Kentucky law requires polling locations to be open for 12 hours on Election Day.
Extra 30 minutes of voting at two Louisville polling places
Two voting locations in Jefferson County will get an extra thirty minutes to vote today.
Instead of closing at 6 p.m., voters will be allowed in until 6:30 tonight at Highland Baptist Church on Cherokee Road and Blue Lick Elementary on Blue Lick Road.
Both locations experienced temporary obstacles to voters getting to cast their ballots, and Kentucky state law requires 12 full hours of voting time.
Anyone in line when polls close can cast their vote.
Kentucky secretary of state gives Election Day update
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, who is running for reelection, said voting has been steady across the state. He said voter turnout is around 45% so far, keeping in line with last year’s numbers.
“We had people ready at 6 a.m. around the state to vote,” he said. “Lines formed already when the polling sites opened. That's typical. That happens every single election.”
Lynnette Fulton is one of those voters who was eager to exercise her right to vote on Election Day. She voted at Fern Creek High School, and said voting will help determine a better future for her grandchildren’s education.
“I was hearing all kinds of crazy stuff…about how….schools can't teach about the history of any of us, mostly African Americans,” she said. “If you're going to cut out everything that [my grandchildren] need to learn, they're not going to have anything to hold on to when they get older.”
Kentucky governor's race testing influence of national politics has on state elections
Voters have until 6 p.m. local time to cast ballots (we say that because Kentucky's one of those special states that straddles two time zones.)
While you're waiting for results, check out Capitol Reporter Sylvia Goodman's story about the staying power of national political influence on state elections, and how Kentucky's race for governor is an important data point in this conversation.
Also, want to know what political watchers will be looking for tonight? Dive into Joe Sonka's article on swing counties and other issues to follow as the votes roll in.
Remember it's not just the governor's race on the ballot: voters are weighing in on races for attorney general, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor and treasurer.
If you're a procrastinator, or just like the rush of last-minute voting, learn more about all the candidates running for statewide office in the Kentucky Public Radio Voter guide. There's a tool in there that will help you find your polling place.
And if you're wondering why your polling place is different this year, check out Justin Hicks' piece about how a lot of counties across the country consolidated where people vote.