Nearly two dozen blue counties stood out on the maps of Kentucky on the night of the 2019 general election.
The Democratic candidate for governor not only had huge profit margins against former Governor Matt Bevin in counties Jefferson and Fayette, but also a handful of counties in northern and western Kentucky and more than ten in eastern Kentucky.
On Tuesday? Not too much blue to see.
While no one expected former Vice President Joe Biden to nearly beat President Donald Trump, Democratic hopes of continuing Governor Andy Beshear’s success outside of Kentucky’s two major urban centers have not materialized as the state has a sea of ocean outside Red was from Louisville and Lexington.
Trump ended the night with 62.5% of the vote, while Bevin had 49% and just over 5,000 fewer votes than Beshear a year earlier.
More: Districts with the worst coronavirus waves voted Trump with an overwhelming majority
However, the nationwide dominance of Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who lost just three counties to Democrat Amy McGrath, including Franklin County, was somewhat similar to the performance of voting Republican candidates in 2019.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron won all but five counties outside Jefferson and Fayette, while Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Treasurer Allison Ball lost just one more county.
The key variable appears to be the uniquely unpopular Bevin, who left Trump behind in all 120 counties and received a share of the vote at least 10 points below that of the President in all but 10 counties.
In three counties in eastern Kentucky, Trump’s share of the vote was more than 30 points higher than Bevin, led by Elliott County, where Beshear beat Bevin by 59% to 39% and Trump beat Biden by 75% to 24%.
In fact, the top nine counties where Trump beat Bevin were all in eastern Kentucky, where Beshear won 11 counties last year.
Democrats also had their eyes on their 2019 progress in the suburbs of Northern Kentucky (where Beshear angered Bevin in Kenton and Campbell counties) and Oldham County outside of Louisville (a long-time Republican stronghold that Beshear lost just 5 points) expand, although Trump gained about 20 points each.
Before: Big blue neighborhoods? Kentucky Democrats are hoping for an anti-Trump wave in the suburbs
Oldham was one of the 10 counties where the President outperformed Bevin by less than 10 points – suggesting a Trump wave – in addition to the Fayette, Christian, Jefferson and Fulton counties.
Jefferson, Christian, and Fulton counties have the largest percentage of Kentucky’s black populations.
While Bevin turned the fate of Republicans for the worse in 2019, there doesn’t seem to be any lasting impact on the party.
In the 2020 races for the State House, the Democratic Party of Kentucky pushed campaign advertising trying to attract Republican candidates to Bevin. They said they helped move the former governor’s agenda while he was in office.
None of these democratic candidates won.
Reach reporter Joe Sonka at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @joesonka. Support strong local journalism by signing up at the top of this page today.