Gubernatorial race: Beshear wins second term

 

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear (right) and Lt. Gov.-elect Jerry Abramson (left) celebrate their victory in the Frankfort Convention Center. Photo by Scott Hannigan | Staff

By Chase Sanders

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear’s day started off early Tuesday morning as he voted at 10:30 at Mt. Zion Church in his home precinct of Winchester, Ky.

By 7:36 p.m. Tuesday evening, Beshear found out he had won 56 percent of the vote, confirming another 4-year term for Beshear.

His night ended on a high note for the Beshear/Abramson campaign, even though Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson did not sing for the crowd at the Frankfort Convention Center, as he has been known to do at celebratory occasions in the past.

“This election was never about parties,” Beshear said. “It was about who could best bring the commonwealth together to tackle the challenges we have.”

The incumbent has a vast background in the Kentucky political sphere as the former state’s lieutenant governor from 1983-87, the attorney general from 1979-83, and a state representative from 1974-79.

Beshear, who won his first gubernatorial election in 2007 with current Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, teamed up with Louisville native and “Mayor for Life” Jerry Abramson.

This past Sunday, Abramson urged Kentuckians to get out and vote in speech he gave at Louisville’s West End Democratic Headquarters. The speech was given as Beshear’s statewide campaign tour came to an end Monday in Louisville.

The new duo has more than 30 years of experience in collaborative efforts with each other.

“The governor and I have been friends since he was attorney general back in ‘79 and I was counsel to Gov. (John) Brown,” Abramson said.

Beshear and Abramson worked together to bring more jobs to the Bluegrass State during the last term. “Right off the bat we’ll continue to work on economic development and creating jobs,” Abramson said.

Abramson served as Louisville mayor from 1986-99 and after the city’s merger from 2003-11.

According to the last Survey USA poll before the election, Beshear was in the lead with approximately 54 percent of the vote.

Kentucky, a state that historically votes conservative for national elections, marked yet another popular consensus for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

“This is a very important time. We need a person in charge like the governor who has brought us through these tough economic times without raising taxes,” Abramson said.

Despite criticism about the governor’s lack of a budget plan during his first term in office, Beshear was able to make more than $1 billion in budget cuts.

“During the worst recession of our lifetimes, we have balanced the state budget nine times and we’ve modernized our economic incentives program to create jobs,” he said.

He also plans on leading the initiative to increase the dropout age to 18 for students across the state, and will continue to support research funding for the state’s colleges and universities.

The incumbent governor-elect was also criticized during the campaign period for being hard on the coal industry in the action he’s taken to make Kentucky a state that’s friendly to green energy.

“I am not against coal. We make sure we strictly enforce the rules, so coal can be mined and at the same time we want to protect the environment,” Beshear said at the last gubernatorial debate. “We joined the Kentucky Coal Association in legal action against the EPA.”

Beshear also faced some controversy with regard to his attendance in debates that took place during the campaign season, or lack thereof.

Although he missed most of the dialogues both David Williams and Gatewood Galbraith participated in, he still knows he can relate to Kentuckians and their needs. “We make decisions that affect real people in real ways, and that’s something that I’ve never forgotten,” Beshear said.

Even though Beshear did not make it to the gubernatorial dialogue sponsored by UK Student Government, Beshear and Abramson promise to do as much as they can to support college students in the commonwealth.

Abramson, whose son Sidney is a college student, said he understands what is necessary for college students because of experience.

“I’m looking forward to working with school systems so we can make sure students are staying in school and making it to college,” he said.

In fact, during the last debate the governor predicted his own re-election by suggesting that he was more in touch with the lives of Kentuckians.

“I think I’m going to win. I think people are tired of obstructionist kind of politics. People want us to sit down as Kentuckians find a common ground and get things done,” Beshear said.

Beshear came to a conclusion Tuesday, about the message conveyed to citizens in the commonwealth through the election results.

“This overwhelming victory is a mandate for both parties to put partisanship aside and work together,” he said.