Are Republicans Giving Up On Kentucky? RGA Stops Running Ads In Bluegrass State

Are Republicans Giving Up On Kentucky? RGA Stops Running Ads In Bluegrass State
Matt Bevin (R) on left; Jack Conway (D) on right
Matt Bevin (R) on left; Jack Conway (D) on right

Striking a blow to GOP Gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) has decided to stop running TV ads on Bevin’s behalf in Kentucky. The RGA’s decision may indicate that the Republican Party is cutting their losses, and that they are pulling their resources because they fear that Democrat Jack Conway may be putting the race out of the GOP’s reach.

Internal polls may tell the story, as it has been nearly two months since a noteworthy independent pollster has publicly released a survey of the race. In late July, the Bluegrass Poll had Conway up 43 to 38 percent over Bevin, with Independent candidate Drew Curtis pulling in 8 percent of the vote.

Real Clear Politics (RCP) averaged out four polls from 2015, and found Conway with an advantage of 5.3 percentage points, although notably Matt Bevin did lead in one of the four polls used to generate that average. Bevin had a slim 40-38 lead in a June Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey.

Before pulling their ads from the state, the RGA committed 3 million dollars to run six ads on Bevin’s behalf. The ads mostly focused on trying to link Conway to Barack Obama. Conway has been a relatively popular Democratic Attorney General in Kentucky while Barack Obama is unpopular in the state. In 2012, Mitt Romney beat Obama 60.5 to 37. 8 percent in Kentucky.

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Kentucky has been a very conservative state at the national level, choosing Republican presidential candidates by lopsided margins over the last several elections. They have also elected Mitch McConnell to the Senate six times, and they have chosen fellow Republican Rand Paul to serve alongside the Senate Majority Leader.

However, Democrats have frustrated the GOP in races for state office. Current Governor Steve Beshear is a Democrat, as is Attorney General Jack Conway, who is running to replace Beshears. Matt Bevin is hoping to break the Democratic hold on the Governor’s mansion, but the RGA’s withdrawal from running ads in the state doesn’t bode well for Bevins. Without the RGA’s assistance, it is increasingly likely that Bevin will lose to Conway, and Kentucky will replace their current Democratic Governor with another Democrat, instead of a Republican.

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