Unpopular GOP governor is in deep trouble with voters — in Kentucky


Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is deeply unpopular as he prepares for a tough 2019 election in Kentucky.

While most Americans have to wait until 2020 to kick even more Republicans out of office, the people of Kentucky will have that opportunity in 2019, when Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is up for re-election.

And judging by the latest poll, Bevin should be very worried.

Eleven months before the election, more than half of Kentuckians (53 percent) disapprove of Bevin's job performance, with a mere 38 percent approving, according to a Mason-Dixon poll.

Even more worrying for Bevin, he trails by eight points, 40 to 48 percent, in a head-to-head match-up with one of the Democratic front-runners, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Bevin's tenure has been rocked by his reprehensible mishandling of massive teacher strikes in the state.

Kentucky teachers went on strike to fight for more education funding in April 2018, following Bevin's refusal to spend more in a state that ranks 35th in preparing high school graduates for college.

"I don't want to be out of my classroom," Stephanie Ikanovic, a teacher for 21 years, told the Associated Press at the time. "I want to be in my classroom instructing future citizens, but I'm afraid that spending at the state level is getting worse and worse, and we need those dollars for a 21st century education."

Instead of taking these concerns seriously, Bevin lashed out and bizarrely claimed the strike would lead to children getting molested.

"I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them," Bevin told a local TV station.

Bevin was roundly condemned for this smear. His remarks were called "inappropriate and perverse" by Mary Nishimuta, the executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party, and "disgusting" by a state senator in Bevin's own party.

While the Mason-Dixon pollsters say it's "far from over" for Bevin at this point, he'll need a lot of luck to win re-election — especially if he ends up facing a "formidable opponent" like Beshear.

"Bevin will need a boost out of the upcoming legislative session, hope that the national Democratic trend coming out of the 2018 mid-term ebbs and that Beshear makes some mistakes," the pollsters wrote.

More and more offices in deep-red states are no longer sure bets for Republicans to keep.

In 2017, Democrats won a Senate seat in Alabama. In 2018, Democrats won a governor's race in Kansas, and House seats in both Kansas and Utah.

In 2019, Kentucky could be the next nominally red state to contend with an energized progressive base of people who are tired of Trump acolytes like Matt Bevin.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.