A day after receiving President Trump's endorsement at a rally where he was portrayed as the state's only hope of fighting back against Democrats' impeachment push, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin lost a gubernatorial race to his Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear, on Tuesday night.
The same state where Trump won by nearly 30 points in 2016 turned blue on Tuesday night as Beshear, Kentucky's attorney general since 2016, claimed victory.
The race was widely seen as a litmus test of how powerful the issue of impeachment would be among Republican voters, with Bevin-who has consistently ranked in polls as one of the most unpopular governors in the U.S.-repeatedly suggesting to Republican voters that a vote against him would be a gift to Democrats and their impeachment inquiry against Trump.
The president himself has clung to that idea, telling voters on Twitter that Bevin "will never let you down" and that "we need to send a strong signal to Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left Democrats."
At a Monday night rally in Lexington, Trump was even less subtle.
"You gotta vote because if you lose, it sends a really bad message. It just sends a bad and they're going to build it up ... You can't let that happen to me," he told the crowd.
While Beshear has made a point to focus on local issues, Bevin appeared to make his anti-impeachment stance the backbone of his campaign, at one point responding to his Democratic rival's criticism by showing off a poster of himself and Trump disembarking Air Force One with the president's endorsement as the caption.
"I will stand proudly with this president and vice-president and their administration," Bevin told voters at the event outside Louisville last week, reminding the crowd that Trump would be attending a rally on his behalf.
It apparently wasn't enough to drum up support to win the race.
While Beshear's win gave a boost to Democrats, Republicans still managed to gain the attorney general post he vacated, with Republican Daniel Cameron easily defeating Democrat Gregory Stumbo. The secretary of state's office also flipped red, with Republican Michael Adams clinching victory for the term-limited post vacated by Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Kentucky also wasn't the only state at the center of a red-vs.-blue tug-of-war on Tuesday, with Democrat Jim Hood hoping to defeat Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in Mississippi's gubernatorial race. As of Tuesday evening, Reeves was projected to win that battle.
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