Democrats claim victory over Trump-backed Kentucky governor, seize Virginia legislature

Kentucky's Attorney General Andy Beshear, running for governor against Republican incumbent Matt Bevin, reacts to statewide election results at his watch party in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Harrison McClary

U.S. Democrats claimed an upset win in Kentucky on Tuesday over a Republican governor backed by President Donald Trump and seized control of the state legislature in Virginia, where anti-Trump sentiment in the suburbs remained a potent force.

The outcomes of Tuesday’s elections in four states, including Mississippi and New Jersey, could offer clues to how next year’s presidential election could unfold, when Trump will aim for a second four-year term.

In Kentucky, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, whose father, Steve, was the state’s last Democratic governor, scored a narrow victory over Governor Matt Bevin despite an election-eve rally headlined by Trump.

While the result was a significant setback for Trump, who remains relatively popular in Kentucky, it may have had more to do with Bevin’s diminished standing in the state. Opinion polls showed Bevin may be the least popular governor in the country, after he waged high-profile fights with labour unions and teachers.