Dems anticipate Beshear re-election, coattails


by Joe Arnold

Posted on November 8, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 3:20 PM

Did you vote today?

(WHAS11) - The polls have closed in the Eastern Time zone.

Kentucky Democrats are hoping for an early night and a big re-election win for Governor Steve Beshear.

Based on polls that show Republican David Williams trailing Beshear by 25 points, analysts suggest that any suspense on election night will likely come in the downticket races.

Democrats are hoping for straight ticket voters and a landslide for the Beshear-Abramson ticket that will carry other Democrats to victory.

Yet Louisville voters interviewed on Tuesday said they were not voting an automatic straight ticket.

"I just always like to make a personal choice about each of the candidates," said Elizabeth Cull.

"I chose each candidate based on their own merit as opposed to party," added Kent Groemlang.

That's the hope for Republicans -- that despite polls that indicate a landslide for Democrat Steve Beshear, enough voters will split their ticket to avoid a sweep of all the statewide offices.

"I voted for the Republican Ag commissioner. That's all," said Kathy Conner.

Agriculture Commissioner Candidate Jamie Comer appears to have the best chance of any Republican candidate.  He faces Louisville marketing executive Bob Farmer, the Democratic candidate.

"I think the commissioner of agriculture should actually be a Farmer, not just named 'farmer,'" said Laura Vannoy.

"We'll see if Jamie (Comer) can overcome that huge landslide at the top of the ticket," said Democratic strategist Bob Gunnell, "The rest of the Democrats win tonight."

Steady voter turnout in Louisville appears to be above 30 percent.  Statewide, Kentucky's Secretary of State hopes that voter turnout outpaces the 25 to 28 percent she predicted.

"I think the reason we're going to do so well today is because this governor and I have really spoken about the meat and potato issues that mean so much and resonate with folks," said Jerry Abramson (D), candidate for lieutenant governor.

Yet voters and political analysts suggest Beshear is winning by default.

"I voted for Beshear," Vannoy added, "I'm upset about his coal policies but his competition is no competition."

"I thought they were all too political and didn't really address the issues and really disappointing for leadership," said Louisville voter Annette Walker.

"It would be more depressing if we were in a real competitive race and lost it," said Ted Jackson, Republican strategist, "So I think people are prepared for the result."