GLASGOW – Barren County's gubernatorial selection of Matt Bevin was decided by 13,353 people, who were 41.82 percent of the 31,932 registered voters here, according to unofficial results from the county clerk's office Tuesday evening.
That result was contrary to the unofficial statewide totals that have Andy Beshear as Kentucky's next governor, but as of late Tuesday evening, incumbent Bevin wasn't conceding the race just yet. Less than 1 percentage point separated them with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results on the Kentucky State Board of Elections website.
Bevin, with his new lieutenant governor choice of Ralph Alvarado, garnered 7,693, or 58.15 percent, of Barren County votes, while Andy Beshear and his running mate Jacqueline Coleman got 5,280, or 39.91 percent. The Libertarian candidates, John Hicks and Ann Cormican, drew 256 votes, or 1.94 percent, and certified write-in candidate team Blackii Effing Whyte/Douglas G. Estridge got zero, all according to the unofficial results from the clerk's office.
Republicans swept the rest of the statewide races in Barren County as well.
Michael G. Adams' prevailed in the secretary of state's race within Barren County, with 64.05 percent compared with Heather French Henry's 35.95 percent.
The contest here for the attorney general's seat went to Republican Daniel Cameron. He won with 67.13 percent against Greg Stumbo, who had 32.87 percent.
The other statewide races went like this among Barren Countians:
Auditor of public accounts: Republican incumbent Mike Harmon, 64.69 percent; Democrat Sheri Donahue, 32.66 percent; and Libertarian Kyle Hugenberg, 2.65 percent.
State treasurer: Republican incumbent Allison Ball, 70.39 percent, and Democratic challenger Michael Bowman, 29.61percent.
Commissioner of Agriculture: Republican incumbent Ryan Quarles,67.69 percent; Democrat Robert Haley Conway, 29.31 percent; and Libertarian Josh Gilpin, 2.99 percent.
Some precincts in Barren County also had special elections to fill unexpired terms. Eddy “Joey” Newberry II was the sole candidate on the ballot to fill the 3rd Educational District seat on the Barren County Board of Education. He received 1,211 votes.
No one was on the ballot for constable for the 7th Magisterial District, and no one filed to run as a write-in, so it will remain vacant until someone is appointed.
County clerk Helena Birdwell had said around lunchtime that she wasn't hearing much from her precinct workers at that point about turnout one way or another. Deputy clerk Ashton Harrison said 376 had voted absentee in the days leading up to the election, and 105 mail-in absentee ballots had been received at that time, but four had been disqualified after they were opened earlier in the day by the Barren County Board of Elections. Mail-in ballots must be accepted from the post office right up until 6 p.m. on election day. When it was all said and done a total of 478 absentees had been counted.
“I feel like more people voted absentee in-house than four years ago,” Birdwell said, so Harrison looked it up and said a total of 324 voted absentee in-person and by mail together in the last general election for statewide offices, compared with a total of 477 at that point in the day Tuesday. The turnout for that year here was 31.08 percent, Birdwell said.
“I feel confident that the governor's race has pushed the turnout for this election,” she said.
Drucilla Alexander, after casting her ballot at the Liberty District Ralph Bunche Community Center said no particular issue brought her to the polls. She likes voting and it's her constitutional right to do it, and she tried to choose the person she thought would make the best difference.
“I voted for the party that I thought would make a good candidate. I'm a Democrat, but I'm not voting for being a Democrat. I'm voting for the people that I think will make good representatives for us, and that was – my choice was Beshear,” she said. “I think everybody should get out and exercise their right, and if they don't exercise their right, I don't think they ought to be running off at the mouth and doing a whole lot of talking about who's in and who's not in.”
Brandon Strother, also at the Bunche center, said he voted for candidates from both of the major parties, because he does try to focus on the person rather than the party.
“I think that a lot of the decisions right now, I think we're at a turning point culturally and we need leadership that reflects our values, and that's why it's important to get out and vote,” he said. “It doesn't matter who you vote for, but if you don't vote, you can't complain. It's something I take pretty serious.”
Among the issues that brought him out was abortion, which he's against, so he voted for Bevin, but he said he considers him “the lesser of two evils.”
Ryan Braber took his 8-year-old son, Maverick, with him to his polling place at Glasgow High School “just to teach him, you know, it's important to do your civic duty and vote and just wanted to show him it's easy to do; there's nothing scary about it. It takes a few minutes out of your day, and it can make a big difference in your own life as well as the rest of the state.”
Maverick said it was his first time going with his dad to vote, and he liked seeing the process and looks forward to being able to vote when he's older.
His father said, “I've just been watching how the state has been handling the pension program over the last year. I think it's been a huge mess that Bevin has contributed to,” he said, noting major protests, especially by teachers, against the changes Bevin wanted. “A lot of those things mean a lot. My mom is a retired teacher, so that was probably the main thing that brought me out today to vote for Beshear. Also, legalized gambling. I think Beshear's got the right idea on moving forward on getting the state equal with its neighbors. … We're trying to catch up.”
Granville Speck, also voting at GHS, said “everything's an issue,” and his wife Rosalind Speck said “teacher's pensions” was her primary one but neither of them was happy with Bevin's handling of the issue.
Birdwell said the turnout rate of roughly 10 percent more than for the last gubernatorial race was excellent.
“I think this is great,” she said. “I'm proud.”
Overall, Birdwell said, there were no major or unexpected issues with the election, and for this to be her first general election as county clerk, she was very pleased with it. She bragged on and expressed appreciation for her staff and all those who take the time to serve as precinct workers.
“That's a long day,” she said.
All but one of the 25 precincts had reported in by about 7:30 p.m., and the final one – Glasgow Middle School – was cleared to go a half hour later. Birdwell said there was no particular issue with that one; it just took them a little longer to get things wrapped up.
“I think it was a great day to get out and exercise your right to vote here in Barren County and I think that's what the people did,” she said.
Teresa Sheffield, county clerk in Monroe County, told the Glasgow Daily Times early in the afternoon they were having a bigger turnout than expected there and had to call the state and ask for more ballots.
Their final turnout percentage was nearly 40 percent.
– Daily Times reporter Gina Kinslow contributed to this report.
Governor: Bevin-R, 7,693, or 58.15 percent; Beshear-D, 5,280, or 39.91 percent.
Secretary of state: Adams-R, 8,376, or 64.05 percent; Henry-D, 4,702 , or 35.95 percent.
Attorney general: Cameron-R, 8,787, or 67.13 percent; Stumbo-D, 4,303 or 32.87 percent.
Auditor: Harmon-R, 8,200, or 64.69 percent; Donahue-D, 4,141, or 32.66 percent.
Treasurer: Ball-R, 9,079, or 70.39 percent; Bowman-D, 3,820 or 29.61 percent.
Agriculture commissioner: Quarles-R, 8,681, or 67.69 percent; Conway-D, 3,759, or 29.31 percent.