Despite Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's closer-than-expected renomination in the Republican primary Tuesday night and the controversial comments and actions that dogged him throughout the contest, one of the most seasoned experts on Blue Grass state politics told questsin flatly that Bevin can still be re-elected this fall.
Al Cross, longtime Louisville Courier Journal' political editor, spoke to us shortly after Bevin had secured victory over State Rep. Robert Goforth by 51-39% and Democrats had nominated State Attorney General Andy Beshear for governor.
"One early poll had Beshear beating Bevin 48-40%, but that was so long ago it's not very indicative either," Cross told us. "I said on TV [Tuesday night] that despite being the nation's most unpopular governor, Bevin is the favorite because the economy in most of the state is good and Trump remains popular.
"Bevin and the Republicans will wrap themselves in Trump," he predicted.
Trump himself endorsed Bevin in the primary and recorded a robocall touting the governor's conservative record.
A businessman and unorthodox political "outsider" like Trump himself, Bevin has seemed to revel in controversy throughout his nearly four years in Frankfort. He charged teachers in public school used sick days to their own advantage and supported school choice.
Bevin was also a vigorous right-to-work advocate and a vocal supporter of the right to bear arms.
True to his combative form, Bevin vowed to brand opponent Beshear, son of popular former Gov. Steve Beshear, as an "out-and-out liberal" in the fall.
"He's not controversial and he's not too liberal," Cross said of Andy Beshear. "But he will be sorry he let NARAL [National Abortion Rights Action League] endorse him on Monday before the primary. There's no stronger liberal label here."
The NARAL blessing of Beshear, Cross believes, was a response to the growing strength of second-place Democratic primary finisher and House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins. Adkins is strongly pro-life.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for questsin. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.