A race almost two years in the making will finally come to an end Tuesday, and the two major-party gubernatorial candidates took to the skies Monday to try to turn out every vote possible.
Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, and Republican Matt Bevin were hustling around the state on traditional fly-arounds, landing in towns to rally the faithful.
Absentee vote totals have plummeted from recent years as officials from both parties report a lack of enthusiasm in one of the few states that elects a governor in an off-year election cycle. Kentucky's chief election official predicted fewer than a million of the state's 3.2 million registered voters would cast ballots Tuesday.
Conway, joined by Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen and some of the down-ballot candidates, encouraged a crowd of about 50 at Wild Eggs in Lexington on Monday morning to work hard for the remaining hours of the election, promising them, "If you work hard these next 33 hours, Sannie (Overly) and I are going to give you a government you're proud of these next four years." Overly, a state representative, is his running mate.
Appearing relaxed and confident about his chances, Conway highlighted major policy differences between him and Bevin on education and health care, praising Gov. Steve Beshear for serving with "integrity" and for bringing health insurance to people who needed it.
"Folks, we are going to build on that record, and what I am not going to do ... is what my opponent would do on Day One, and that's kick a half-million people off their health insurance," Conway said. "We're not going to let that happen, are we?"
He told reporters that whatever energy there is in the race is on his side heading into the last few hours of the race.
"I'm excited," Conway said. "I feel like we've got the momentum."
Earlier Monday in Louisville, Bevin was joined by the entire Republican slate for state offices and his onetime rival, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said the election should be about change.
"We need to go in a different direction," McConnell told a few dozen Republicans. "Conway is four more years just like the last eight. Matt Bevin is a genuine change for Kentucky to give us a chance to compete with the rest of the country."
Bevin, a Louisville businessman, urged people to "vote your values and not your party," a reflection that Democrats still outnumber Republicans in the state. He said his conservative views on social and fiscal issues were much more in line with most people in the state.
Bevin emphasized his business background and said he would deliver "a fresh, clean sweep ... to a state that needs it."
"If there is anything our state needs, it is a reawakening on the economic front and a reinfusement of belief and conviction that this is a state worthy of people coming to," he said.
Drew Curtis, the independent candidate, was eschewing the traditional fly-around to continue "to reach out to supporters on social media," according to his spokeswoman.
Polls have shown the race to be close in the final days, and a number of Democrats have worried for months that Curtis could swing the election to Bevin.
When asked about that possibility, Conway said, "I don't foresee that, but you never know what's going to happen at the polls."