Bevin limps to victory in Republican primary for Kentucky governor

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin limped to victory in his Republican primary Tuesday.

Bevin’s habit of harshly criticizing those who disagree with him has made him one of the most unpopular governors in the country, attracting three opponents in the GOP primary, including State Rep. Robert Goforth of East Bernstadt. Goforth spent $750,000 of his own money in the race and was on track to collect more than one third of the primary vote.

Bevin treated Tuesday like it was business as usual. He held a community forum in Woodford County, where he faced questions on abortion, taxes and economic development before heading to the governor’s mansion to watch election returns. Instead of hosting an election night party, he simply greeted the results with a press conference outside the governor’s mansion.

“To me, this is my job,” Bevin told reporters after the forum. “I have a job, unlike some. I don’t have the luxury of just being a candidate. As the governor of the state, I have a job to do.”

Goforth attempted to run to the right of Bevin on abortion, but there was little room there. He also courted teachers, many of whom are made at Bevin over his attempts to change their pension benefits. His ads mostly focused on bashing Bevin for some of his controversial statements.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Goforth, a state representative from East Bernstadt, discussed his campaign against incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin at Thoroughbred Park in Lexington. Matt Goins

Bevin also received some help from President Donald Trump. The president tweeted his support for the governor Tuesday morning and twice sent Vice President Mike Pence to Kentucky to help raise money and support for Bevin.

Bevin, who has already talked about his close relationship with Trump on the campaign trail, is expected to lean heavily on the popular president in the fall as he tries to tie his opponent to the national Democratic party.

Bevin will take on Democrat Andy Beshear in the fall.

“People in Kentucky are going to have a very clear and distinct choice in November,” Bevin said in front of the Governor’s mansion Tuesday night. “Conservative vs. liberal, black and white, it’s that clear.”