Image of Andy Beshear talking

What it is like to be a blue governor in a deep red state

“Kentucky’s Democratic governor is leading in the polls, despite the majority Republican state political scene. Crossover governors have become an increasingly rare phenomenon outside of Kentucky.


We often talk about how polarized national politics has become, but what people may not focus on is just how partisan state politics has gotten with one party controlling all branches of government. There are a few notable exceptions to that – for instance, Kentucky, where a popular Democratic governor running for reelection this year has consistently ranked high in the polls despite Republicans sweeping other state and national races. But as Louisville Public Media’s Sylvia Goodman reports, popularity does not always equate to power.

SYLVIA GOODMAN: Kathi Johnson, a Democrat, spends her time knocking on doors in her part of far-northeastern, deep-red Kentucky, talking about divisive issues like abortion and inflation.

KATHI JOHNSON: I’ve had people talk to me about – that this country has just gone to hell in a handbasket. They want to blame President Biden for everything that’s gone wrong.

GOODMAN: But even her neighbors who support Trump are willing to consider reelecting a Democrat, Andy Beshear, for governor.”

Kentucky People’s Union Member, Kathy Johnson, Reported by Sylvia Goodman, Louisville Public Media.

Scroll to Top