LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For a little while on primary election night in Kentucky, it looked like Rocky Adkins was going to pull off an upset, but once votes poured in from the urban areas, Andy Beshear assumed control of the Democratic gubernatorial contest.
“This journey has been an unforgettable experience," Adkins told his crowd of supporters as he conceded the race. "We gave it all we had. We gave it the best effort that we knew how to give to win this campaign.”
Adkins congratulated Beshear and said he wants him to know he will be trying his best to get him elected.
Beshear, the state attorney general, will square off against incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin, and try to wrestle away the office held by his father, Steve Beshear, until just four years ago.
Now the Democratic nominee, Beshear collected 38 percent of the vote in Tuesday night’s unofficial results, to Adkins’ 32 percent. Adam Edelen grabbed 27 percent of the share, while Geoffrey Young, never expected to be much of a factor, picked up 2 percent.
Bevin bested Robert Goforth by about 13 points, as well as also-rans William Woods and Ike Lawrence, for the GOP nomination. However, the sitting governor gathered only 52 percent of the vote in his own party.
Both Beshear and Bevin took jabs at the other’s performance in the primary during their victory speeches.
“We not only won this primary, we did something we’re going to do in November -- we got more raw votes than Matt Bevin,” Beshear said.
He had a total of 149,438 votes as opposed to Bevin’s 136,060 votes.
“I think it’s a little concerning for him that he couldn’t even get 40% of the electorate,” Bevin said of Beshear. “But in fairness it was a tight race with three credible candidates on that side. And so we’ll see what they can do.”
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Bevin said he’s confident he will win more votes than Beshear in November, despite what some said was a closer than expected race against Republican challenger Goforth.
Bevin said he was outspent significantly by Goforth, who Bevin added ran a tough race.
When asked about the margin of victory, Bevin said he isn’t concerned Republicans won’t choose him in November -- citing his last primary where he only won by 83 votes, but was ultimately elected to be governor in the general election.
Bevin said voters will have a stark choice in November.
“What you’re going to have is a very clear, clear contrast,” Bevin said. “A very clear contrast on issues that matter significantly to people in Kentucky. You have in Andy Beshear someone who proudly supported Hillary Clinton. That doesn’t play well in Kentucky.”
To highlight that difference, Bevin touted the support he received from President Donald Trump.
Trump tweeted in support of Bevin on Tuesday before and after voting finished.
Bevin said he spoke with Trump before results were in. The incumbent said he expects Trump will be here to help campaign for him before November.
Another primary contest that generated some interest was the Republican race for attorney general.
Louisville lawyer Daniel Cameron claimed 55 percent of the vote in defeating Wil Schroder, a state senator and former prosecutor from Campbell County, in northern Kentucky.
Cameron, 33, once worked for Mitch McConnell, and now will challenge Democrat Greg Stumbo, the former attorney general who won Tuesday’s primary unopposed.
As expected, Heather French Henry breezed to victory in the Democratic race for Secretary of State.
The former Miss America has spent much of the last two decades working with wounded and homeless veterans, earning several awards for her efforts.
She’ll face off against Michael Adams, who won the Republican nomination over Andrew English, Stephen Knipper and Carl Nett.
Democrat Robert Haley Conway won his primary contest and will challenge Republican incumbent Ryan Quarles for the office of Agriculture Commissioner.
Democratic candidate for Treasurer Michael Bowman will square off against GOP incumbent Allison Ball in November.
Sheri Donahue won the Democratic nomination for state auditor, and will face off against Republican Mike Harmon, the incumbent who won an uncontested primary Tuesday.