Republicans win all down ballot races

Published 2:50 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Newly re-elected Gov. Andy Beshear will join an entirely Republican down ballot for the next four years.

Kentuckians voted for five constitutional offices in addition to the governorship: secretary of state, agricultural commissioner, auditor, treasurer and attorney general.

Several races were called early Tuesday night.

At 7:46 p.m., Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams became the second candidate to be re-elected to the same office.

He garnered 61% of the vote against Democratic challenger Charles “Buddy” Wheatley. He also accumulated the highest number of votes among the down ballot candidates, with 783,871 votes cast for him.

Michael Adams

The secretary of state is responsible for election management, business registration and preserving state records.

Adams gave a somewhat muted victory speech at Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s election night watch party. He said he would continue to work to make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

“Kentucky has defied the odds and the laws of political physics by taking the highly polarized third rail issue of how we vote, putting politics aside, approaching inclusively and in good faith and courageously making the biggest changes in over 100 years,” he said.

“… If we can boldly take Kentucky from the bottom to the top in election reform, why can’t we do the same with education, public safety, quality of life, social mobility? The answer is we absolutely can.”

Also before 8 p.m., current Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball was named the winner of the auditor race against Democrat Kim Reeder. She got 61% of the vote, too.

Allison Ball

The state auditor is in charge of auditing, or closely reviewing, all state government agency accounts and financial transactions. They act as internal accountants and watchdogs, detecting and investigating potential fraud.

In her victory speech, Ball said she would continue the watchdog job she has done as treasurer.

“I’ve gotten to learn a few things in that role, and I am ready to go to do the job as auditor, protect against waste, fraud and abuse, be there for you, do the job the way it’s supposed to be done,” she said. “… I know how to do this job and do it right.”

The races for attorney general, agricultural commissioner and treasurer were all called around 9 p.m. for the Republican candidates.

Russell Coleman defeated Col. Pam Stevenson for attorney general with 58% of the vote. In his victory speech, he said that whether Kentuckians supported him or not, he would protect their family, defend their rights and back the blue.

Russell Coleman

The attorney general is the chief law officer of Kentucky. They are responsible for defending the commonwealth and its people, which includes fighting for consumers, ensuring open government, fighting crime, protecting vulnerable populations and promoting health care.

“For the neighborhoods in West Louisville, struggling to address violence, for rural counties and small towns fearful that Washington’s radical agenda is attacking our values and our way of life, for the parents across Kentucky who lay awake even this evening worrying about their kids that they may fall victim to the poison that we are seeing flow from over a porous Southwest border, and for the law enforcement leaders who risk their lives every day … ,” Coleman said.

“I see you, I hear you and I will represent all of you.”

Jonathan Shell bested Sierra Enlow for agricultural commissioner with 59% of the vote.

Jonathan Shell

The commissioner is responsible for setting agricultural policy, expanding markets, regulating the industry and increasing rural economic development.

“I’ll work every day to support Kentucky’s farmers, protect our rural communities and defend our way of life,” Shell said in a statement.

“(My wife) Brooke and I are grateful to everyone who supported our campaign and worked tirelessly to build a better commonwealth for our families and our children.”

Mark Metcalf won over Michael Bowman for treasurer with 57% of the vote.

Mark Metcalf

The state treasurer is responsible for monitoring state investments, overseeing teacher pensions and managing state financial accounts.

They also sit on several boards relating to the lottery, teacher retirement, state investments and higher education. Their job is to ensure state funds are spent legally.