The opposition Democrats claimed an upset win in the state of Kentucky on Tuesday over a Republican governor backed by US President, Donald Trump, and seized control of the state legislature in Virginia, where anti-Trump sentiment in the suburbs remained a potent force.
The outcomes of Tuesday’s elections in four states, including Mississippi and New Jersey, could offer clues to how next year’s presidential election could unfold when Trump will aim for a second four-year term.
In Kentucky, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, whose father, Steve, was the state’s last Democratic governor, scored a narrow victory over Governor Matt Bevin despite an election-eve rally headlined by Trump.
In a speech in Lexington, Kentucky, on Monday night, Trump – who won Kentucky by 30 percentage points in 2016 – told voters that they needed to re-elect Bevin, or else pundits would say the president “suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world”.
The remarks reflected the extent to which Bevin, 52, sought to nationalise the campaign, emphasising his support for Trump amid a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry of the Republican president in Congress.