By Victoria McClary, Contributing Writer

Nov. 3 marked the statewide election in which the highly contested governor’s race was decided. Early on, Democrat Jack Conway was considered the overall favorite, but throughout the night it became apparent that Republican Matt Bevin was the overwhelming choice of the voters.

The voters made a major statement by electing nearly all Republican candidates causing some reporters from the Courier Journal to call this election the Republican “Tidal Wave.” This outcome was particularly significant considering that, according to the Lexington Herald Leader, only 30.7 percent of Kentuckians turned out to vote, a little lower than the projected turnout of 32 to 40 percent of voters. The Republican ticket swept nearly all of the major state offices, with Allison Lundergan Grimes and Andy Beshear barely holding on with a win for the Democratic Party in their respective offices of Secretary of State and Attorney General. Lundergan Grimes won in re-election while the family name helped propel Andy Beshear to victory. His father, exiting Governor Steve Beshear has served the state since 2007. Andy Beshear (D) beat his opponent Whitney Westerfield (R) by only two-tenths of a percent.

Matt Bevin made history by becoming both the second Republican governor the state has had in the past 40 years (the last being Ernie Fletcher from 2003-2007) and the first governor hailing from the city of Louisville. His running mate, Jenean Hampton also made her mark by becoming the first African American to win a state office in the state of Kentucky, serving as Bevin’s Lieutenant Governor. Bevin, a businessman, has never held a public office before. His last campaign was against Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat in May 2014.

When speaking to his supporters, Conway was generally optimistic about the state of Kentucky. While obviously upset about the outcome of the election, he was supportive of Bevin and stated that he would be willing to help him in any way that he could.

Bevin thanked his family and spoke about his conversation with Conway during his speech to his supporters from the Galt House in Louisville. He stated, “We are one Kentucky and there is much to be done,” and continued by saying that he viewed the election as “Our opportunity to come together as one.” Bevin concluded his speech by declaring it to be “A great night for conservatives in the state of Kentucky.”

Kentucky, which has historically been a Democratic state, appears to be turning conservative.

According to Fox News, this turnaround in state politics holds implications for the 2016 Presidential election. Kentucky, which has historically been a Democratic state, appears to be turning conservative. After this election, the state and national senate seats are primarily held by the Republican Party. Among expected areas of reform is the national healthcare system. CNN reports that Bevin will be able to end the statewide healthcare system which went into effect during Governor Beshear’s second term and may modify the growing Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. Regardless, this promises to be an interesting term for Kentucky government.