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Republicans sweep Kentucky down-ballot races despite Beshear victory

Ryland Barton

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear will reprise his role as the lone statewide elected Democrat in Frankfort during his second four-year term in office.

Republicans easily won all of Kentucky’s down-ballot races, setting the stage for another acrimonious relationship between the governor and other constitutional officeholders.

According to initial results, Beshear netted about 140,000 more votes than the next largest Democratic vote-getter: Michael Bowman, who lost the race for treasurer to Republican Mark Metcalf.

Meanwhile every statewide Republican candidate, except for Daniel Cameron, got more votes than Beshear during the General Election.

Here are the results:

Attorney General

Republican former U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman defeated Democratic state Rep. Pam Stevenson to become the state’s next attorney general.

As the state's next chief law enforcement officer, the 47-year-old western Kentucky native Coleman said he would defend “conservative values.”

“I promise you this. We will protect your family. We will defend your rights and we will back the blue,” he said.

Coleman formerly served as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky and as legal counsel for U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, in addition to his work as an FBI special agent and with the U.S. Department of Justice.

He campaigned on the promise of addressing the opioid epidemic in the state and fostering collaboration between the state’s law enforcement agencies during his term.

During his victory speech he said he would be willing to work across the aisle.

“I look forward to working with anyone regardless of party, who will stand with our law enforcement, who will protect our families, and who will help me put drug traffickers and violent criminals behind bars where they belong,” he said.

Coleman has said it would be his duty to defend Kentucky's near-total ban on abortion, though he has voiced support for adding exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

Secretary of State

Kentucky’s Secretary of State Michael Adams won a second four-year term, defeating Democratic challenger Buddy Wheatley, a former state representative.

During his victory speech, Adam said he had accomplished “mission impossible” by winning reelection after drawing criticism from some members of his own party. Adams went against some Republican colleagues when he supported expanding early voting and tamped down claims of election fraud after the 2020 election.

“In just four years, we’ve taken Kentucky from the bottom in election administration to the top. And thanks to your support we’ll continue making it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Adams said.

Adams garnered about 60% of the vote in his contest against Wheatley In his speech, he talked of potential future gains in areas outside of the secretary of state’s office.

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

Adams said Kentucky has defied the odds and “political physics” by taking on a polarizing issue of how to vote and making the biggest changes in over a hundred years.


Republican Allison Ball handily defeated Democrat Kim Reeder to win the auditor’s race. Ball is serving out her second term as state treasurer.

As the state’s chief watchdog of taxpayer dollars, Ball pledged to audit Jefferson County Public Schools and root out state investments with companies that take environmental and social factors into account.

The Prestonsburg native will replace Republican Mike Harmon who is term-limited as state auditor.

Agriculture Commissioner

Republican Jonathan Shell defeated Democrat Sierra Enlow in Kentucky’s race for agriculture commissioner.

Shell’s victory marks his return to political office. The 35-year-old previously served three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives, including a term as majority floor leader, before being ousted in a primary election in 2018.

As agriculture commissioner, Shell said he’s willing to work with anyone regardless of political affiliation as long as they’re willing to help farmers.

“If your focus is on putting more money in farmers’ pockets and helping profitability and infrastructure in the state and working with the legislature to increase markets and availability, then we'll be able to work together,” he said.

Shell will succeed Republican commissioner Ryan Quarles, who is term-limited and was recently named the next president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.


Mark Metcalf, the Republican county attorney for Garrard County defeated Democratic nominee Michael Bowman in the race for treasurer.

Metcalf delivered a victory speech in his hometown of Lancaster on Tuesday night, saying he’d work for rural Kentuckians and be willing to work with Democratic governor Andy Beshear.

“I said during the campaign that regardless of who the governor was, that I would be creative and collaborative with the governor, working with him wherever we agree, and trying to iron out any differences that we have in order to realize the best interests of Kentuckians,” he said.

Metcalf will succeed current two-term Republican Treasurer Allison Ball, who was term-limited and won Tuesday’s election for state auditor.