KENTUCKY, November 4, 2105– History was made in Kentucky on Tuesday night when two political outsiders, Matt Bevin and Jenean Hampton, were elected in the state’s Gubernatorial race in what was almost a landslide vote.
Hampton, Kentucky’s first African-American Lieutenant Governor, is a Tea Party-aligned firebrand.
Born on Detroit’s west side in 1958, Hampton grew up in a less than ideal financial situation. One of four daughters born to Donald and Marie Hampton, she learned to get by with very little as she watched her parents struggle to support the family.
Hampton has a diverse career. She joined the U.S. Air Force, where she spent seven years writing code and managing software such as the radar used to find enemy planes in Operation Desert Storm, where she was deployed. She then spent 19 years in the corrugated packing industry.
In 2014, Hampton ran for her first political office when she challenged the longest serving state representative in Kentucky history. Her opponent was a Democrat and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) endorsed her in that race, but she lost. That’s all the political experience Hampton had under her belt until she ran for Lt. Governor with Bevin heading the ticket.
Despite being an outsider, Bevin’s name is familiar to many in Republican politics. The wealthy businessman, backed by the Tea Party, took on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary, but was defeated.
Shortly after his defeat to McConnell, Bevin hit the campaign trail again and announced his intent to run for Governor. Eventually, McConnell was on board to support Bevin in the race.
Taking a note from Donald Trump, Bevin mostly self-funded his campaign.
“I have no favors to pay back. There’s not one person in this state who believes they are going to have a job in my administration… There’s not one person who I’ve promised anything to,” he said last week at a diner, according to The Washington Post’s James Hohmann. “Donald Trump is an interesting fellow… Part of what people appreciate about him is the very same thing. He doesn’t owe anybody anything.”
Still, the Republican Governors Association dumped millions into the race.
For weeks, Kentucky pollsters had been calling the race for Democrat Jack Conway by at least 5-10 percent. Bevin won by 9 points.
With 100 percent of the vote counted, Bevin led Conway with 53 percent of the vote compared to the Democrat’s 44 percent, which means pollsters were off by double digits. Independent, libertarian leaning Drew Curtis received nearly 4 percent.