Washington insiders eye Kentucky's governor race for hints of 2020

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC)-- The political gaze of Washington is on Kentucky Tuesday night.

Jason Grumet from the Bipartisan Policy Center discusses what the Kentucky governor's race means for D.C. (Source: Gray DC)

Results from the governor's race -- pitting incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Kentucky) against Attorney General Andy Beshear (D-Kentucky) -- will begin trickling in later this evening.

We sat down with Jason Grumet, founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center to discuss what Washington insiders hopes to learn from the Kentucky race.

An edited version of our conversation can be viewed above.

Kyle Midura: It’s a tight race, in a national off-year, is that the only reason Washington is paying attention?

Jason Grumet: Washington is desperate to pay attention to something that will provide some sign post of what the future might hold for this election. And, I think this election in Kentucky is unique because Gov. Bevin has really wrapped himself in the clothing of President Trump, quite literally, he’s actually worn a suit. If the governor has a significant victory, it will reinforce the idea that nationalizing the election making it about the president would be helpful in a number of red states.

Kyle Midura: Sen. McConnell is up for re-election yet again in 2020, is there anything to be gleaned here in this race as we look forward to that race?

Jason Grumet:
The attorney general is really focusing on the kind of basic, core Democratic kitchen table issues. I think if candidate Beshear does well, that’s going to encourage Sen. McConnell to also be wanting to think more about those local substantive issues. And, McConnell has been pretty cautious about his interaction and his embrace for President Trump. So, I do think this will give him some instinct about whether that is in his political interest or not.

Kyle Midura: What about the presidential race?

Jason Grumet: So, the wonderful thing about the making predictions about the presidential race is nobody has a clue. And therefore, I would argue confidently that yes, this will provide some signals.

I think a lot of people who are trying to figure out what this race might mean for other states are going to look to the suburbs around Cincinnati. I think it’s going to be the suburban vote that’s going to really draw people’s attention.

Kyle Midura: More predictive than polling?

Jason Grumet: I think that we’re going to over-analyze the outcome of this election, and you will hear both sides claiming victories for their strategies.

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