Tea Party Revolution in Kentucky

A GOP victory is a surprise but a tea party revolution is a “shock.”

The media thinks it is quite shocking. The headline at the Kentucky Herald-Leader admits it: “Matt Bevin shocks Jack Conway to become next governor of Kentucky.”

He never led until the end, and that’s when it counted.

Republican Matt Bevin, who trailed in every public poll since winning the Republican primary in May by 83 votes, shocked Democrat Jack Conway on Tuesday to become the next governor of Kentucky.

With help from national Republicans he has shunned repeatedly, Bevin was able to overcome a campaign of missteps and self-inflicted wounds to become the first Republican governor since Ernie Fletcher’s 2003 victory and only the second since Louie Nunn left office in 1971.

Bevin was able to defy pundits, political insiders and polling — including one released by his own campaign in October that showed him losing — and emerge a winner Tuesday night.

In the end, it wasn’t even close. Bevin won 106 of the state’s 120 counties on his way to a nine-point victory.

I suspect, rather than overcoming a bad campaign, the polls showing Bevin so far behind were simply inaccurate.

It is noteworthy that Bevin was a strong supporter of Kim Davis.

He was also the tea party candidate that unsuccessfully opposed John Boehner for the Senate. This isn’t just a history-making Republican victory, but a tea party upset.

This is even clearer when we look at the Lieutenant Governor, Jenean Hampton. National Review: “Kentucky’s New GOP Lt. Gov. Is Black Tea-Party Activist.”

Hampton’s path certainly represents triumph over adversity. Born in Detroit, the 57-year-old Hampton and her three sisters were raised by a single mom who lacked a high school education and couldn’t afford a television or a car. But Hampton was determined to better herself. She graduated with a degree in industrial engineering and worked for five years in the automobile industry to pay off her college loans. She then joined the Air Force, retiring as a Captain. She earned an MBA from the University of Rochester, moved to Kentucky and became a plant manager in a corrugated packaging plant. Then she lost her job in 2012.

She used her free time to start a career in politics and becoming active in the Tea Party. She ran a losing race for state representative in 2014 but won an early endorsement from Senator Rand Paul. She was tapped by Bevin to be his running-mate earlier this year.

“I’m aware of the historical significance. People point it out … Really, I just never think about it,” she says.“We’re different races, different sexes, he grew up in the country, I grew up in the city. We represent a broad range of the Kentucky demographic.”

So the first African American in Kentucky history to win statewide office is a tea party member. The tea party really is making history.