Kentucky gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2011

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Main article: State executive official elections, 2011

The Kentucky gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election of 2011 was held on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, following a primary election on May 17, 2011.[1] Polling hours on all election days are from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, local time.

Incumbent Gov. Steve L. Beshear (D) first won election in 2007 and won re-election in 2011. His lieutenant governor, Daniel Mongiardo, ran for and lost the Democratic primary for the Class III U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Rand Paul. Beshear's running mate for 2011 was Jerry Abramson, a former Louisville mayor.

Beshear and Abramson defeated the Republican ticket of state Senate President David Williams and outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. The independent ticket of trial attorney Gatewood Galbraith and Dea Riley placed third in the race.

Kentucky elects the governor and the lieutenant governor on a shared ticket with a single primary election for both offices.

State Executive Official Elections

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Key dates

  • Detailed dates and deadlines relevant to the election are listed at the Kentucky State Board of Elections.[2]
  • Voters may check their registration status, register for the first time, or request an absentee ballot at the Kentucky State Board of Election's Voter Registration Portal.
  • Certified results for elections were legally due no later than June 6, 2011, for the primary and November 28, 2011, for general election results. These were the latest dates for the state canvassers.
  • Administrative deadlines were at close of business (4:00) unless otherwise noted.
Deadline Event
January 25, 2011 Declaration of candidacy for primary
April 18, 2011 Voter registration for primary
May 10, 2011 Deadline to request absentee ballots by mail
May 16, 2011 Deadline to request absentee ballots in person
May 17, 2011 Emergency absentee ballot request for primary
May 17, 2011 Primary election
May 27, 2011 Last day to request a recount and to challenge primary results
June 6, 2011 Certification of primary results
August 9, 2011 Declaration of candidacy for general election
October 11, 2011 Voter registration for general election
October 28, 2011 Write-in candidate announcement for general election
November 1, 2011 Deadline to request absentee ballot for general election by mail
November 7, 2011 Deadline to request absentee ballot for general election in person
November 8, 2011 Emergency absentee ballot request for general election
November 8, 2011 General election
November 15, 2011 Last day to challenge general election results
November 18, 2011 Last day to request a general election recount
November 28, 2011 Certification of general election results

Race background

Steve Beshear previously served in Kentucky's House of Representatives, as the Commonwealth's attorney general, and as the lieutenant governor, all prior to being elected to his first term as governor. Well-known throughout the state, he secured his first term with a 17-point plurality, ousting Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher.

In his first term, Beshear was a relatively unpopular governor in a national political landscape where only a handful of governors could claim to have approval ratings nearing 50 percent.[3] He saw his numbers rise from the beginning of his first term, with approval ratings taken in conjunction with preliminary polls on the 2011 gubernatorial election giving him favorable ratings in the upper 40s.

His only announced primary contender was perennial candidate Otis Hensley, Jr. In the 2007 Democratic primary for the governorship Hensley took 1.09 percent, compared to 41.02 percent for Beshear. By the time the deadline for candidates to file passed, Hensley's name was not on any official lists of gubernatorial hopefuls.

Across the aisle, state Senate President David L. Williams and businessman Phillip Moffet declared their candidacies. Beshear bested each by double-digit margins in hypothetical match-ups, with larger edges over Moffet. Hypothetical match-ups between Beshear and Moffett generated higher undecided totals than a Beshear-Williams contest. This trend reflected Moffet's lower name recognition and voter fatigue from a busy 2010 midterm election.

Beshear made his re-election run with a new running mate. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo chose to pursue a U.S. Senate seat, making him unavailable when Beshear announced he would run again in July 2009. In Mongiardo's place, Jerry Abramson, Lousiville's mayor, joined the ticket.

Among GOP hopefuls, Representative Mike Harmon ran with Moffet and Williams ran with State Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. Farmer's stint as a University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball player may have boosted his appeal and name recognition on the campaign trail.

An independent ticket featuring gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Dea Riley also ran during the 2011 race. Galbraith made his fifth gubernatorial run in 2011 and previously ran as a Democratic and Reform Party candidate.

Race tracking

See also: Ballotpedia Election Racetracking
2011 Race Rankings for Governor of Kentucky
Race Tracker Race Rating
The Cook Political Report Leans Democratic
Governing Politics Toss-up
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball Likely Democratic
The Rothenberg Political Report Toss-up/Tilting Democrat
Overall Call Leans Democratic


Governor and Lt. Governor of Kentucky, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Beshear and Jerry E. Abramson 55.7% 464,245
     Republican David Williams and Richie Farmer 35.3% 294,034
     Independent Gatewood Galbraith and Dea Riley 9% 74,860
Total Votes 833,139


On February 28 and March 1, 2010, Braun Research conducted a telephone survey of 804 Kentucky voters who were likely to vote in 2011. Respondents were asked "if the election for governor and lieutenant governor were held today, and your choices were the Democratic ticket of Steve Beshear and Herry Abramson or the Republican ticket of David Williams and Richie Farmer, who would you vote for?"

Date of Poll Pollster Beshear (D) Williams (R) Don't Know Number polled
Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2010 Braun Research, Inc 48.4% 37.6% 12.6% 804

Eight months later, Mason-Dixon Polling conducted a similar survey, and though the Beshear/Abramson ticket lost a little bit of ground, they maintained a 15-point advantage over Williams/Farmer. In a later poll, conducted in June 2011, the incumbent and his running mate gained 6 points, with 7 percent of the polled voters clarifying their position in the eight months between polls.

Date of Poll Pollster Beshear (D) Williams (R) Galbraith (I) Don't Know Number polled
Oct 18 - 19, 2010 Mason-Dixon Polling 45% 30% 5% 20% 625
June 6 - 8, 2011 Braun Research, Inc 51% 29.6% 5.6% 13.8% 802
August 25 - 28, 2011 Public Policy Polling 55% 28% 10% 8% 600


In the event that no candidate received more than 40 percent of the vote in the party's primary, a runoff would have been scheduled. Turnout was scant, perhaps even lighter than predicted, but in the Republican field, the only real primary, David Williams finished with an eight-point cushion to avoid that runoff.

Gubernatorial Republican Primary election
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party ApprovedaDavid Williams 48.22%
     Republican Party Phil Moffett 37.98%
     Republican Party Barbara Holsclaw 13.80%
Total Votes 142,108

Gubernatorial Democratic Primary election
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party ApprovedaSteve Beshear (uncontested)
     Democratic Party Otis Hensley, Jr. (left race)
Total Votes



  • Steve Beshear, the incumbent governor, ran with Jerry E. Abramson, the former Mayor of Louisville.
  • Otis "Bull Man" Hensley, Jr., a contractor for the state highway department, was running with Richard Robbins, his co-candidate in prior races. Hensley's name did not appear on the list of final candidates released on January 26, 2011.





Date of Poll Pollster Holsclaw/Vermillion Moffett/Harmon Williams/Farmer Don't Know/Other Number polled
April 8 - 13 Survey USA 12% 21% 47% 21% 507

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance administers laws regulating election financing and reporting. It is also the repository for all reports that candidates and committees are required to file.

Due dates for reports

Due dates for the 2011 primary season were as follows:

32-day pre- Primary Report, due April 15, 2011

15-day pre- Primary Report, due May 2, 2011

30-day post- Primary Report, due June 16, 2011

60-day post- Primary Report, due July 16, 2011

Due dates for the general season were as follows:

32-day pre- General Report, due October 7, 2011

15-day pre- General Report, due October 24, 2011

30-day post- General Report, due December 8, 2011

60-day post- General Report, due January 7, 2012

  • Contributions include all fundraising and donations, loans, money rolled over from previous accounts, and all other income to the campaign.
  • Reports are listed by the day the candidate filed, which may or may not be the due date.
  • Amended reports are only put on a separate line if the amendment showed a changes in the total amounts; otherwise, there is simply a note to indicate that an amendment was filed.


Beshear & Abramson

Steve Beshear and Jerry Abramson Campaign Finance Reports[5]
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Total Contributions (Expenditures) Cash on Hand
30 Day Post-Primary June 16, 2011 $3,239,082.90 $134,605.50 $(2,887,718.53) $485,969.87
15 Day Pre-Primary May 2, 2011 $3,322,565.04 $200,627.84 $(284,109.98) $3,239,082.90
32 Day Pre-Primary April 15, 2011 $2,640,682.94 $1,146,120.20 $(464,242.10) $3,322,565.04

Williams & Farmer

David Williams and Richie Farmer Campaign Finance Reports[6]
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Total Contributions (Expenditures) Cash on Hand
30 Day Post-Primary June 16, 2011 $206,511.277 $92,787.00 $(209,935.02) $89,363.25
15 Day Pre-Primary May 6, 2011 $669,839.23 $76,934.00 $(540,261.96) $206,511.27
32 Day Pre-Primary April 15, 2011, amended May 16, 2011 $641,658.57 $446,943.01 $(418,762.35) $669,839.23

Former candidates

Holsclaw & Vermillion

Moffett & Harmon

See also

External links

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