Elections will be held in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. today. Find out what's on your ballot!

Steve Beshear

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Steve Beshear
Steve Beshear 2013.jpg
Governor of Kentucky
In office
December 11, 2007 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 8
PredecessorErnie Fletcher
Base salary$138,012
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 8, 2011
First electedNovember 2007
Next generalTerm-limited
Campaign $$21,676,336
Term limitsTwo consecutive terms
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
Attorney General of Kentucky
Kentucky House of Representatives
Bachelor'sUniversity of Kentucky
J.D.University of Kentucky
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army Reserve
Years of service1969-1975
Date of birthSeptember 21, 1944
Place of birthDawson Springs, Kentucky
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Steven Lynn Beshear (b. September 21, 1944, in Dawson Springs, Kentucky) is the 61st and current Democratic Governor of Kentucky. He was first elected in 2007 and sworn into office on December 11, 2007, by Kentucky Supreme Court Associate Justice Bill Cunningham in a private ceremony in the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort. Beshear is currently serving his second term, having last won re-election in 2011. Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo opted to run for U.S. Senate in 2010 rather than seek re-election, and Louisville mayor Jerry E. Abramson joined Beshear on his re-election ticket. Together, they ran unopposed in the May 17 Democratic primary, allowing their campaign to build its war chest for the general election struggle against the Republican team of David Williams and Richie Farmer. Ultimately, Beshear and Abramson defeated both pairs of opponents, led by David Williams (R) and Gatewood Galbraith (I), in the general election on November 8, 2011.[1]

By the time he became governor, Beshear had already amassed substantial experience serving in political office for the state of Kentucky. His credits include one term as lieutenant governor, from 1983-1987, another as Attorney General of Kentucky, from 1979-1983, in addition to two terms representing the 76th legislative district in the Kentucky House of Representatives, from 1974-1979.[2]

Prior to entering politics, Beshear served in the U.S. Army Reserve as an intelligence analyst. He also has a law degree.[2]

Beshear's second term expires December 15, 2015, and he will be barred by term-limits from seeking re-election to a third consecutive term.


Beshear is a native of Dawson Springs in Hopkins County, KY. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother worked raising Beshear and his four siblings. He earned both a bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of Kentucky, and served in the U.S. Army Reserve as an intelligence analyst.[2]


  • Bachelor's degree - University of Kentucky
  • Juris Doctor - University of Kentucky

Political career

Governor of Kentucky (2007-Present)

On December 11, 2007, Beshear was sworn in as Kentucky's 61st governor by Kentucky Supreme Court Associate Justice Bill Cunningham in a private ceremony in the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort. Beshear received the oath of office again during a public ceremony on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol later that afternoon. The oath of office was administered during the public ceremony by Associate Justice Mary C. Noble.[3]

Common Core

See also: Common Core State Standards Initiative
When Kentucky became the first state in the nation to adopt the Common Core Standards two years ago this month, it was a historical moment for us

It was also a defining step in our ongoing effort a decades long effort to build a world class education system.[4]

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Architecture for Implementing the Common Core Standards: Strategies, Partnerships & Progress, Feb. 28, 2012

In February 2010, Kentucky became the first state to adopt Common Core.[5] The standards were later accepted and finalized as an outgrowth of Kentucky Senate Bill 1 (2009), which mandated that every Kentucky public school student graduate be prepared for higher education or a career.[6]

As of June 2014, math and reading standards were implemented in Kentucky, with the controversial new science standards adopted later in the year, according to current Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. Initially adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education, the science standards were subsequently shot down by a legislative committee vote. Beshear, who serves as chairman of the National Governors Association Education and Workforce Committee, overrode the committee's rejection by executive order.[7]

One of the key figures in the creation and widespread adoption of Common Core across the United States was former state education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit. In February 2013, Wilhoit was named Director of the newly established National Center for Innovation in Education at the University of Kentucky College of Education. Financed in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the center's mission is to promote Common Core standards around the country and facilitate implementation thereof.[8]

In response to Kentucky's implementation of Common Core, Tea Party activist David Adams sued Beshear, claiming the reform was aimed at boosting funding opportunities for Kentucky colleges and universities--the new center at the University of Kentucky being one example--rather than at better preparing students for post-secondary education. He cited past federal education reform flops as precedent for his argument predicting Common Core's futility, lumping the current reform efforts together with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and No Child Left Behind, enacted under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush, respectively.[9]

The Kentucky Department of Education published data comparing college and career preparedness of public high school graduates before and after the state introduced Common Core standards in 2010. The Department found that readiness rates increased from 31.8 percent for 2009-10 to 54.1 percent for 2013.[9]

Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

In December, 2012, Beshear declined to enter Kentucky into the federal health-exchange system established under the Affordable Care Act in favor of setting up a state-based system.[10] Kentucky is one of 18 states - including Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington - that decided to create and run individual health-exchange systems by the deadline on December 14, 2012. The exchange is an online marketplace for citizens to purchase health insurance.[11][12]

Budget crisis

When Beshear took office, he inherited a budget crisis from the previous administration. This crisis led to the decision to cut funding in post-secondary education by nearly 15 percent until the state could increase its revenue stream. As legislators coped with the budget shortfalls, Beshear announced plans for his casino gambling bill on February 15, 2008, which he claimed would generate "several hundred millions of dollars" in tax revenue for the state.[13] The proposal called for up to 12 casinos (some of which would be at existing horse-racing facilities like Churchill Downs) which would generate up to $600 million. To get the casino proposal on the ballot in November 2008, the plan needed 3/5 support in both the state house and senate, which Senate President David Williams gave no chance of happening.[14]

Education and Workforce Committee

In October 2013, Beshear was appointed Chair of the Education and Workforce Committee in the National Governors Association by NGA Chair Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.[15]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Beshear was ranked number 22. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[16][17]

Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (1983-1987)

In 1983, Beshear was elected Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky on a Democratic ticket headed by Martha Layne Collins. Beshear defeated Eugene P. Stuart, the running mate of Jim Bunning, 568,869 votes to 321,352.[2]

Attorney General of Kentucky (1979-1983)

Beshear was elected Attorney General of Kentucky in 1979, defeating Republican nominee Ron Snyder with 471,177 votes to Snyder's 302,951, and served as Attorney General from 1979 to 1983.[2]

Kentucky House of Representatives (1974-1979)

In 1974, Beshear was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives. He represented the 76th District and served in the House from 1974 to 1979.[2]

On The Issues Vote Match

Steve Beshear's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Beshear is a Moderate Populist Conservative. Beshear received a score of 32 percent on social issues and 43 percent on economic issues.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[18]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Favors
Expand ObamaCare Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Unknown
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Strongly Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Strongly Favors
Support & expand free trade Favors Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Strongly Opposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Unknown
Prioritize green energy Neutral Expand the military Favors
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Unknown
Privatize Social Security Unknown Never legalize marijuana Strongly Favors
Note: Information last updated: June 23, 2014.[19] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.



See also: Kentucky gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2011

Beshear announced he would run for re-election on July 20, 2009, adding that his running mate would be Louisville mayor Jerry E. Abramson; incumbent Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo opted to run for U.S. Senate in 2010 rather than seek re-election.[20] Beshear's campaign made significant fundraising progress in 2009 and 2010, entering 2011 with over $3 million in the bank. The ticket went unopposed in the May 17 Democratic primary, allowing it to build its war chest for the general election struggle against the Republican team of David Williams and Richie Farmer.

By mid-June, a month into the general election season, Beshear's team had raised over three times as much as its opponents. Beshear also enjoyed a 21-point advantage over Williams in a June poll.

  • General

On November 8, 2011, Beshear defeated David Williams (R) and Gatewood Galbraith (I).

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

  • Primary

Beshear won the May 2011 Democratic primary by default when the only other candidate to enter the race left the field. After state Senator David Williams won the Republican nomination, the two faced each other in the November general election.

Ethics complaint

On August 2, 2011, Beshear was accused of violating campaign ethics laws during his re-election campaign by Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson. According to Robertson's complaint, one of Beshear's aides illegally pressured state employees to contribute to his campaign. The allegations are based on the testimony of a state whistleblower, psychologist Rodney Young of the Department of Juvenile Justice, as well as a December 2010 CNHI News story that claimed other employees had been strongly encouraged to contribute. Beshear's campaign called the allegations baseless and politically motivated, and the state Democratic Party filed a counter-complaint against his Republican challenger, State Senate President David Williams.[21][22][23]


On December 18, 2006, Beshear formally announced his candidacy for governor of Kentucky in the 2007 election with State Senator Daniel Mongiardo as his lieutenant governor. With 99 percent of precincts reporting as of May 23, 2007, Beshear won the primary; each of his opponents conceded the race to him. Because he exceeded 40 percent of the vote, he avoided a runoff.[24] In the general election, Beshear opposed incumbent Governor Ernie Fletcher . Beshear's platform included expanded gambling, which Fletcher opposed due to the social ills he said come with casinos. On November 6, 2007, Beshear defeated Fletcher by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin.[25]


Beshear was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in 1996, losing to incumbent Mitch McConnell. On November 5, 1996, Mitch McConnell won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Steven L. Beshear (D), Dennis L. Lacy (L), Patricia Jo Metten (Natural Law) and Mac McElroy (U.S. Taxpayers) in the general election.[26]

U.S. Senate, Kentucky General Election, 1996
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMitch McConnell incumbent 55.5% 724,794
     Democratic Steven L. Beshear 42.8% 560,012
     Libertarian Dennis L. Lacy 0.7% 8,595
     Natural Law Patricia Jo Metten 0.6% 8,344
     U.S. Taxpayers Mac McElroy 0.4% 5,284
     N/A Write-in 0% 17
Total Votes 1,307,046


In 1987, Beshear ran for Governor of Kentucky and lost in a packed Democratic primary field. Beshear won 114,439 votes in the primary, for a third place finish behind former governor John Y. Brown, Jr.'s 163,204 votes and 221,138 votes garnered by Wallace G. Wilkinson, who went on to win the general election that fall. Beshear placed ahead of former governor Julian Carroll's 42,137 votes and also defeated Grady Stumbo, who won 84,613 votes. Three other candidates combined for an additional 8,187 votes in that primary. After his defeat in the 1987 election, Beshear practiced law in Lexington, Kentucky.[27]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Beshear is available dating back to 2007. Based on available campaign finance records, Beshear raised a total of $21,676,336 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[28]

Steve Beshear's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 Governor of Kentucky* Won $9,967,222
2009 Governor of Kentucky* Not up for election $666,234
2007 Governor of Kentucky* Won $11,042,880
Grand Total Raised $21,676,336
*These totals are for a joint-ticket campaigns with lieutenant governor running mates.

2007 and 2011

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Steve Beshear's donors each year.[29] Click [show] for more information.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Steve Beshear Kentucky Governor."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Steve Beshear - Google News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. The Daily Independent (Ashland, KY), "Abramson to join Beshear ticket for 2011 re-election," July 19, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Office of the Governor of Kentucky, "Governor Steve Beshear," accessed April 13, 2012
  3. The Mountain Eagle, "Beshear is sworn in in private ceremony," December 12, 2007
  4. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. Common Core Conference Speech, "Architecture for Implementing the Common Core Standards: Strategies, Partnerships & Progress," February 28, 2012
  6. The Associated Press, "Beshear heralds acceptance of common core standards in education," February 28, 2014
  7. theNorthwestern.com, "State lawmakers push Common Core agenda with 340 bills," June 13, 2014
  8. University of Kentucky News, "Foundations Fund National Education Reform Program at UK," February 11, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Lexington Herald-Leader, "Educators say Kentucky is on the right track with Common Core standards," June 15, 2014
  10. The New York Times, "Most states miss deadline to set up health exchange," December 14, 2012
  11. The New York Times, "Most states miss deadline to set up health exchange," December 14, 2012
  12. The Daily Times, "Governor Susana Martinez to tackle state-based health exchange," January 9, 2013
  13. Beshear to unveil casino bill next week by Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, Feb. 08, 2008
  14. Kentucky may get up to 12 casinos by Gregory A. Hall, The Courier-Journal, Feb. 15, 2008
  15. NGA News Release NGA Chooses New Committee Leadership, E-mail communication to Kristen Mathews October 23, 2013
  16. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  17. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  18. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  19. On The Issues, "Steve Beshear Vote Match," accessed June 23, 2014
  20. The Daily Independent (Ashland, KY), "Abramson to join Beshear ticket for 2011 re-election," July 19, 2009
  21. Herald Dispatch.com, "Beshear, Williams facing ethics complaints," August 2, 2011
  22. The Times-Tribune, "Gov. Beshear accused of strong-arm tactics," August 2, 2011
  23. Louisville Courier-Journal, "Democrats charge David Williams should have reported gambling winnings," August 1, 2011
  24. Fletcher, Beshear to Face off in Nov. LEX18, May 27, 2006
  25. Beshear beats Fletcher to win race for Kentucky governor The Courier-Journal, Nov. 06, 2007
  26. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  27. US Election Atlas, "1987 Gubernatorial Democratic Primary Election Results - Kentucky," accessed June 19, 2013
  28. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Steven L. Beshear & Daniel Mongiardo," accessed July 11, 2013
  29. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernie Fletcher
Governor of Kentucky
2007 - present
Succeeded by