BRADENTON, Fla. – Voters in Mississippi and Kentucky opted largely for the GOP side of the tickets in statewide office races.
On Tuesday, Mississippi voters allowed incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to serve a second term while voters in Kentucky chose a Tea Party favorite to succeed their outgoing Democratic governor.
In Mississippi, Bryant picked up 66% of the vote against Democratic challenger Robert Gray in unofficial results Wednesday afternoon.
Republican incumbents also swept six of the seven top state offices on Mississippi's ballot, including Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Auditor General Stacey Pickering, Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith, and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. Attorney General Jim Hood is a Democrat.
Magnolia state voters also rejected Initiative 42 by 52% of the ballots cast.
If the constitutional amendment had passed, the state could have been subjected to lawsuits for not providing funding for "an adequate and efficient" public school system. The outcome of Tuesday's election means the power over education funding remains in lawmakers' hands.
In Kentucky, voters selected Republican Matt Bevin to succeed term-limited Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat.
Bevin, who won with 52.5% of the vote, becomes only the second GOP governor in the Bluegrass state over the last 40 years.
Benvin's priorities include potentially placing state employees and teachers into 401(k) plans to deal with the state's massive unfunded pension liabilities.
Bevin has also said that he will close Beshear's Medicaid expansion plan, called kynect, and require some 500,000 participants to obtain coverage on the federal exchange.
In other state offices in Kentucky, two Democratic incumbents lost bids for reelection while two others won their races: Secretary of State Alison Grimes and Attorney General Andy Beshear, who is the son of the governor.
Voters opted for Republican candidates in other races, including Mike Harmon as auditor general, Allison Bell as treasurer, and Ryan Quarles as agriculture commissioner.