Andy Beshear (D)
Andy Beshear (D)
Matt Bevin (R – Incumbent)
Matt Bevin (R – Incumbent)

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a nonpartisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included,,,, and public candidate statements. For guides to local races, see from the League of Women Voters and For more detailed information visit their pages.

Visit and to volunteer. Other senate candidates include John Hicks (L). Due to limited space, we can’t include candidates who are polling at less than 15%, but encourage you to check out his stances. To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here.

Abortion: Mostly ban or mostly legal?

Beshear  – Legal. “Women should be able to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions without interference from the government.” Supported ACLU lawsuit to keep open Kentucky’s only abortion clinic.

Bevin – Ban. Has called himself “the most pro-life governor in America.” Signed laws to ban after 11 weeks except in medical emergency & ban after fetal heartbeat detected, which can be as early as 6 weeks.


Climate Change: Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Beshear  – Yes. “Climate change is real, but you don’t have to take my word for it, ask any farmer here in Kentucky or ask the U.S. Military which is preparing for it each & every day.” Unclear on specific greenhouse gas regulations.

Bevin – No. “The idea that somehow we created this solely & need to fix it solely is an absolutely preposterous assumption of the authority & power of man as related to the planet.”


Economy: Support Trump tariffs on Chinese steel & other products?

Beshear  – No. Tariffs hurt Kentucky soy farmers.

Bevin – Mixed. Has called tariffs “a tax” that could hinder sales of KY products, but considers them a valid short-term tactic to correct a trade system that Trump’s predecessors allowed.


Education: Support recent Kentucky teacher protests where large numbers called in sick?

Beshear  – Yes. Sued in 2018 to block Bevin’s teacher pension plan cuts & in 2019 to block Bevin’s subpoena to disclose the names of teachers who participated in the sickouts.

Bevin – No. The sickouts were a response to cuts to public-system pension plans that Bevin signed into law. He subpoenaed the names of teachers involved.


Education: Increase funding for K-12 education?

Beshear  – Yes. Strengthen public education & reverse cuts to Kentucky K-12 programs.

Bevin – Unclear. Vetoed legislative bill to increase funding, though said would approve with additional funding sources.


Education: Increase funding for higher education?

Beshear  – Yes. Promised to restore higher education funding that Bevin had cut. Wants to see significant increases in higher education funding.

Bevin –  No. State can’t continue to fund higher education as before “because the money isn’t there.” Budget cuts can also steer students toward more practical disciplines & force schools to cut programs that don’t add value.


Education: Expand charter schools & offer public support for children attending private schools?

Beshear  – No. This diverts money from public schools. “Every child deserves a world class education. But we get there by fully funding public schools.”

Bevin – Yes. Signed law for state investment in charter schools.Praised Betsy DeVos’ school-choice proposal as “gift” to states.


Elections: Support nonpartisan redistricting to address potential partisan gerrymandering?

Beshear  – Yes. Sees partisan gerrymandering as harmful & unconstitutional.

Bevin – Position unknown.


Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

Beshear  – Yes. “I support the right of all Kentuckians to marry the person they love.”

Bevin – No. Has consistently opposed gay marriage. In 2014 said it opened the door to people marrying their children for the tax benefits.


Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation?

Beshear  – Mixed. In 2015 said current laws are sufficient. In wake of El Paso & Dayton shootings, now supports “red flag law” to remove guns from people deemed a “potential threat.”

Bevin – No. Signed law for “constitutional carry,” carrying concealed weapons without a permit. “Guns are not the problem. We have a cultural problem.”


Healthcare: Support or repeal Obamacare? Accept ACA’s Medicaid expansion to subsidize low-income participants? Require people to work to receive Medicaid?

Beshear  – Support. Supports ACA & Medicaid expansion.“Health care is a basic human right.” As Attorney General intervened against a lawsuit that would have repealed ACA.Calls work rules “callous,” saying would hurt rural Kentucky health care.

Bevin – Joined lawsuit to repeal ACA. As governor, has placed new limits on Medicaid expansion & has attempted to impose work requirements currently blocked in court.


Healthcare: Allow Planned Parenthood to receive public funds for non-abortion health services?

Beshear  – Yes. Is endorsed by Planned Parenthood.

Bevin – No. Worked to deny health services funding to Planned Parenthood.


Labor: Support right-to-work law, preventing unions from mandating dues for workers they represent?

Beshear  – No. Would “support a bill to repeal this law & reinstate the prevailing wage law.”

Bevin – Yes. Signed “Right-to-Work” into law.


Marijuana: Legalize or decriminalize marijuana?

Beshear  – Partially. Supports placing medical marijuana legalization on the ballot. Opposes jail time for “simply possessing” marijuana.

Bevin – No. Open to medical. Recreational legalization would lead to an increase in homelessness, emergency room visits, & disease.


Minimum Wage: Raise state minimum wage from current $7.25?

Beshear  – Yes. “We need to raise the minimum wage.”

Bevin – No. As governor, reversed increase in minimum for state executive branch workers from $10.10 back to $7.25.


Renewable Energy: Support development of renewable energy?

Beshear  – Need to diversify & include “as many renewables as possible.” Specific renewables plan not found.

Bevin –  No. Opposes tax-payer subsidies of renewables; calls powering the world through them “unrealistic.”


Taxes: Support which tax policies?

Beshear  – Opposes shift from income to sales taxes. Limit tax incentives for outside corporations. Add new revenue sources like casino gambling & legalizing & taxing medical marijuana. End tax incentives for companies that don’t pay a living wage.

Bevin – Signed $106 million tax cut for banks & other institutions. Would shift revenue base to sales taxes: “I think the state income tax & state corporate tax should be zero.”Offer tax incentives for corporations investing in state.


Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules like voter ID requirements or easier absentee ballot rules, even if makes voting more difficult?

Beshear  – No. Supports automatic voter registration, extended voting hours, no-excuse absentee voting & restoring voting rights to nonviolent felons who have served their time.

Bevin – Mixed. Vetoed a bill that would have cut in half the time for citizens to request an absentee ballot. Reversed a previous executive order to automatically restore voting rights to nonviolent felons who have served their time.