In West Virginia earlier this year, which was a much closer contest, Republicans made a hard push to tie the Democratic nominee to President Obama
, but in the end, the onslaught of ads and attacks wasn't enough, as the Republican came up just short of an upset. In Kentucky, a similar effort was made to tie Beshear to Obama. But it didn't get much traction. And because Williams's standing in the polls has been so poor, national Republicans -- who helped the Republican nominee in West Virginia until the very end of the campaign with ads tying the Democrat to the president -- stopped running ads well before the stretch run of the race
If, as widely expected, Beshear wins on Tuesday, it will mean that in the neighboring states of West Virginia and Kentucky -- two states where Obama is very unpopular -- Democrats will have won governor's races in 2011. Julie Sobel
and I wrote earlier this year about the Appalachian paradox
; Democrats doing well where the national party and the president do not. Beshear's popularity is due in part to remaining scandal-free and keeping an appropriate distance from the national party while crafting a moderate profile. It certainly didn't hurt that he ran against a very flawed opponent, either.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time (part of Kentucky is in the Eastern Time Zone and part in is the Central Time Zone) on Tuesday. Stay tuned to Hotline On Call
for results Tuesday night.