Back in May, we moved this race from Toss Up to Lean Democratic. The Republican primary produced a weak nominee in businessman Matt Bevin, while Democratic nominee Attorney General Jack Conway is an experienced candidate who has been elected statewide. Our belief that Conway had an advantage in the general election was bolstered by the reaction of Republican strategists in the state who called Bevin’s nomination a “disaster” for the party. More important, national Republicans were signaling that they were not likely to invest in the race. Ten weeks later, the situation has changed. It’s not that Bevin has become a better candidate, or that Conway has made some disqualifying error. Suddenly, though, the Republican Governors Association (via Putting Kentucky First) is spending money in the race. It’s what has triggered the GOP spending that has led us to revisit the rating and move it back to the Toss Up column. Yes, Bevin remains a very weak candidate prone to misstatements and poor performances on the stump where he is often reluctant to answer substantive questions about policy, especially, it
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