The Democratic Governors Association has been funnelling money into a progressive organization known as the Bluegrass Freedom Fund, who've helped drum up support for Beshear.
'08 Senate Race and Mitch McConnell
If Democrats do end up winning Kentucky's governor's mansion, they may be emboldened to step up their effort against Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who is up for re-election in 2008.
Outside progressive groups have been targeting McConnell for his ties to President Bush, and for his support of the Iraq war. McConnell clearly did not embrace Fletcher's re-election by staying neutral in the Republican primary, but he has been out the last few weeks of the campaign, making an appeal for Fletcher.
Democrats are eager to turn their likely victory in Kentucky into a continuation of a 2006 storyline that proved successful for them, painting the GOP as the insider party in power that invites scandal by operating in a corrupt manner.
However, with Democrats now in charge on Capitol Hill, and polls showing that the public is very dissatisfied with Congress, it may be tough to keep that argument going.
Elsewhere in '07
Even with deeply religious Democratic candidate John Eaves and his "who do you serve" progressive message on the ballot, Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., looks like he's on his way to a second term. Eaves is running a self-funded campaign, while Barbour has avoided most of the criticism other politicians endured for their handling of the recovery in the region after Hurricane Katrina. Former Clinton administration secretary of agriculture Mike Espy has endorsed Barbour's re-election.
Although there are no same-sex marriage amendments, or some of the more controversial ballot measures from 2004 and 2006 brewing in the states this year, voters in half a dozen states will deal with interesting questions relating to social issues and taxes. Among the more relevant topics this year, is a vote in New Jersey on bonds for stem cell research.
In Utah, residents will consider whether they want to keep a school voucher program, passed by the state legislature, that would reward between $500 to $3,000 to households to help public school children choose between competing private schools — one of the nation's broadest school choice programs.
The National Education Association has already spent millions trying to defeat the referendum. The Republican-controlled Utah legislature passed the voucher law in February, but the law was suspended before taking effect.