2019 Gubernatorial Elections

Three states are holding gubernatorial elections this year – Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky. Spotlight is working to highlight these races and the range of issues related to poverty and opportunity at play. Use the drop-down options below to see an overview of the races and relevant news coverage (including original pieces from Spotlight). Later in the year, we will provide more detailed looks at how the candidates stack up on poverty-related topics like job creation, the minimum wage and the social safety net.


Incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin is running for reelection. Primaries will be held on May 21. Medicaid has been an especially high-profile issue: The Trump administration has approved the state’s waiver to impose work requirements on the program, but challenges to the reform continue to work their way through the legal system.

In the News

Feds Re-Approve New Rules for Kentucky Medicaid” (Modern Healthcare: 11/20/2018)

Kentucky Governor Loses Another Round in Medicaid Fight” (U.S. News & World Report: 8/20/2018)

Kentucky poverty rate improving, still among worst though” (Richmond Register: (9/13/2018

1 in 5 Louisville kids lives in poverty, and a report says it’s holding the city back” (Courier Journal: 4/10/2018)


Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards is running for reelection. The state’s jungle primary, in which candidates of all parties appear on the ballot together, will be held on October 12. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election will occur on November 16 between the two top candidates. Addressing budget shortfalls proved a major area of focus for the Louisiana Governor and legislature over the last several years, but the state government may now be looking to pivot to new priorities.  


In the News

Louisiana’s the perfect place for a Poor People’s Campaign” (NOLA: 1/30/2019)

Louisiana is healthier with Medicaid expansion” (NOLA: 08/23/2018)

If Cut, Kennedy Says He’ll Try to Save Louisiana Food Stamps” (US News & World Report: 6/14/2018)

Tens of Thousands of Louisiana Residents could face eviction from nursing and group homes” (CNN: 5/9/2018)

Louisiana ranks No. 1 for wage inequality” (Louisiana Weekly: 4/16/2018)

Study: Louisiana Medicaid Expansion Program has $3.5B Impact” (U.S. News & World Report: 4/14/2018)


Term limits mean that incumbent Republican Governor Phil Bryant cannot run for reelection. Primaries will be held on April 6.  Democrats have planned to make Medicaid expansion a priority in the upcoming election, although there are some rumors that Governor Bryant may try to act on the issue before he leaves office.


In the News

In Rural Mississippi, Still Waiting on Recovery” (Reuters: 2/4/2019)

Mississippi one of ten states leading the nation in encouraging well-rounded, ‘healthy schools,’ report finds” (The Hechinger Report: 2/12/2019)

Mississippi’s Republican governor quietly considering Medicaid expansion” (Politico: 12/28/2019)