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Kentucky Has a New Governor

Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, whose campaign was mired in a hirings-and-firings ethics scandal from earlier in his administration, did not win re-election.

With 90 percent of the votes counted, his opponent, former Attorney General Steve Beshear, unseated the incumbent and gave Democrats control of another governor's office. Beshear netted 59 percent of the vote to Fletcher's 41 percent.

Beshear doesn't have anything earth-shattering on his education agenda—the ever-popular pre-kindergarten expansion, a pledge to raise teacher salaries, and a promise to provide more dual-enrollment opportunities so students can earn college credit while going to high school.

This was a race I blogged about in September because religion in schools became an issue when Fletcher attacked Beshear for enforcing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling years ago banning the Ten Commandments from public school classrooms.

With the results of this race, and last month's governor's race in Louisiana that saw the election of Republican Bobby Jindal, the balance of power is back to where it was: 28 Democratic governors to 22 Republican governors.

Update: The other gubernatorial election, in Mississippi, saw Republican Gov. Haley Barbour win re-election over Democrat John Eaves. When you read Barbour's education agenda, he's in favor of increasing teacher salaries as a lot of other state-level politicians are, but he adds an interesting twist to it. He wants to target additional funding to the most experienced teachers -- those with more than 25 years of experience.

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