(WCPO) — To understand the dramatic switch in loyalty away from Matt Bevin in northern Kentucky, perhaps look no further than the Brent Spence Bridge.
Some believe late-campaign comments Bevin made about adding tolls to the bridge to help fund a new billion dollar project may to be blame for the flip-flop. WCPO in Cincinnati reported in 2015 Bevin swept Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties by 17,000 votes, but on Tuesday, Andy Beshear cut his margin in those areas to just 4,000 votes.
"Tolls right now in northern Kentucky is a hot button issue, " said former Kenton County Clerk Rodney Eldridge.
According to WCPO, tolls are something many northern Kentuckians are staunchly opposed to, and Covington's mayor believes it is a serious enough issue to make a measurable difference.
"I believe it could, " Mayor Joe Meyer told WCPO. "If 2,600 northern Kentuckians switch from support to opposition it changes the outcome of the election, " he said.
Former Kenton County Clerk Rodney Eldridge is a Bevin supporter, but he told WCPO he can understand that, coupled with other big issues, tolling the bridge could have been something to swing voters.
"There's enough people crossing that bridge every day, you know 180,000 people crossing that bridge, that it will play some importance in any election, " Eldridge explained.
Bevin's comments about an inevitable toll on the bridge were in contrast to Andy Beshear's, who said he would work to find a way other than tolls to fund the new bridge project.
Bevin won Boone County, but Beshear took Kenton and Campbell Counties and ultimately the election by just more than 5,000 votes.