Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has conceded defeat in last week’s nail-biting election after a statewide recanvass of the vote did not show a significant change in the vote count.
Bevin had asked Kentucky’s 120 counties to conduct a recanvass in the days after his narrow loss to Attorney General Andy Beshear (D).
Beshear beat Bevin by just 5,189 votes, or about four-tenths of a percentage point, though Bevin brought up unsubstantiated allegations of voting irregularities.
But he acknowledged at a press conference Thursday that the recanvass would not make a significant difference in the vote count. He said he would not ask the Republican-controlled legislature to overturn the results.
“We’re going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people,” Bevin said. “I’m not going to contest these numbers that come in. It isn’t fair to throw that on our legislature.”
Bevin said his team had already begun meeting with Beshear’s transition team. The governor-elect will be inaugurated in December, just weeks after he won election.
“I wish Attorney General Beshear well as he transitions to his next role,” Bevin said. “It’s a big responsibility.”
Bevin and Beshear feuded virtually nonstop during the four years in which they were both in office. The two offices sued each other repeatedly amid an increasingly dysfunctional relationship that got worse as their eventual electoral clash grew nearer.
Though Kentucky has more registered Democrats than Republicans, its shift in recent years toward cultural conservatism should have made Bevin the favorite for a second term.
But he spent his first four years in office fighting with interest groups across Kentucky, including teachers, who went on strike and then took offense when Bevin insulted them to members of his own party in the state legislature.
He even fought with his own hand-picked lieutenant governor, whom he unceremoniously dropped from the ticket earlier this year.
His approval rating slumped with each successive incident. In an indication that Bevin's political problems did not extend to the rest of the state Republican Party, the GOP won every other statewide race on the ballot Tuesday, including Beshear's soon-to-be-former job as attorney general.
To save himself, Bevin turned to a temperamental twin in the closing weeks of the race: President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE.
Bevin spent the final weeks of the race criticizing Democrats' attempts to impeach Trump, an issue no Kentucky governor has a say in but one that connected Beshear with national Democrats who are deeply unpopular in the Bluegrass State.
Trump rallied on behalf of Bevin the night before Election Day. Some Republicans were alarmed at the outcome even after Trump engaged so much on Bevin’s behalf.
— Updated at 2:40 p.m.
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