Kentucky Senate president: Bevin should concede if recanvass confirms results

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R) said Gov. Matt Bevin (R) should concede the Bluegrass State’s razor-thin gubernatorial race if a recanvass confirms he fell short.

“It’s time to call it quits and go home, say he had a good four years and congratulate Gov.-elect Beshear,” Stivers said Friday in an interview with the Louisville Courier Journal.


Bevin finished Tuesday’s gubernatorial race just over 5,000 votes behind Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, though he has refused to concede and has requested a recanvass of the race.

Ballots would not be recounted in a recanvass; instead, election officials would review vote totals to make sure that their initial figures weren’t misrepresented in reporting. The recanvass should be finished by Nov. 14 and is not expected to delay the certification process.

However, Bevin could also move to contest the election results, which would require him to specify a reason for doing so, such as voting improprieties. Kentucky’s Republican-controlled state legislature would then review the election.

But Stivers expressed skepticism that Bevin would be able to prove that any improprieties caused him to lose the race. 

“It’s a pretty high bar," he said.

The comments come as other Republicans in Frankfort also express skepticism that irregularities contributed to Bevin’s apparent defeat, a sign that the governor would not have internal support to make an extended claim that he unfairly lost the race.

"For all the Republicans who scream and yell that we shouldn't overturn an election with impeachment and removal of the president, they should feel exactly the same way about overturning an election for the governor's race," said state Rep. Adam Koenig (R).

The winner of an election in Kentucky has never been changed by a recanvass, according to the Courier Journal. The last recanvass of a statewide contest occurred in 2015 when James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerOvernight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate Oversight GOP eyes records on Afghanistan withdrawal GOP seeks oversight hearing with Kerry on climate diplomacy  MORE lost to Bevin in the Republican gubernatorial primary by 83 votes.