A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Matt Bevin concedes Kentucky governor’s race after Thursday’s recanvass produces no changes

Governor-elect Andy Beshear speaks to reporters after Matt Bevin conceded the race Thursday. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A statewide recanvass of voters in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race showed no change in the totals, giving Democrat Andy Beshear a 5,136-vote margin over Republican incumbent Matt Bevin in the Nov. 5 general election, and leading Bevin to concede the race on Thursday afternoon.

Unofficial results from the Secretary of State and State Board of Elections on election night showed Beshear winning by 5,189 out of 1.4 million votes cast, but the numbers certified by each county’s local board of elections on Friday turned up some errors in the count, leading to the 5,136 total.

The only change from the Friday numbers occurred in Casey County, where an additional vote was found for write-in candidate Blackii Effing Whyte, giving him a statewide total of 46 votes.

Gov. Matt Bevin conceded the governor’s race on Thursday at a press conference in the Capitol. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

Outgoing Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes invited Secretary-elect Michael Adams to participate in the process. “It’s been my privilege to serve the state for eight years, and I want to make sure that Secretary-Elect Adams doesn’t encounter his first recanvass during a Presidential election year.”

While the last numbers were coming in, Gov. Bevin spoke to reporters outside his Capitol office, in which he said he would not pursue the matter further.

“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 have come in. It isn’t fair to throw that on our legislature to try and find something that there just isn’t. We know of some things but not enough to cause us to think there’s going to be meaningful change.”

He also wished his opponent well. “I truly want the best for Andy Beshear as he moves forward. I genuinely want him to be successful, I want this state to be successful.”

Beshear also met with reporters at the Kentucky Education Association Building a few blocks away from the Capitol, where he said, “I want to thank Gov. Bevin. This was a tough race, but it is now over, and I appreciate the fact that his administration was already moving forward in a smooth transition.”

As part of moving forward, Beshear said, “It’s time that we come together as a commonwealth. At the end of the day, we are all on ‘Team Kentucky.’ Whether we are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, we share more in common as Kentuckians than any national divisions can ever pull us apart.”

Looking to the future, Beshear said he will have another major announcement for his transition team at the Capitol on Friday.

When asked if he and his family would be living in the Governor’s Mansion, Beshear said, “Yes. I know we will be one of the first families in a long time to live there full-time, which we’re going to do.”

Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes and Secretary-elect Michael Adams during the recanvassing Thursday. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

He did say there may be a change in how the mansion is used for outside events. “First and foremost, my job is to be the best dad I can be, so there may be differences in the way that I govern, to make sure that I am also there for my family.”

Beshear and his wife Brittany have two young children, Will and Lila.

Andy Beshear and his father Steve Beshear, who was governor from 2007 to 2015, will become the first father and son to serve as governor in Kentucky history.

Grimes said it was important for Adams to be a part of the recanvassing process. “It sets the tone of what public service should be doing, as you transition power.”

She noted this was the 24th recanvass she has conducted while in office, and that it takes a lot of people to conduct an election. “It’s not just your chief election official,” she said. “(There are) 15,000 precinct election officers, 120 county boards of elections, and amazing staff.”

Adams said he appreciated being able to gain experience in how a recanvass is conducted. “I also think it’s very welcome for Secretary Grimes to extend me this invitation, as a signal to all Kentuckians this is a fair process, a bipartisan process. It’s bipartisan at the bottom with county boards of elections and county clerks of both parties. It’s bipartisan with the state Board of Elections and it’s bipartisan here at the top.

“This is a great apprenticeship, for sure.”

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