After a highly contested race, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is refusing to concede his seat, even though the race has been called in favor of his opponent by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on CNN, according to Fox News. The Associated Press also refused to call a winner due to the tight margin of the race.
Bevin, citing “irregularities” in the voting process, has decided not to step down until a recount. At press time, Bevin’s opponent, Andy Beshear, has 49.2 percent (711,955 votes) to 48.9 percent for Bevin. A Libertarian candidate, John Hicks, received 28,475 votes, or 2.0 percent of the vote.
There are three options to election irregularities in Kentucky: a recanvass, a recount, and an election contest. All candidates have until a week after the election to file a recanvassing request with the Secretary of State. According to Fox news, “If a recanvassing happens, the county election boards will recheck each machine and report the figure back to the county clerk.” Members of both parties are allowed to present during recanvassing procedures.
For a recount, the challenging candidate needs to file with the Franklin County Circuit Court by November 13 to request a recount. The challenger fronts the cost of the recount, and a Kentucky judge will be appointed to manage the recount procedure. It is their job to recount the ballots both digital and paper, and come to their own conclusion. While the judge’s decision would be final, an appeal might be placed with either the Kentucky Court of Appeals or the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The final option would be a election contest. This would also require a filing by November 13. The move requires specific judicial movement, and the filing must have merit on legal grounds, such as proven corrupt practices during the voting process.
Bevin was, apparently, not a popular governor, often sparring with striking Kentucky public school teachers and putting forth unpopular solutions to the state’s pension crisis. He threatened to cut a Medicade expansion that would have pushed 400,009 Kentuckians off of their insurance. He polled poorly before the election took place.
“There has never been a poll ever taken since I’ve been a candidate or since I’ve been governor … that has ever found me above water on anything or likely to win anything, ever. … Polls, shmolls,” he said in February.
“Trump won Kentucky by some 30 points in 2016. Bevin won by ten,” said Chris Cuomo during CNN’s election night coverage. “He’s no Trump in his own state.”
Beshear, meanwhile, enjoyed a victory lap.
“Here in Kentucky, we can still fight from the very top levels of government for every family including the lost, the lonely and the left behind,” said Beshear during his victory speech.
The graphic below, provided by Statista, shows Democractic gains in state governorships in 2019.
This article was updated to include an infographic.