Joseph Gerth, Louisville Courier Journal
Matt Bevin was quick to congratulate republican victories and stated he will not concede while demanding a recount. Alton Strupp, Louisville Courier Journal
There have been contested elections in Kentucky but not on the scale of what’s going on in the state governor’s race, where late Tuesday it appeared that Gov. Matt Bevin lost his reelection bid to Attorney General Andy Beshear.
With 100% of precincts reporting and trailing by a slim 4,658 votes, Bevin defiantly took to the stage at the Republican “victory” celebration at the Galt House in Louisville and declared that he wasn’t giving up.
He didn’t say exactly what that meant, but it likely will start with a recanvass that will call for election officials to check all voting machines in the state and make sure their vote totals match up with what was reported to the secretary of state’s office.
That’s not likely to move more than a handful of votes.
Tuesday night, election experts incorrectly said Bevin would be able to seek a recount if he and the GOP decided that’s what they wanted — and to pay the oodles of dollars it will cost to do a recount.
But Wednesday, it became clear that Bevin’s only recourse is to contest the election, which would mean going to the Republican-held state legislature and asking it to overturn the elections results because — well, because they have the votes to do it.
That would seem to be unlikely.
Matt Bevin told Republicans that he was not conceding to Andy Beshear Sam Upshaw Jr., Louisville Courier Journal
In 2004, there was an election contest in the state Senate when Dana Seum Stephenson was trying to be seated in a southern Jefferson County Senate district, even though a court ruled she was ineligible to serve.
The Republican Senate sided with the Republican Stephenson, but the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled against her and ordered a new election.
Then, of course, there was the Republican primary four years ago when Landslide Bevin emerged from a four-candidate field to win the nomination by just 83 votes. James Comer, the second-place finisher, asked for a recanvass. That’s where it ended.
Whatever they decide, Bevin and the legislature will have to act. The constitution calls on the governor to be sworn in on the fifth Tuesday following the election. That would be Dec. 10 for those of you keeping score at home.
We can only hope this one goes that quickly.
Joseph Gerth can be reached at 502-582-4702 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/josephg.