In a move observers are calling a huge blow to the state’s economy, Toyota is closing their Northern Kentucky headquarters as part of a national consolidation.

The relocation will result in the loss of 1,600 mostly white-collar jobs.

From The Cincinnati Enquirer:

A few hundred engineers also may move to the company’s manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Ky., where more than 7,000 people now work.

The Georgetown plant will not be affected by the moves announced Monday.

The decision to pull out of Erlanger, home to Toyota’s North American engineering and manufacturing headquarters since 1996, is a huge blow to the region and to the workers who will be displaced.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin, who is planning to unveil his jobs plan in Hazard, Ky. on Thursday, shared his disappointment with the decision.

“I am shocked and saddened to hear that Toyota is closing its Northern Kentucky plant,” Bevin said in a statement. “This is a huge blow to our economy and to Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth. Our hearts go out to the families and communities affected by this decision.”

Bevin is taking on Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell in the upcoming May primary.

The Tea Party-backed challenger held press conference Monday morning in an attempt to pivot the conversation back to economic issues after taking heat for attending an event in support of cockfighting

An undercover report by a local TV station showed that despite Bevin’s repeated claims that he didn’t agree with the blood sport, he told the crowd that criminalizing it was a “bad idea.”

McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore told WFPL that Bevin “has demonstrated a profound lack of respect for all of us in Kentucky,” by attacking the media and others over the cockfighting controversy.

“It says a lot about the character of a person when he’s caught intentionally deceiving Kentuckians and instead of admitting his mistakes, he attacks everyone else for the state of his candidacy,” she says.

Before the Toyota announcement, Bevin, a Louisville investor, slammed McConnell’s recent gaffe about jobs on Monday.

“Senator McConnell has never worked in the private sector, so he has no idea how to grow our economy and create jobs,” he said. “I’ve spent the last two decades working as an entrepreneur and small business owner, so I’ve seen first-hand what McConnell’s policies have done to hurt Kentucky businesses. So, I would like to know what Mitch McConnell thinks is his job?”