Election 2019 Kentucky Politics

More than a week after initial results showed him losing to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear by more than 5,000 votes, Gov. Matt Bevin has conceded the election.
Bevin’s concession means that Beshear will become the 64th governor of Kentucky on Dec. 10th, Inauguration Day.

Bevin made the announcement during a press conference in the state Capitol in Frankfort while a recanvass of the election was being conducted across the state.

“We’re going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people,” Bevin said. “And what I want is to see the absolute best for Kentucky.”

The final results of the recanvass were announced shortly after Bevin’s announcement. The process yielded a difference of only one vote — a previously uncounted write-in vote for Blackii Effing Whyte of Madison County.

After a bitterly fought election and years of legal battles, Bevin wished good luck to his opponent Beshear.

“I truly wish the attorney general well as the next governor of this state as he assumes these responsibilities, I truly do,” Bevin said. “I love the fact that we’re blessed to live in a country where things do transition in ways that much of the world wishes they had. There’s not going to be people fighting in the streets.”

Bevin said he would not officially contest the results of the election — a process that would have required the Republican-controlled legislature to determine the outcome of the race.

“I’m not going to contest these numbers that have come in. It isn’t fair to throw that on our legislature to try to find something that there just isn’t,” Bevin said.

Bevin had made unsubstantiated claims that there were “irregularities” in the election, but never provided any evidence to back them up.

But during the announcement, Bevin did make additional claims that ballots were improperly counted and that there are not enough “checks and balances” in the election system.

“We’ve got to be able to have integrity. And I would encourage to ensure that the rolls are accurate, that the ways in which we tabulate votes are accurate, that there is recourse to be able to determine what was or not cast,” Bevin said.

Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Mac Brown released a statement after Bevin’s concession, thanking him for his time in office.

“Kentuckians can be proud of all Gov. Matt Bevin accomplished for our state in bringing jobs and opportunity to Kentucky in record-breaking fashion. Thanks to Gov. Matt Bevin’s leadership, Kentucky’s future is brighter than ever before,” Brown said

Bevin was the only Republican on Kentucky’s statewide ballot to lose on Election Day. Republicans swept the downballot, with Daniel Cameron winning the attorney general’s office for the party for the first time since 1948.

Beshear will inherit a legislature that has Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate.

Kentucky will have divided government for the first time since 2017, when Republicans had control of the legislature and governorship at the same time for the first time in state history.

This post has been updated.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.