Kentucky Politics

During a series of interviews on talk radio shows Wednesday morning, outgoing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said that he lost his race for reelection because the Democratic Party “harvested votes in urban communities.”

Bevin lost to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear last month by a little more than 5,000 votes.

During an interview on 55KRC in Cincinnati, Bevin said that the election was a “surprise” that defies logic.

“The left, those who think of a different ideological bent, they are getting so good at harvesting votes in the urban communities,” Bevin said.

“They were able to go into urban communities where people are densely populated on college campuses and public housing projects.”

Bevin has repeatedly questioned the outcome of the election, suggesting — without evidence — that voter fraud took place.

Beshear did well in Kentucky’s urban and suburban areas like Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Richmond and northern Kentucky, as well as some historic Democratic strongholds in eastern Kentucky.

Vote harvesting refers to collecting absentee or mail-in ballots in order to sway an election. The practice is illegal in some states, but Kentucky is one of 27 states that allows absentee ballots to be returned by a designated agents.

Vote harvesting took place in the 2018 race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district, which Bevin referenced in the aftermath of his failed reelection attempt. Vote harvesting is illegal in North Carolina and a new election was ordered in the race.

During the interview on 55KRC, Bevin said that he was encouraged by his supporters on Election Day, but that Democrats brought “more less-informed people” to the polls.

“Conservatives are going to have to find some counterpoint,” Bevin said. “The harvesting of votes in urban cores in particular that is done by the left overwhelmed even that. And that’s the difference, that’s the tipping point.”

In the wake of Election Day, Bevin alleged — again without evidence — that thousands of absentee ballots were improperly counted and that eligible voters were turned away from polls.

Bevin challenged the results, but conceded the election after a recanvass of the vote total produced a change of only one vote.

He also said that he thought there were irregularities with the election during his concession speech, saying that “there is not any real sense of transparency for how the voting process works.”

Beshear will be sworn in as Kentucky’s 63rd governor on December 10th.

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