Bevin concedes after recanvass in Kentucky governor's race

Bevin said any changes to the vote tally would not change the result of the race.
Image: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announces his call to recanvass voting results in Frankfort on Nov. 6, 2019.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announces his call to recanvass voting results in Frankfort on Nov. 6, 2019.Timothy D. Easley / AP file

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By Jane C. Timm

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin conceded the governor’s race Thursday after a recanvass of last week’s gubernatorial election results.

"We're going to have a change in the governorship, based on the vote of the people," he said. "I'm not going to contest these numbers that have come in."

Bevin, a Republican, said there were some issues with the election night count — specifically the counting of absentee ballots — that would lead the final vote tally to "fluctuate somewhat" after the recanvass is done. But, he acknowledged, the results of the race would not change.

"Politics was never intended to be a career for anybody, nor should it be," he told reporters outside his office. "I truly want the best for Andy Beshear as he moves forward. I genuinely want him to be successful, I want the state to be successful."

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Bevin lost by more than 5,000 votes to Beshear, the state's Democratic attorney general. On election night, NBC News declared Beshear the apparent winner. After Bevin conceded, the NBC decision desk changed its call from apparent winner to winner.

Bevin said he hoped there would be "little disruption" in the transition between his and Beshear's administration.

"There's a lot of good people in government, and seeing that continuity continue I think would be wise," he said.

Recanvassing means checking results at the county level, verifying the accuracy of vote totals reported from voting machines and checking absentee ballots, to ensure that there were no errors in transmission from polling places to the secretary of state.

Bevin called for the recanvass last week, saying there were “irregularities” in the election.

“The reason we’re doing this — we want the people of Kentucky to have absolute confidence that their votes were counted as they should have been counted,” he said last week.

Beshear, for his part, has already begun preparing to take over as governor.

“It’s time to move forward with a smooth transition,” Beshear told reporters last week. “We’re confident in the outcome of the election.”

The Kentucky Constitution requires governors be sworn into office on the fifth Tuesday after an election; this year, that's Dec. 10.