Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Wednesday filed a formal request for a recanvass of the vote in his bid for re-election, a day after he appeared to come up roughly 5,150 votes short. NBC News declared his Democratic opponent, Andy Beshear, the state attorney general, the apparent winner of the race.
"The people of Kentucky deserve a fair and honest election," Bevin campaign manager Davis Paine said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "With reports of irregularities, we are exercising the right to ensure that every lawful vote was counted."
Bevin campaign officials have not provided any specifics on the "irregularities" they claim may have affected the election. Kentucky Republicans captured every other statewide race on the ballot Tuesday.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tweeted that her office had received Bevin's request and that the recount would be conducted on Thursday, Nov. 14.
A recanvass of the vote is a count by each county clerk to ensure that the vote totals they submitted to the State Board of Elections are accurate. Under Kentucky law, candidates can request a recount, but they have to pay for it.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
At a news conference earlier Wednesday, Beshear claimed victory, calling for unity and a “smooth transition" of power.
“Last night the election ended. It ended and it's time to move forward with a smooth transition,” Beshear said. “This isn’t about politics anymore. That ended last night. This is about being the best governor I can be for Kentucky.”
“I don’t know what information he’s working off of,” Beshear said when asked by reporters if he was concerned about Bevin’s claim of "irregularities." “We’re confident in the outcome of the election, but today is about moving forward. ... No one else is going to cast a vote, that ended last night.”
Beshear insisted that Bevin's refusal to concede would not affect his ability to govern. "We are moving on with our transition today,” he said.
He also noted that the next governor would need to be sworn in by early December, and expressed hope that Bevin would come around.
“I believe that Governor Bevin will help in that transition,” Beshear said. “I believe that he is going to do the right thing and make sure we are ready to go on Day One.”
Beshear said he had not spoken with Bevin.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Beshear led Bevin by roughly 5,150 votes.
Bevin, a deeply unpopular governor, campaigned with President Donald Trump leading up to the election. At a rally in Lexington on Monday night, Trump told attendees that a Bevin loss would be viewed as Trump's having suffered “the greatest defeat in the history of the world” and urged supporters not to “let that happen to me!"
But Beshear played down any national implications of his narrow win.
“I’m not worried about what national pundits or national Democrats are saying,” he said. “We are going to start bringing Kentucky together by changing the tone. No more us versus them," he added, promising that he would pick Republicans and independents to serve in his Cabinet.