Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin will be the Republican nominee for governor of Kentucky. His primary opponent, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, conceded late Thursday after a recanvass of last week’s primary election confirmed Bevin maintained an 83 vote lead.
In a surprising move, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who defeated Bevin a year ago in a bitter Republican primary for the United States Senate, quickly endorsed his former opponent.
“I congratulate Matt Bevin on his victory and endorse him for governor,” McConnell said in a statement released Friday morning.
Comer could have called for a recount, but chose not to.
According to the Associated Press, “In a morning news release, Comer said he called Bevin and conceded minutes after a Thursday review of the May 19 primary results showed Bevin maintained his 83-vote lead in one of the closest elections in state history. Comer delayed conceding publicly until the morning to give him time to contact some of his most important supporters.”
Comer was gracious in his concession statement.
“Throughout the entire primary campaign, I grew to appreciate Matt Bevin’s knowledge of the issues, his work ethic, and his morals. Matt ran a clean campaign which focused on the issues important to Kentuckians,” he said.
All eyes now turn to the general election, where Bevin will face Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, in November.
As the Associated Press reported, “Bevin now sets his sights on Democratic nominee Jack Conway, a two-time statewide election winner as Kentucky’s attorney general who stockpiled more than $1 million in campaign donations during a primary with minimal opposition. Bevin has mostly self-financed his race with money earned from his career as an investment banker.”
Bevin moved quickly to consolidate his support among Republicans in Kentucky, holding a joint press conference Friday morning with the party’s candidates for other statewide offices.
The most recent poll shows Conway holds a 42 percent to 36 percent lead over Bevin.