Bevin Only Statewide Kentucky GOP Candidate to Finish Below 50%, Requests Vote Recanvass

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 05: Mark Smith, a supporter of Gov. Matt Bevin, waits for the election results at the governor's election-night watch party at the Galt House Hotel November 5, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. Bevin, a strong ally of President Donald Trump, faces a tough reelection bid against Democrat …
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Republicans swept to victory in five of the six statewide offices on the ballot in Kentucky on Tuesday, winning races for Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture.

The GOP candidates in the other five statewide races finished with vote totals ranging from 52 percent and 61 percent.

It was a different story in the gubernatorial contest, where incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin finished with 48.8 percent of the vote, 5,100 votes behind Democrat candidate Attorney General Andy Beshear, who had 49.2 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Gov. Bevin has yet to concede the race, more than 18 hours after NBC called it for Beshear at 9:20 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

Late Wednesday, Bevin formally requested a recount, also called vote recanvass, which he can do under Kentucky law, so long as he agrees to pay for it.

Fox News reported:

Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin is requesting a recanvass in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race after initial results from Tuesday night showed he trailed by about 5,000 votes.

“The people of Kentucky deserve a fair and honest election. With reports of irregularities, we are exercising the right to ensure that every lawful vote was counted,” Bevin’s campaign said in a statement on Wednesday, ahead of a planned news conference.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes later announced the recanvass will be conducted on Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.

A recanvassing requires the county election boards to recheck each machine and report the figures back to the county clerk. Members of both parties are allowed to be present during the recanvassing process.

A number of post-election analyses have attempted to explain why the incumbent governor performed so far behind every other Republican on the statewide ballot on Tuesday.

Brandon Finnigan, Decision Desk HQ’s Director of Elections, noted in an emailed statement of post-election analysis:

There is a simple explanation for why every other Republican statewide office candidate won: Bevin was incredibly unpopular and running in a deep red state kept him competitive but not enough to win re-election.

“Bevin underperformed all of them in virtually every county in the state, from dark Democratic blue to bright Republican red,” Decision Desk HQ continued, noting that “Bevin under-performed his ticket by at least 1,000 votes” in 2o counties, including Fayette County (Lexington) and Jefferson County (Louisville):

Yes, Bevin did poorly in the Cincinnati suburbs. But the other six Republicans on the ballot earned an average of 9,000 more votes there- enough for Bevin to have won re-election.

They earned an average of 9,842 votes more in Lexington (Fayette County), more than enough for Bevin to have won. They earned an average of 15,330 more votes in Louisville (Jefferson)- enough to cover Bevin’s deficit with another 10k to spare.

Any analysis of the state needs to consider the five Republicans who won on the same statewide ballot. Republicans as a group did not severely underperform in the state’s major urban, suburban and exurban areas. They held their own. Governor Bevin was an unpopular elected official who almost rode his state’s considerable Republican lean to a second term. There really isn’t much more to it.

Josiah Clemons, who reported on the Kentucky gubernatorial election for Decision Desk HQ from Kenton County on election night, noted that local election officials told him they “had never seen so much ticket-splitting.”

The Associated Press has not yet called the race. The election will not be certified until the recount is completed.


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