After calling for last week’s election results to be reviewed, Kentucky Republican Governor Matt Bevin conceded to his Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Andy Beshear.
“We’re going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people,” Bevin said in a press conference on Thursday. “What I want is to see the absolute best for Kentucky.”
He had called for a recanvassing, which is different from a recount in that it requires counties to reprint and verify voting machine tallies and absentee ballots, rather than reviewing each ballot cast. The recanvassing took place on Thursday. However, before it was complete, Bevin conceded.
“In certain instances, absentee ballots were not counted, whereas now they are being included. So, the actual number is gonna fluctuate somewhat — but not so significantly that it’s gonna change the outcome of this election,” he said.
Kentucky isn’t the only place where power shifted last week. Virginia Democrats flipped both chambers of the state’s legislature, turning it into a one-party state, since Governor Ralph Northam is also a Democrat.
Even in a deeply conservative state, Bevin had the lowest approval ratings of any governor. But he had the backing of President Trump, who won the state in 2016 and traveled to the state to campaign for him. Bevin, like Mr. Trump, had not held elected office prior to his election and used to be a businessman.
At a rally in Kentucky earlier this month, Mr. Trump said that if Bevin lost, “they’re going to say, ‘Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.’”
Bevin expressed well-wishes for Beshear — with whom he spent much of his tenure feuding and suing — and said his administration has already begun working on the transition.
He touted what he viewed as his accomplishments: the state’s low unemployment rate, streamlined regulations, infrastructure investments and pension reform, which were among his most controversial decisions as governor.
Kentucky’s pensions are among the worst-funded in the nation. His proposal last year to cut public employees’ pension benefits incited teacher strikes across the state.
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