The governor conceded nine days later in a blow for the GOP and the president.
On Nov. 14, incumbent Kentucky governor Matt Bevin finally conceded the Kentucky governor’s race. This is a full nine days after his opponent Andy Beshear claimed victory on election night. Why the difference? Bevin was not willing to admit defeat after losing by 5,000 votes, which is kinda funny since he won the primary on his way to the governorship in 2015 by 83 votes.
Why the delay? Bevin wanted there to be a recanvass because of voting irregularities. This technique, which boils down to a different name for a recount, has never changed the election results, especially when it comes to 5,000 votes. The recanvass changed nothing, and he finally conceded, but let’s back up a bit.
Bevin’s delay of nine days was because he didn’t trust the system that got him elected in 2015. In an interview the day after the election, he stated that thousands of absentee ballots were illegally counted … without proof. His campaign never let any information about these allegations become public, and nothing was ever found in the recanvass.
So why even stubbornly avoid conceding even after the press (and the country) knew the outcome? Because he didn’t believe it himself. Think about it. Bevin is governor in Kentucky, a state that Trump won by 30 points. It had two blue counties. The national swing Democrat is fewer than 10 points in the 2018 elections, so that leaves Bevin winning by around 20 points. You can’t blame this loss on the state environment either; Republicans won every other state office and have a supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature. This is not an environment where a Republican incumbent would lose.
So he took a note out of Trump’s book and shouted election fraud in an attempt to stop the inevitable, which worked for a full nine days. Bevin had to know he was not going to win (unless he really is that deluded), so he was just buying time and praying. This is ridiculous. The outcome of the election was fair and valid, and just because he is the incumbent, he shouldn’t have the power to prevent the electoral process from going on as intended. Nine days is a long time to prevent the beginning of the transfer of power.
It’s an especially long period of time when the state legislature is telling you to just give it up, but since Bevin probably isn’t running for office again, it’s not like he really cares what other people think. Instead, he can waste people’s time when he lost by a not insignificant margin as he watches himself become a lame duck. Probably not how he thought he was going to spend his 2019, but then again, what do you expect from one of the most unpopular governors in the nation? Election day is a chance to let the people speak, and they definitely weren’t screaming Bevin’s name on Nov. 5.