Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin conceded defeat on Thursday to Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear.
“We’re going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people,” Bevin said at a news conference on Thursday.
The concession comes after Bevin requested all 120 counties in the state recheck the results from last week’s gubernatorial election. That recanvass showed Beshear still leading over Bevin.
“I’m not going to contest these numbers that have come in,” Bevin said Thursday.
A Democratic victory in Kentucky, a state Trump carried by 30 percentage points in the 2016 election, could be seen as an ominous sign for the President heading into his 2020 reelection bid. The result shows that Trump wasn’t able to carry his preferred candidate over the finish line.
Bevin requested a recanvass after the results from last week’s election showed Bevin trailing Beshear by more than 5,000 votes.
The recanvass began on Thursday morning. Unlike a standard recount of votes, a recanvass is a reprint of the receipts from voting machines to check for reporting or clerical errors. After ballots are scanned, the machine tabulates those votes and prints out a receipt with the total.
During the recanvass, those receipts were reprinted and checked again to make sure they were reported properly. It’s not uncommon for some clerical errors to occur during the initial vote tabulation.
Kentucky law does not allow for a recount in a gubernatorial general election, but a campaign may request a recanvass of the votes with the secretary of state. There is no threshold or margin requirement for a recanvass.
Bevin previously told CNN affiliate WKYT: “It’s not likely to change a lot numerically, but you have to go through this as a first step … to make sure the numbers that were written down and communicated are accurate.” He said his office is also preparing for Beshear to assume the governorship.
“There are very good odds, he could be the next governor — no question about it,” Bevin told WKYT. “Right now, he is numerically ahead and would seemingly be the next governor, and if that is corroborated and held up through this process, I’ll be his number one cheerleader.”
Representatives from both political parties and the media were allowed to be present for the recanvass.