Though Gov. Matt Bevin has refused to concede the gubernatorial general election to Democratic challenger Andy Beshear and has requested a recanvass, fellow Republicans U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have faced the reality that the unpopular governor’s stint has most likely come to an end after one term.
“Barring some drastic reversal on the recanvass, we’ll have a different governor in three weeks,” McConnell told reporters Monday, comparing the race and the slim margin of victory to his first election. “We had a recanvass, added them up, it didn’t change and we all moved on.”
Bevin, who trailed Beshear by roughly 5,000 votes out of the 1.4 million cast in last week’s election, said there were voting irregularities in the race but did not specify what they were. He will get his recanvass Thursday.
To those who point to Bevin’s apparent loss as proof that Republicans are losing their grip in Kentucky, we say not so fast. Like Paul, we think Bevin’s defeat was more about him as a person than the party he represents.
We aren’t the only ones. In a recent State Journal online opinion poll an overwhelming majority, 75.6%, or 621 of the 821 respondents, said the governor’s personality caused his failed reelection bid. A little more than 16% (134 voters) thought his efforts to reform public pensions were his downfall, while 6.5% (53 respondents) blamed his position on social issues. Only 1.6% (13 folks) said Bevin was a good governor who simply lost to a better candidate.
We realize that Franklin County is a Democratic stronghold and that some candidates — such as Greg Stumbo, who ran for attorney general, and Heather French Henry, who was in the secretary of state race — won here but lost statewide. Yet, the fact of the matter is that Republicans won all the down-ticket races in the state.
The recanvass isn’t likely to change the outcome of the governor’s race, but Democrats still have much work to do if they want to flip Kentucky to a blue state.