Issue: Following a close election, Gov. Matt Bevin has requested a recanvass, delaying the results of the election.
Our stance: Bevin’s claims are yet another example of him not understanding what Kentuckians want — in this case, a new governor — and an attempt to undermine the results of a legitimate election.
Kentuckians finally got the chance to remove Bevin from office last week after being unhappy with his leadership for the majority of his term. Bullying teachers and other public officials (including his own lieutenant governor), attempting to take health care away from thousands of Kentuckians and cutting hundreds of thousands of dollars from higher education funding are just some of the ways he turned people against him who had previously voted him into office.
After losing to Governor-elect Andy Beshear by about 5,000 votes on Nov. 5, Bevin alleged “irregularities” had occurred at the polls during Election Day and requested a recanvass — in which all precincts check their vote totals and resubmit the correct amount. However, he provided no specific evidence, instead suggesting some precincts may have stayed open past the deadline and some absentee ballots were counted incorrectly.
“They are very well corroborated, and that’s all right,” Bevin said. “What they are exactly, how many, which ones and what effect they have will be determined according to law that’s well established.”
It would not be surprising for Bevin to still refuse concession, even if the recanvass shows he lost the election. A respectable governor would help with the governor-elect’s transition into office, but Bevin has never shown himself to be respectable.
He has shown that once again with his attempt to question the results of this election. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes accepted Bevin’s request for a recanvass, but a recanvass has not changed the outcome of any election in Grimes’ time in office. She is yet another person who Bevin has set his sights on recently, as he made ugly comments toward her for being on TV and calling the race on Election Day when he explained his decision to request a recanvass.
“The fact that our secretary of state was on a national TV show — which I hesitate to suggest to anybody that anyone is partisan in the world of media — that said, it was an interesting choice of places for her to go while the roll was being tallied, the votes were being tallied,” Bevin said.
“For her to try to jump the gun on this and interject herself on this, well that is something that’s being looked into,” he added.
Bevin has caused some of his followers to rally to his cause, with even one far-right supporter orchestrating mass robocalls to go out to the public asking voters to report any irregularities they saw at the polls. This is a far reach and a borderline attempt to make something out of nothing.
Beshear has not taken the bait to play Bevin’s game. Instead, he is moving forward and planning to lead Kentucky in the right direction despite Bevin’s efforts to make the situation as messy as possible.
Kentucky Republicans who have been distancing themselves from Bevin understand his time in office did not yield enough benefits to make it worth a fight to keep him there after his loss.
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican, recently said if the recanvass doesn’t prove different than the original election results then Bevin should concede, according to The Louisville Courier Journal. This stance is the bare minimum any respectable Republican should be taking right now.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has stayed surprisingly quiet about the entire situation. At the most, Republicans should overwhelmingly be shutting down Bevin’s attempts to question or contest the election results, which is being viewed by many as a blatant attempt to interfere with democracy.
Bevin did not lose because of superficial irregularities; he lost because he did more bad than good for the commonwealth. He has consistently placed himself above his constituents and their needs.
If Bevin doesn’t have proof then he needs to be quiet. But he won’t be. Bevin gets the recanvass he requested because of the law, and he will be embarrassed when the results are confirmed.
Bevin has acted like a child while in office, so it is fitting he exits the office acting like one too.