It’s been a week since the election, and everyone knows Kentucky has a new governor.
Everyone, that is, except the old governor.
It was a hard-fought election and a razor thin margin, but in the end, the official returns show Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear is now Governor-elect Andy Beshear. The Secretary of State, while not yet certifying the election, has recognized Beshear as governor-elect, and he is set to take office on December 10.
But Republican Gov. Matt Bevin isn’t ready to give up. Out of about 1.44 million votes cast, Beshear finished with 5,189 more votes than Bevin, a difference of about 0.35 percent of the total vote, and Bevin has asked for a recanvass.
At that margin, a request for a recanvass is not surprising. However, it should be noted that four years ago Bevin won the Republican primary by a margin of just 83 votes, or 0.04 percent of the vote.
While calling for a recanvass may be understandable, Bevin is going further, claiming there were “significant” voting irregularities, and that he knew of “thousands of absentee ballots that were illegally counted,” even though he has not offered any proof of his claims. A supporter has been making robo-calls since the election asking people to report voter fraud.
Last week, Senate President Robert Stivers even suggested that the Republican-controlled General Assembly might decide who the next governor will be, a stance he quickly backed away from after fellow Republicans in both the House and Senate expressed their reluctance to overturn an election, and called on Bevin to concede. Stivers has also said now that Bevin should concede, but said it is “up to him.”
Bevin was still at it over the weekend, telling an audience at the right-wing Young America’s Foundation that, “I’ll be darned if I want to lose a dirty election.”
Bevin’s recanvass is scheduled for tomorrow, Nov. 14, and election officials say a recanvass has never in Kentucky history changed the winner of an election.
By the end of the day tomorrow, Bevin should concede to Beshear. This is his last opportunity to unite Kentucky, after dividing it for the past four years.
Our state has too many pressing needs and problems to be ripped apart by a useless and ill-conceived attempt to reverse the results of an election by recklessly claiming fraud where none exists. As the Bible and Abraham Lincoln both said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
And speaking of uniting Kentucky, we would be remiss if we did not note that some Republican legislators have invited Beshear to attend an annual GOP retreat at Lake Barkley in December, assuming his election is certified. House Leader Bam Carney, Republican of Campbellsville, said he wants the relationship with Beshear to get off on the right foot, and will work with Beshear, if the governor-elect will “meet us in the middle.” While it remains to be seen what Carney means by “the middle,” it is encouraging that Republicans are offering some civility in the today’s hyperpartisan atmosphere.
We encourage Governor-elect Beshear to take them up on the offer, and attend the retreat. It’s time for Kentucky and the nation to heed our Commonwealth’s motto. “United we stand, divided we fall.”