Matt Bevin addresses supporters after finishing with 83-vote lead in GOP primary
Matt Bevin addresses supporters after finishing with 83-vote lead in GOP primary

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced this afternoon that today’s recanvass of the votes from last Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary did not show any change in the vote totals for Matt Bevin and James Comer, meaning Bevin is now one step closer to his party’s nomination.

Comer requested the recanvass following the election, in which Bevin hung on to a razor-thin 83-vote victory.

While Comer said on election night that he would not request a recount (a much more thorough dive through the vote totals) if the recanvass did not show a significant change in Bevin’s margin of victory, his campaign released a statement after Grimes’ announcement that raised some eyebrows.

“Commissioner Comer is currently in Florida spending time with his family,” read the statement. “He will issue a statement tomorrow afternoon about the next steps he will take in this race.”

A concession would probably entail just one step — an official concession that Bevin has won the race — but the use of the plural “steps” raises the question of whether he will change his mind and file in court for an official recount.

In his criticism of several statements that Bevin made after his election night victory, former Jefferson County Republican Party chairman Bill Stone told Insider Louisville last week that Comer should file for a recount even if the recanvass showed no significant change, as the margin was so close that a recount has a legitimate chance of giving Comer the victory. He also emphasized that he thought Comer would have a much better chance of defeating Democratic nominee Jack Conway this fall than Bevin — a claim many other Republican insiders have made.

If Comer does file for a recount, his campaign will have to pay for it, and he’ll have to do so soon, as the deadline is Friday. If he does, the difficult process of unifying the fractured Republican Party will face another delay and even more complications.

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]


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