Bevin campaign formally asks for a recanvass in Kentucky

The campaign for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin officially asked the commonwealth to recanvass the votes from Tuesday’s election, which will occur next week.

“With last night’s election too close to call and multiple reports of voting irregularities, Governor Matt Bevin’s campaign is formally requesting an official recanvass,” the campaign said in a statement.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tweeted on Wednesday that her office “received a recanvass request from @GovMattBevin. The recanvass will be conducted Thursday, Nov. 14th at 9:00 a.m.”

A gubernatorial candidate can request a recanvass of the vote, but not a full recount. A recanvass is a reprint of the receipts from voting machines that can then be checked. There is no threshold to request a recanvass.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear claimed victory Tuesday night in the race, but Bevin refused to concede and vowed to continue fighting. With 99% of precincts reporting, Beshear was leading by fewer than 5,000 votes.

Bevin aligned himself with President Donald Trump and has been a vocal opponent of the impeachment inquiry into the President. Bevin had the strong backing of the President, and Trump held a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, the night before the election.

“The people of Kentucky deserve a fair and honest election. With reports of irregularities, we are exercising the right to ensure that every lawful vote was counted,” said Davis Paine, Bevin’s campaign manager.

Bevin first told reporters Tuesday night that his campaign had seen irregularities in voting, but he has not presented any evidence to support those claims.

Eric Hyers, campaign manager for Beshear, said the recanvass would not change the result.

“Last night, the people of Kentucky elected Andy Beshear as their next governor,” Hyers said in a statement. “Today, Governor-Elect Beshear is already working on his transition so that he can best serve the people of Kentucky on day one. We hope that Matt Bevin honors the results of the recanvass, which will show he received fewer votes than Andy Beshear. As has been reported, a ‘recanvassing has never changed the result of a Kentucky election.’ “

Bevin struggled and ultimately faltered in several key suburbs that he — and Trump — had previously won easily.

Voter turnout was considerably higher in Kentucky on Tuesday than in past elections, signaling increased interest in politics during Trump’s administration and the possibility of historic turnout in 2020.

Voter turnout in Kentucky reached over 42%, according to unofficial figures from Grimes’ office, far outpacing the 30.7% who voted in 2015 — the last time Bevin was on the ballot — and the 31% that Grimes had predicted days before the election.

Bevin, elected governor in 2015, is a deeply unpopular figure in Kentucky. He has faced a backlash for seeking to undercut the state’s Medicaid expansion and for calling teachers “selfish” and accusing them of a “thug mentality” when they protested after he threatened to cut their pensions.

Kentucky Republicans rushed to distance themselves from Bevin on election night, claiming that his high disapproval ratings and general unpopularity put this tough night on him and him alone. They noted that other GOP candidates were winning.

CNN’s Dan Merica, Harry Enten, Jeff Zeleny, Kate Sullivan and Eric Bradner contributed to this report.