Beshear, the state attorney general and son of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, will be sworn in on Dec. 10. Immediately following Bevin’s remarks, Beshear’s campaign scheduled a press conference for later Thursday.
Last week’s nationally watched vote was an embarrassing result for Republicans and President Donald Trump, who traveled to Kentucky to campaign for Bevin the night before the election.
But Beshear will take office after a campaign that focused on state and local issues: increasing investments in public education, expanded access to health care and protecting state pensions. Beshear also focused on Bevin’s at-times abrasive personality, which contributed to his low poll numbers, even in a state Trump carried by 30 points.
“People are ready for a governor that listens more than he talks,” Beshear told reporters in Kentucky over the final weekend of the campaign. “One that solves more problems than he creates. And one that would never engage in the type of bullying and name-calling we see from Matt Bevin.”
Beshear led Bevin in the vote count after election night by a little more than 5,000 votes — a margin that stayed relatively constant as all the ballots were tabulated and the numbers were double-checked in Thursday’s recanvass.
But Bevin refused to concede until Thursday, citing the closeness of the margin and what he called “ irregularities” in the election.
As late as Wednesday, Bevin was promoting an outside group that was casting doubt on the election, though the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote the group “did not appear to provide any solid evidence” of voter fraud, as it alleged.
On Thursday, Bevin said he was still concerned about the election but said he didn’t think any improprieties or irregularities cost him his job.
“We know of some things — but not enough to cause us to think there’s going to be meaningful change” in the outcome, he said.
Bevin said Thursday he “expects to have a smooth transition” and suggested he wouldn’t be a vocal critic of Beshear’s administration from the sidelines.
“One thing you will not see: I’m not going to be publicly undermining or second-guessing anything that is done,” said Bevin. “I am sure there will be things I’m excited by and have complete agreement with. And there will be things that I will probably be on the other side of the equation with. And this is the way things are.”