Nervous Kentucky Republicans, cognizant of being put in the national spotlight (and not being as evil as NC Republicans apparently) are putting the onus on Matt Bevin to either prove those election irregularities he keeps complaining about or to concede the election to Andy Beshear.
A growing number of Republican lawmakers are urging Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a fellow Republican, to either provide evidence of the voting “irregularities” he has alleged or concede Tuesday’s election to Gov.-elect Andy Beshear, who defeated him by 5,189 votes.
“The best thing to do, the right thing to do, is for Governor Bevin to concede the election today so we can move on,” said Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, first raised the possibility of the tight election being decided by the Republican-led legislature Tuesday night when he explained the process that would occur if Bevin decided to challenge the results of the race. Bevin bolstered that speculation Wednesday by claiming that thousands of absentee ballots were counted illegally without presenting any proof to back up his claim.
Republicans in the legislature aren’t buying it.
Nemes said he has not seen much support for an election challenge among his Republican colleagues in the House, largely because the governor has not backed up his claims. None of the lawmakers the Herald-Leader spoke to Thursday said they had seen evidence to support Bevin’s claims.
Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, is a former state police officer who said he has heard rumors of election problems but no hard evidence.
“The last thing anyone wants to do is overturn a constitutional election,” Blanton said. “We want the will of the people to be done.”
House Republicans have had a rocky relationship with Bevin since they gained control of the chamber in 2016. Often, it was the GOP-led House that blocked Bevin’s policy priorities, such as a funding mechanism for charter schools and more aggressive reforms to the pension system.
It's really something that Matt Bevin has managed to piss enough enough Republicans in the KY General Assembly that they're flat out not backing his play in the House.
Even my own state House member, Republican Adam Koenig, told Bevin to suck it.
“There’s nothing wrong with checking the math,” said state Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger. “Unless there is a mountain of clear, unambiguous evidence, then he should let it go.”
State Senate leader Rob Stivers is now crawling back from the limb he went out on Tuesday night.
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers believes Gov. Matt Bevin should concede his loss to Democrat Andy Beshear if next week's recanvass doesn't significantly change the vote totals.
“It’s time to call it quits and go home, say he had a good four years and congratulate Gov.-elect Beshear,” Stivers said in a brief Friday interview at the Capitol.
Maybe the loads of bad press have something to do with it. Also, and I can't stress this enough, Matt Bevin is an asshole.
But Bevin isn't giving up. Robocalls seeking evidence of "voting irregularities" to be reported are going out now, funded by Bevin supporters who want this fight to go until Beshear's victory is overturned.
Conservative political activist Frank Simon, a longtime supporter of Gov. Matt Bevin, is sending robocalls asking Kentuckians to report suspicious activity or voter fraud to the State Board of Elections before Nov. 14 — the day of Bevin's requested recanvass.
Bevin finished 5,189 votes behind Democrat Andy Beshear in Tuesday's gubernatorial election but has refused to concede the race, requesting a recanvass of the vote, which is essentially a review of the vote totals in each county.
The governor has also made allegations of widespread voting irregularities and fraud on Election Day, but he hasn't provided any evidence to back up those claims.
According to a voicemail of the robocall sent to a Republican in Western Kentucky, Simon says, "If you or anyone you know has information regarding suspicious activity at polling locations, please report suspected voter fraud to the state department of elections by calling 502-573-7100."
He also asked that those calls to the State Board of Elections phone number take place by Nov. 13 — the day before each county board of elections conducts the recanvass.
There is no disclaimer on the call indicating who paid for it, nor is it explained that the call is not coming from the State Board of Elections.
Simon, of Louisville, did not return voicemails and an email asking who paid for the robocall and how many people it went to, or if any other group requested that he make the calls.
The president of the American Family Association of Kentucky, Simon has been known for decades as a socially conservative political activist, most notably for his opposition to Louisville's 1999 ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Battle for Bevinstan is just starting.