Republicans Urge Bevin to Provide Proof of Election Fraud or Concede

November 8, 2019by Daniel Desrochers
Gov.-elect Andy Beshear celebrates with supporters after voting results showed the Democrat holding a slim lead over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin at C2 Event Venue on November 5, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (John Sommers II/Getty Images/TNS)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — 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 GOP Rep. Jason Nemes. Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican, 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.

GOP Rep. John Blanton 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.

In a statement, House Speaker David Osborne, a Republican, said the House will play no role in the election unless Bevin files a complaint. So far, Bevin has only asked for a recanvass, which requires county officials to check the results from every voting machine and recount absentee ballots.

“If he chooses to file a formal election contest, the House Majority Caucus will handle the matter in a legal, ethical, and appropriate manner that fulfills the requirements set forth by the Kentucky Constitution, statute and rules of the House,” Osborne said.

Late Thursday, Stivers attempted to clarify his comments on election night, saying he was just talking about the process that would take place if Bevin were to contest the election.

“It is the governor’s prerogative to request recanvassing or file an application to contest the election, both of which will have a very high bar to succeed,” Stivers said. “If such a situation arises when the Senate’s involvement is required as prescribed by the Kentucky Constitution, our chamber will fulfill its requirements with the upmost objectivity and impartiality.”

Should Bevin contest the election, the legislature would form a randomly selected committee of eight representatives and three senators. The committee would look at any evidence of irregularities and make a report, which would be presented to a joint session of the legislature for a vote.

Although Republican lawmakers were skeptical of an election contest, many said they were fine with Bevin’s decision to request a recanvass.

“There’s nothing wrong with checking the math,” said GOP Rep. Adam Koenig. “Unless there is a mountain of clear, unambiguous evidence, then he should let it go.”

It is common for candidates to request a recanvass in close races — the governor’s election was decided by 0.36 percentage points — but they rarely result in major changes.

“I’ve never seen a recanvass move more than 100 votes, so it’s really doubtful that it will move,” said GOP Rep. Jerry Miller.

The loser in a governor’s race cannot request a recount — state law provides a process for recounts in all elections except those for governor, lieutenant governor and the General Assembly. That means the only way a recount could happen is if Bevin files an election contest and the legislature orders a recount as part of the resulting investigation.

To file an election contest, Bevin would need proof of fraud. So far, he has provided none.

“The proof isn’t that people were turned away, the proof is that you have to show fraud or irregularities,” Nemes said. “You can’t just go on a fishing expedition at this point, there hasn’t even been evidence of specific fraud.”

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, a Republican, said it was “premature” for people to be talking about a potential contesting of the election. He is “keeping his powder dry.”

“I believe members of the General Assembly should refrain from commenting because if there is one, we would be jurors,” Thayer said.

———

©2019 Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)

Visit the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.) at www.kentucky.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Health

Voting

State News

Plan Afoot to Extend PPP Deadline to May 31
In The News
Plan Afoot to Extend PPP Deadline to May 31

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More

Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced
District of Columbia
Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced
March 2, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5.  That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More

Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing
In The States
Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, can trace the arc of the state's Republican Party clearly."This was the state where to be Republican was defined by Gerald Ford and George... Read More

What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records
In The States
What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. fought for a year and a half to get access to former President Donald Trump's tax records.Now, thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he will soon have them. But what will that mean for... Read More

Indian Country Gripped by Haaland Hearing for Top US Post
Indian Country Gripped by Haaland Hearing for Top US Post

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — For Native Americans, Deb Haaland is more than an elected official on track to become the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior Department. She is a sister, an auntie and a fierce pueblo woman whose political stances have been molded by her... Read More

Northam to Sign Death Penalty Repeal Bill
In The States
Northam to Sign Death Penalty Repeal Bill
February 22, 2021
by TWN Staff

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a bill that will end capital punishment in the Commonwealth. The legislation now heads to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he will sign it into law, making Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions.... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top