NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Despite endorsing Matt Bevin, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee did not see the Kentucky governor claim a majority victory.
"I did support Bevin and it looks like he's not going to get there or as it looks so far. Other races looked a little different than his but I haven't spent a lot of time looking at it, but I did support him and looks like he might not make it," Lee told NewsChannel 5.
Judging by the results from all of the Kentucky precincts, Bevin lost to his Democratic opponent Andy Beshear by roughly 5,200 votes at Tuesday night's election. Beshear, the Kentucky attorney general, already claimed the win even though Bevin refused to concede.
When asked if Bevin should concede, Lee said, "I don't know the details of what count he's in, I don't know about that at all. I suppose he knows better than others."
Bevin has requested the Kentucky Secretary of State office to recanvass votes which will take place next Thursday. In a press conference on Wednesday, Bevin said he wants to know every tally is accurate and there is integrity citing past voter fraud incidents.
"We want this process to move forward expeditiously. We want something everybody can have confidence in," Bevin said. "What we know is that there really are a number of significant irregularities, the specifics of which we are in the process of getting affidavits and other information to help get us a better understanding of what did or did not happen."
There was an election recanvass when Bevin won the gubernatorial race in his first term but in reality, a recanvassing has never changed the result of a Kentucky election. Another option is to petition the courts to recount the votes or contest the election which can take weeks.
President Donald Trump appealed to voters at a campaign event the night before the election, but it proved it was not enough to sway the historically red state. Trump won the state by 30 points in the 2016 election.
Vanderbilt University Political Science Professor Thomas Schwartz said it is a sign that Kentuckians may be more independent-minded. His students who are from Kentucky knew it was going to be a close race, and Bevin's growing disapproval rating likely played a factor.
"Digging Bevin out of the hole that he had dug himself into over the last four years was beyond Donald Trump's capability. In a way it was a sign that he's mortal. Trump can't rescue even in the reddest of states and can't rescue a politician as disliked as much as Bevin was," Schwartz said.
Bevin had taken on the teachers union over pensions, argued about Medicaid expansion and made comments that backfired. When asked if the results may create a "dark cloud" over the 2020 election, Lee said he does not spend time thinking about national politics but more on Tennessee particularly this week amid budget meetings.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, Beshear said, "it's time to move forward with a smooth transition." Bevin said he has reached out to Beshear but has not heard back, and said it was wise for the governor-elect to already put together a transition team.