Kentucky Governor Race Too Close to Call, GOP Wins Mississippi

November 6, 2019 Updated: November 6, 2019

Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) has declared a victory late Tuesday in the race for governor in Kentucky against incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin. Meanwhile, in Mississippi where another off-year governor’s race took place, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defeated Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and two other candidates.

In Kentucky, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Beshear took a lead of 4,658 votes out of more than 1.4 million counted—a margin of 0.3 percentage points.

At a rally on Tuesday night, Beshear declared victory over Bevin at 49.2 percent to 48.9 percent, but Bevin refused to concede. Bevin told his supporters Tuesday night that the process needs to be followed in such a close race—an apparent reference to the process of checking to ensure ballots were reported and added correctly.

ELECTION 2019 KENTUCKY GOVERNOR
Kentucky Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear speaks with Maddie Jones, of West Louisville, during a campaign stop at Southern Hospitality, in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

There is no mandatory recount law in Kentucky. Bevin may request counties to recanvass their results, which is not a recount, but rather a check of the vote count to ensure the results were added correctly. Bevin would need to seek and win a court’s approval for a recount, the process for which would be dictated by the court.

Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said in a statement that the president “just about dragged Gov. Matt Bevin across the finish line” while helping Republicans win several other statewide races.

His full statement reads: “President Trump’s rally helped five of six Kentucky Republicans win clear statewide victories, including Attorney General-elect Daniel Cameron, who will be the first black A.G. in Kentucky history and the first Republican to hold the office since 1948. The President just about dragged Gov. Matt Bevin across the finish line, helping him run stronger than expected in what turned into a very close race at the end. A final outcome remains to be seen.”

Beshear wrote on Twitter late Tuesday, “Thank you Kentucky!”

Earlier, on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, Bevin noted that Kentucky has more registered Democrats and Republicans and noted that he is only the fourth Republican governor elected in the state since the 1920s.

Meanwhile, Daniel Cameron (R) will succeed to become attorney general, after having defeated Gregory Stumbo (D), taking about 60 percent of the vote. He is set to become Kentucky’s first Black and first Republican since 1948 in the role.

The results come as election polls also closed in another three states: another off-year governor’s race in Mississippi, and state legislative elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

Republicans Win Mississippi Governorship

In Mississippi’s race for governor, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defeated Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and two other candidates.

As of 10:50 p.m., Reeves had received 52.8 percent of the vote, compared to Hood who received 45.9 percent, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

“I want to be the governor for all Mississippians and I’m going to work hard every day to do that,” Reeves told The Associated Press after his victory.

Tate Reeves, Elee Reeves
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, left, speaks with reporters while his wife Elee Reeves, laughs at his response outside their Flowood, Miss., voting precinct, on Nov. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Trump had appeared in Mississippi on Friday to campaign for Reeves.

The current governor, Phil Bryant (R), was not able to seek re-election because of term limits.

Reeves had defeated former state Supreme Court Chief Justice William Waller (R) in a runoff election on Aug. 27 after no candidate won a majority of the vote in the Republican primary. Hood had won the Democratic primary nomination over seven other candidates.

Democrats Gain Control of State Government in Virginia

Democrats in Virginia have flipped control of the state Senate and state House and gained outright control of the state government for the first time in 26 years.

Virginia Election
Democratic supporters cheer at a Democratic victory party in Richmond, Va., Nov. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The state’s legislative election drew heavy attention and funding from both parties. Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential front-runner, visited Virginia over the weekend to campaign with several statehouse candidates, while Republican Vice President Mike Pence held a rally on Saturday.

Other Democratic presidential contenders, including U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker, had also campaigned with local candidates.

The legislative wins likely mean that Democrats can pass a raft of bills that Republicans had resisted, including new gun limits. Democrats will also control the redistricting process in 2021 when lawmakers draw new voting lines for state and congressional elections after next year’s U.S. Census.

Democrats Hold New Jersey

In New Jersey, Democrats were expected to maintain their stranglehold on the state’s general assembly, the legislature’s lower chamber.

The 2019 election season continues, with an upcoming election coming to Louisiana on Nov. 16 where Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is being challenged by Eddie Rispone (R). Trump is expected to visit Louisiana in support of Rispone ahead of the election.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy
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