Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is the apparent winner of the state's gubernatorial election Tuesday night, pulling off an upset over Republican incumbent Matt Bevin, in a close race that is not over yet and could be headed for a recount.
"This is a close, close race," Bevin told reporters. "We are not conceding this race by any stretch."
With 99% of precincts reporting, Beshear was leading the vote totals with 49.4% (706,865 votes) to Bevin's 48.7% (696,918).
In a speech to supporters, Bevin refused to concede the race, referring to unspecified "irregularities."
"We want a process to be followed and there is a process. We know for a fact there have been more than a few irregularities, they are very well-corroborated and that's all right. What they are exactly, how many, which ones, and what effect, if any, they have, will be determined according to law that's well-established," Bevin told supporters.
For his part however, Beshear declared victory in a speech to supporters at C2 Event Venue in Louisville.
“I haven’t had an opportunity to speak to Gov. Bevin yet but my expectation is he will honor, he will honor the election that was held tonight, that he will help us make this transition," Beshear said. "And I tell you what, we will be ready for that first day in office and I look forward to it."
Kentucky allows candidates to request recounts, however, they are financially responsible for conducting it.
Turnout in the off-year election appeared to be higher than expected, with an estimated 1.4 million people participating, according to an NBC News analysis.
Republicans faired better in other statewide elections, as five of the six other Republicans candidates running in the state won their respective races, including Michael G. Adams, who was elected Kentucky's secretary of state.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump appeared to take credit for a surge in the polls for Bevin, writing on Twitter: "Won 5 out of 6 elections in Kentucky, including 5 great candidates that I spoke for and introduced last night. @MattBevin picked up at least 15 points in last days, but perhaps not enough (Fake News will blame Trump!). Winning in Mississippi Governor race!"
Trump appeared at a rally on Monday in Kentucky, telling voters that they had to get out and vote for Bevin.
"You've got to vote," Trump said. "If you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. You can't let that happen to me!"
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