Election 2019
November 6, 2019

Democrat Andy Beshear declared victory in Kentucky's gubernatorial race Tuesday night, and he did get more votes than incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R) — 5,189 more votes, according to the uncertified final tally, or a margin of about 0.4 percentage points.

But this doesn't appear to be the end of the process. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said her office considers Beshear the victor and doesn't believe Bevin can make up the gap. Yet Bevin refused to concede, citing unspecified "irregularities," and The Associated Press hasn't called the race.

Kentucky doesn't have an automatic recount provision, though candidates can petition — and bankroll — a statewide recount, Joe Sonka explains at the Louisville Courier Journal. First, losing candidates typically request a recanvas of the vote in each county. The recount is the next stage, and it involves a judge counting ballots and determining the winner, subject to appeal up to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers suggested a dicier option Tuesday night: Let the GOP state legislature decide the winner. Section 90 of the state Constitution says "contested elections for governor and lieutenant governor shall be determined by both houses of the General Assembly, according to such regulations as may be established by law." Stivers said his staff believes that might apply in this case. The last "contested" governors race was in 1899, the Courier Journal reports.

Sam Marcosson, a constitutional law professor at the University of Louisville, told the Courier Journal that Republicans can't just make up a legal procedure to review the election, and warned it's a risky "proposition to suggest that the General Assembly would take vague allegations of unspecified irregularities and call into question a gubernatorial election." Joshua Douglas, a professor at the University of Kentucky Law School, explained Bevin would have to call a special session of the General Assembly, then a panel of eight House members and three senators "would hear evidence and make a final determination. And that determination would be final."

The Kentucky Constitution stipulates that the next governor be sworn in Dec. 10. Peter Weber

November 6, 2019

Virginia Democrats had a really good Tuesday.

After flipping control of both houses of the state General Assembly, the party will, for the first time since 1993, control the state House, the state Senate, and the governor's office in January. Democrats also hold both U.S. Senate seats, the lieutenant governorship, and the attorney general's office. That means Democrats will be in control of drawing the next federal and state legislative districts, and they have promised to use their new majorities to pass stricter gun laws, raise the minimum wage, and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Virginia, then, is on track to be the 38th and final state needed to enact the ERA — maybe. When Congress passed the ERA in 1972 — proposing to amend the Constitution to say: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex" — it essentially gave America seven years to get the three-quarters majority of states needed to enshrine the amendment. Congress would almost certainly need to extend that deadline before the amendment could be added to the Constitution.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is probably up to the task of thwarting legislation to extend or eliminate the deadline. But the ERA has been under consideration for nearly 100 years, and if Virginia ratifies it, the amendment can outwait the senior senator from Kentucky too. Peter Weber

November 6, 2019

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defeated state Attorney General Jim Hood (D) in Tuesday's election to replace term-limited Gov. Phil Bryant (R), The Associated Press and other news organizations project. With about 90 percent of precincts reporting, Reeves led Hood 52.9 percent to 45.8 percent.

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both traveled to Mississippi in recent days to campaign for Reeves, in what was a tighter-than-usual race in a state that hasn't had a Democratic governor since 2004. Hood, 57, was the only statewide elected Democrat for three of his four terms as attorney general. In the last gubernatorial election, AP notes, the Democratic nominee was a long-haul trucker named Robert Gray "who didn’t vote for himself in the primary, raised little money and lost the general election by a wide margin." Peter Weber

November 5, 2019

With all precincts reporting in Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear appears to have unseated Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Tuesday, 49.2 percent to 48.8 percent, or by 5,189 votes. Beshear claimed victory Tuesday night, saying that while he hadn't yet spoken to Bevin, "my expectation is he will honor the election that was held tonight and he will help us make this transition — and I tell you what, we will be ready for that first day in office." That expectation was wrong.

"We are not conceding this race by any stretch," Bevin told supporters late Tuesday. He claimed to know of "more than a few irregularities," adding that "they are very well corroborated" and will be adjudicated "according to law that's well established." The Associated Press has not yet called the race, deeming it too close to call.

President Trump's re-election campaign issued a statement focusing on the other five statewide races Republicans won in Kentucky on Tuesday, thanks to Trump's Monday night rally in Kentucky, according to campaign manager Brad Parscale. Trump "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," Parscale added. "A final outcome remains to be seen." Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads