No change at the top in recanvass of GOP gubernatorial primary decided by 83 votes

05/28/2015 04:38 PM

UPDATED WITH BEVIN REACTION: A recanvass of ballots cast in last year’s Republican gubernatorial primary Thursday yielded no change in the 83-vote margin between victor Matt Bevin and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced that only Hal Heiner, who finished third, picked up votes in the recanvass, adding three from Fayette County to his 57,948 total in the primary.

Edwin King, Comer’s campaign manager, said in an email the candidate is spending time in Florida with family and will have a statement Friday “about the next steps he will take in this race.”

Bevin responded to the recanvass which held the 83-vote margin in a statement saying,“it is an honor to be the Republican nominee for Governor.”

“I have tremendous respect for Commissioner Comer and am glad that we went through the recanvass process so that the integrity of our election was validated,” Bevin said. “In the weeks and months ahead we will be bringing our Blueprint for a Better Kentucky to the voters and we look forward to discussing this detailed plan for job creation.”

Bevin is set to face Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway in the Nov. 3 election.

Grimes said she did not discuss with Comer the possibility of a recount, which must be requested in Franklin Circuit Court and paid by the candidate.

Comer must request a recount by Friday, and Grimes noted that the state has never conducted a statewide recount when asked about the cost to count each individual ballot.

“It depends on the scope of which a recanvass would be requested as well as the timeframe, if there’s any movement of the election equipment or materials,” she said. “It would all be within a judge’s discretion, the ultimate bond that would be set.”

The GOP agriculture commissioner candidates netted four additional votes in all, a far cry from the original 1,427-vote gap between Rep. Ryan Quarles of Georgetown and Rep. Richard Heath of Mayfield, Grimes said of the recanvass in that race.

Quarles, who extended his margin of victory to 1,429 votes against Heath, will face Democrat Jean-Marie Lawson Spann in the fall election.

Grimes said the Kentucky State Board of Elections will certify the primary results at its June 8 meeting.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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