TRANSCRIPT: Bevin talks about upcoming recanvass, says there's n - WDRB 41 Louisville News

TRANSCRIPT: Bevin talks about upcoming recanvass, says there's no rift with McConnell

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Republican primary for Kentucky governor was too close to call, and now those votes are about to get a closer look.

Just 83 votes separate Matt Bevin and James Comer. On Thursday recanvass will examine those votes. Comer asked for the recanvass after trailing Bevin in the primary.

A recanvass is different from a recount.

On Thursday election officials in each county will re-check their voting machine numbers against their election night totals.

It does not count each individual vote.

Questions have been raised by many in the republican party about the supposedly strained relationship between Bevin and U-S Senator Mitch McConnell.

They say if he wants to be governor --- that has to be fixed.

Bevin and McConnell were scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Rotary Club in Elizabethtown, but Bevin canceled, claiming a conflict. He says he had another meeting set up with state lawmakers and business leaders.

This morning Bevin sat down with WDRB.

He says there is no rift.

"Speaking for myself and I tell you and what I know of him and all the interaction that has been had absolutely not, there really isn't.That's the kind of idea people seem to like the idea of but his mission and my mission is to move this state forward and that's what I'm focused on.

McConnell says he will support the nominee just as soon as the result is official.

As far as the recanvass Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says the winners of all races will be certified on June 8.

Below is a transcript of the interview between WDRB's Candyce Clifft and Bevin:

So talk about what you're doing as you wait for the recanvass.

BEVIN: Sure. Recanvassing is essentially a formality. It's one that needs to be completed. It will be by Thursday morning at 9am. Every county clerk will do an actual recanvass. We don't anticipate any change. We've been operating as if there will be no change. Historically there has never been any change come from a recanvass.

So what we've been doing in the last days, and will continue to do going forward, is speak with state legislators, other leaders at both the state and national level who can weigh in and give us thoughts and advice and an ability to build coalitions and to move the party and the state forward, into November and beyond.

CLIFFT: Speaking of coalitions, and moving the party forward, yesterday, you and McConnell were not at the same place. Can you explain how that happened? Because initially you were scheduled to be at—

BEVIN: We had hoped to be at that event, but unfortunately I was supposed to be in Lexington, and in fact was in Lexington all afternoon. I had a meeting with Congressmen and with a number of state legislators and a number of business people and other thought leaders in that community that I could not move. There were too many folks there.

Had I been in Elizabethtown, at best, I would have had to leave before Senator McConnell spoke, which would have kind of defeated the purpose. It would have created…frankly, adding to the confusion didn't make sense. He was scheduled to be there. It's something that he's done every year. He addresses them as part of, you know, something that he, I believe, does every single year – he speaks to the Rotary there. So that was his opportunity.

CLIFFT: I think a lot of people who are watching this – political outlets – on the outskirts of it, want to know: Is there a rift between you and Mitch McConnell because of the Senate race?

BEVIN: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. There's certainly – speaking for myself, and I tell you, from what I know of him, and all of the interaction that has been had, absolutely not. There really isn't. That's the kind of thing that people seem to like the idea of, but his mission and my mission is to move this state forward, and that's what I'm focused on.

CLIFFT: How do you work then? Because you've had four Republican candidates in the primary. Some of you have had similar views – different on a few things – how do you then take a party that has been involved in a very competitive primary and then say, “Alright, everybody, let's get together.” How do you unite?

BEVIN: Competition is good. It really is. This has been a healthy process. Our party is stronger for this. We'll be better for this. There are more people paying attention – more people engaged – because of this. I have a good relationship with every one of the other candidates. I've had conversations – multiple conversations – with each of them since the election. My ability to reunite these pieces is going to be high, and I'm grateful for that.

We ran a race that did not take part in the things that became as divisive as they did. We ran based on issues. We ran a positive campaign that allowed us to be respectful of the other candidates in the race, and that's the kind of thing that will allow us to be able to bring everybody together. There's a lot of experience on the part of the other candidates. Hal Heiner, Jamie Comer, Will T. Scott – each of these men, very intelligent, very competent, a lot of great experience, many things they bring to the equation that frankly I'm going to need to and want to avail myself of to the degree that they have time and willingness, and it seems that they do. I'm looking forward to working with these guys going forward.

CLIFFT: How much do you expect to reach out to Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell – big names in the Republican Party nationally – to help you in Kentucky?

BEVIN: As much as they have time and willingness to do. Obviously they have pretty important things on their plate, including the very things they're wrestling with right now in the U.S. Senate as it relates to the Patriot Act, among other pieces of legislation. That is their focus. That should be their focus. That's what we elected them to do. I would welcome any advice, input, support that they can give, but I don't expect things from them above and beyond what they're able to do.

CLIFFT: I want to ask you too about issues in the general election. If it's, as expected, you move on from this as the Republican nominee, what do you expect to be the key defining issues between you and Jack Conway?

BEVIN: Pick an issue. I mean, literally. And the beautiful thing is, where I stand on issues is where two-thirds of Kentuckians stand. As it relates to the issue of life, I stand on the side of being pro-life. That is not the case for the other side of the ticket. As it relates to the Second Amendment and peoples' right to keep and bear arms not being infringed, I stand with the majority of Kentuckians on that. On issues like Right to Work, even, the majority of Kentuckians – and an increasing number of them – recognize that we need jobs in this state, and we've got to be able to create an opportunity where businesses do not pass us by. As it relates to the marriage issue and family issues, we're on the side – on the Republican side – of the majority of Kentuckians, Republican and Democrat alike. There will be very, very clear lines drawn between Jack Conway and myself as we move forward. It will be easy for people to see where the decisions are to be made.

CLIFFT: And someone had pointed out to me that they believed that, in interviewing Jack Conway recently, that education might be something he really starts to focus on. Would you say that the two of you are very different in education?

BEVIN: I've been focused on education for years, so I'm delighted to hear that he wants to now start thinking about it. It's interesting because education in this state – we're one of seven states that offers no school choice. I've made it very clear in my Blueprint for a Better Kentucky, one of the key tenants of that – the seven planks of that – is education, and the fact that we need school choice in Kentucky. We have to have competition for our public education dollars. We're failing generation after generation of young people through our public education system. We have great teachers, we have great administrators. We have people with a lot of passion, a lot of desire, a lot of experience, but we've wrapped them in a level of bureaucracy that comes at the expense of the very children we're there to supposedly help.

We've got to start being smarter, especially starting even with some of our failing schools here in Jefferson County, Fayette County where the predominance of them are. We need vouchers. We need public charter schools. We need to give alternatives to parents for their young people, as it relates to opportunity for them to actually come out of high school with the ability either to follow on with postsecondary education or to enter the workforce as an employable individual, and we're failing miserably on both fronts – we really are.

CLIFFT: Finally, you've got a unity event happening this weekend for the Republican Party. What is the general message that you want Republicans in this state to hear going toward the governor's race?

BEVIN: This is the annual Lincoln Day dinner. It happens every year at this time. It is an opportunity for people all over this state to come together. The message is this: we have a lot of work to do here in Kentucky. Thomas Edison once noted most people in life miss opportunity because it looks like hard work and shows up in overalls. This is the kind of thing that we have before us: great opportunity, but a lot of hard work.

My message to people will be: If you want to be a part of the solution, welcome on board. Welcome on board. Because we need every single person that we can possibly have helping us to move this state forward. That will be the message. Those who look in the rearview mirror are not going to be part of the solution. We need to look forward, out the windshield, collectively together. We need to all be moving in the same direction. This will be my message. I think it's the message of others as well, and I'm delighted by that. I think this will be good for us.

CLIFFT: Anything else you want to add that I didn't ask you?

BEVIN: No. Here's what I would say: I would encourage all those out there – Republican and Democrat alike, all the independents, the people who truly care about Kentucky, those who want a better Kentucky – ask themselves, what are they willing to do to make that possible? If they truly want greater opportunity, what degree of personal sacrifice are they willing to make in order to afford a better opportunity to the next generation. That's what will be required of us – and it will be those that are willing to step forward and give of themselves that I look forward to leading, not only in the months ahead, but in the years ahead, because Kentucky could be a great beacon for the rest of America. It really could. We really could be a much greater version of ourselves. And this is what I'm looking forward to bringing forward onto the national scene in the years ahead.

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