James Comer concedes Kentucky Republican gubernatorial race to M - WDRB 41 Louisville News

James Comer concedes Kentucky Republican gubernatorial race to Matt Bevin

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky's Republican race for governor is over. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said “no” on Friday to a recount, and conceded to Matt Bevin.

Bevin is now taking steps to pull the party together after a bitter primary that went into overtime.

A whirlwind series of events Friday morning ended with Bevin officially assuming the role of the Republican nominee for governor.

Comer announced early Friday morning that he was giving up the race, saying in a statement, "I enthusiastically endorse Matt Bevin."

Comer had actually called Bevin shortly after Thursday's recanvass maintained Bevin's 83-vote margin. But Comer wanted time to tell supporters before going public with his concession.

Comer's statement went on to say, "Throughout the entire primary campaign, I grew to appreciate Matt Bevin's knowledge of the issues, his work ethic, and his morals. Matt ran a clean campaign which focused on the issues important to Kentuckians. Matt Bevin will stand up to the special interest groups that have held our great state back and fight the corrupt elements that still exist in Frankfort. I enthusiastically endorse Matt Bevin for Governor and pledge to do everything I can to see that he wins in November.”

Soon after the Comer announcement, there was a show of unity at Republican Party headquarters in Frankfort.

Bevin appeared with running mate Jenean Hampton and the GOP's nominees for Commissioner of Agriculture, State Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State, alongside party chairman Steve Robertson. Attorney General nominee Whitney Westerfield could not attend but issued a statement of support.

“You will see a level of unity the likes of which will help you sell far fewer papers, but will be the kind of thing that in November will make a powerful, powerful difference,” said Bevin.

That united front will apparently include Sen. Mitch McConnell whom Bevin challenged in a bruising primary last year.

Bevin says he supported McConnell against Alison Lundergan Grimes, but never explicitly endorsed him - angering some Republicans.

McConnell released a short statement saying, "I congratulate Matt Bevin on his victory and endorse him for governor."

“Whatever has been said is in the past," said Bevin. "We're all grownups on our side. We're moving forward. The point is this; we are going to beat Jack Conway and that entire ticket in November, and that is what we're united on.”

Democrat Jack Conway welcomed Bevin into the contest, saying he looks forward to a "spirited race."

The state Democratic Party put up a website attacking Bevin within minutes of Comer's concession.

“What are the Democrats talking about? Nonsense. They're talking about gibberish. They're talking about things that have nothing whatsoever to do with taking Kentucky forward. Because, you know why? They have nothing to offer to Kentucky,” said Bevin.

The state Board of Elections will certify all the results on June 8, but there is no doubt, the race for governor has already begun.

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