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Comer Concedes, McConnell Congratulates Bevin on GOP Primary Win

Ten days after a photo finish in the GOP primary for Kentucky governor, the race is officially decided.

After a statewide re-canvass by county clerks, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin held on to his narrow 83-vote margin of victory and current Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer conceded the race.

"After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to forgo a vote recount and concede to Matt Bevin," Comer said in a statement Friday. "Within minutes of receiving the re-canvass results, I called Matt Bevin to concede and congratulate him on a hard fought victory. Many of you have encouraged me to petition for a vote recount, and I appreciate your commitment to see this campaign through. Your pleas are the only reason why this was a difficult decision for TJ and me. While I do not want to let you down, I believe it is in the best interest of the Republican Party and Kentucky to avoid a long, divisive, and expensive recount. Now is the time to be united against Jack Conway and I stand united with Matt Bevin."

On May 19, the results came down to the wire as Comer inched closer to what was once a wide margin maintained by Bevin. The former state representative and first-term agriculture commissioner banked on big votes from western Kentucky and he got them and at one point took the lead in the 4-way race. Former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner, whose campaign was linked to allegations that Comer had physically and mentally abused a former girlfriend in the 1990's while in college, and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott finished third and fourth.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the Democratic nominee in the fall campaign for governor.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was challenged by Bevin in last year's GOP primary for Senator, issued a statement on Friday. "I congratulate Matt Bevin on his victory and endorse him for governor," McConnell said.

It had been widely reported that relations between Bevin and McConnell remain icy.

Kentucky Democrats also responded to the Bevin news.

“We agree with top Kentucky Republicans who have said that Matt Bevin is a ‘pathological liar,’ an ‘east coast con man,’ and a ‘selfish, angry’ politician who is only ‘running to satisfy his ego,’” said Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Hughes. “This site will be a valuable resource for Kentucky voters to learn what Kentucky Republicans really think about Matt Bevinoccio, and why so many of them believe that Bevin’s self-interested agenda and record of deceit is wrong for Kentucky.” 

-Staff report

Photo: James Comer (via Facebook)