The last time Kentucky fought over a gubernatorial election, the governor got killedBreaking News
tags: elections, US History, Kentucky
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 1899, Kentuckians headed to the polls to choose their 33rd governor. Because the incumbent, a Republican, was term-limited, the contest came down to two powerful, divisive figures: William S. Taylor, a Republican and sitting attorney general, and William Goebel, a Democratic state senator.
It was an ugly election. When the votes were counted, the Republican won by a razor-thin margin of a little more than 2,000 ballots. Taylor was sworn in. But Goebel cried foul and demanded an investigation.
What happened next left Goebel dead and the state on the verge of a civil war. He remains the only governor assassinated during a contested election in American history.
Nearly 120 years after that chaotic, violent election, the Bluegrass state now faces the potential of its second-ever contested race for its top political job.
On election night, after trailing by more than 5,000 votes, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) refused to concede, citing unspecified “irregularities." The next day, he asked the state to recanvass the election, which requires county election boards to check their math and ensure they added up the votes correctly.
If things still don’t work to his favor, the Republican-controlled General Assembly — in what might be an echo of what transpired at the dawn of the 20th century — could take matters into its own hands, either by recommending a new election or declaring one candidate the victor, according to the Courier-Journal.