I've got to admit it.

I was shocked Tuesday night.

I didn't give Andy Beshear a chance of winning the election for governor.

Of course, it's not over yet.

There's still a recanvass to check vote totals.

And probably a more complicated recount before the election is finally settled.

But Gov. Matt Bevin can only blame himself -- and his mouth -- for the fact that on Wednesday the record showed that he had 704,388 votes to Beshear's 709,577.

A difference of 5,189.

A razor thin margin out of 1.4 million votes cast.

It came down to the fact that a lot of Republicans did not support Bevin.

Straight-ticket voting was at a minimum.

Every other Republican on the ballot drew tens of thousands more votes than the governor.

Treasurer Allison Ball led the ticket with 855,720 votes -- more than 150,000 more votes than Bevin.

Even Michael Adams, the secretary of state-elect, drew 746,275.

John Hicks, the libertarian candidate for governor -- a man few people even knew was on the ballot -- tallied 28,425.

That's more than enough to have made a difference in the race.

My theory is that a lot of Republicans, who didn't like Bevin but wouldn't vote for Beshear, went for Hicks.

I interviewed Bevin during his race four years ago.

And I was impressed with him.

He had some good ideas and I was hopeful.

But the man -- who was used to running a business that didn't require him to play well with others -- just couldn't keep from insulting people once he got in office.

He waged a war with teachers.

That's something any political science class would tell you was a dangerous move.

And his miscues over the past four years were too numerous to mention.

I've heard so many Republicans say privately that they dislike the man intensely.

They liked his agenda, but they disliked him.

His TV commercials pandered to fear.

Socialism, illegal immigrants and the list went on.

Fear usually works in elections.

But Bevin had just made too many Republicans mad.

If the election results stand, he has only himself to blame.

This wasn't a referendum on President Trump.

Beshear didn't beat Bevin.

Bevin beat himself.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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