Decision 2015: Harmon defeats Edelen for State Auditor

RAW: State Auditor Adam Edelen concedes Nov. 3 election to Mike Harmon
Mike Harmon during his election night victory speech. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Mike Harmon during his election night victory speech. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Adam Edelen during his election night concession speech. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Adam Edelen during his election night concession speech. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen conceded his race for re-election to Republican State Representative Mike Harmon Tuesday night.

Harmon won with 52 percent of the vote, whereas Edelen only picked up 48 percent.

"I hope at 40 that my best days are not behind me," Edelen told his supporters. "Defeat is never easy, but it's something, candidly, I've become accustomed to. Where I come from, if anyone had ever predicted that I would ever get the opportunity to be chief of staff to an outstanding governor, Steve Beshear, much less represent the people of Kentucky for four years as I've had the opportunity to do so as their taxpayer watchdog. Folks, it's not sadness that dominates me tonight, it's appreciation."

[Decision 2015: Kentucky, Indiana General Election Returns]

Many were stunned by Edelen's loss on Election Day; polls showed the incumbent would likely win re-election. Edelen faced a lot of speculation that after winning re-election, he would then declare a run for Senator Rand Paul's seat in 2016. Because of that buzz, Bill Stone, a former Jefferson County GOP Chairman, told WAVE 3 News that Edelen's loss should not come as a surprise.

"As far as Adam's concerned, I think the people saw behind his campaign," Stone told anchor Scott Reynolds on election night. "That his real intent – and it came out after the news analysis after the election – his real intent was to run for the United States Senate. They knew they were not electing an auditor who was going to serve. I think more people are onto that than people realize."

Indeed, Harmon attacked Edelen for his possible plans to run for Senate during KET's Auditor Debate in early October.

"It's a case of if he's focused," Harmon told the moderator. "If his focus is which it appears to be, more on the 2016 Senate race with Rand Paul, actually, that helps me out because if his focus is on that, it gives me the opportunity for a last second jump shot to win the race."

While that may have proven to be Edelen's Achilles heel Tuesday night, Democratic State Senator Morgan McGarvey told Reynolds he didn't believe Edelen would be finished after this campaign.

"Adam Edelen is still a star in the Democratic Party," McGarvey said. "I don't think we've seen the last of him yet, but this race, I don't think anybody saw happening."

So what's next for the outgoing state auditor? He said he's going back to the private sector for now.

"My hope and my prayer is that I have the opportunity in some small way to continue to serve the people of Kentucky," Edelen said. "I look forward to doing that for the next several years. I look forward to doing that from the private sector and the Little League field, but folks, let's not get down. Let's not forget what we're about, and let's make sure that we continue to fight for the people of Kentucky."

Copyright 2015 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.