Pat McCrory concedes gubernatorial election to Roy Cooper

By on December 5, 2016

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday he was conceding the election to state Attorney General Roy Cooper, despite the final outcome having yet to be certified because of a recount of ballots in Durham County that was completed later in the day.

“It’s time to celebrate our democratic process and respect what I see to be the ultimate outcome of the closest North Carolina governor’s race in modern history,” McCrory said in a video statement released around noon.

“We should now do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper,” McCrory said.

In a statement a short time later, Cooper said: “I want to thank Gov. McCrory and our First Lady Ann McCrory for their service to our state.

“I’m proud to have received the support from so many who believe that we can come together to make a North Carolina that works for everyone.”

McCrory was only the fourth Republican to be elected governor of North Carolina since Reconstruction when he won in 2012.

“I am proud that our team leaves the state in a much better place than when we came into office,” McCrory said.

Cooper had already started the transition process two weeks ago, confident that the final outcome would be in his favor. But the Democrat will face a hostile environment in Raleigh from a partisan standpoint when he takes office next month.

Republicans have a super majority in the House and Senate, which will make it difficult for Cooper to sustain any vetoes.

There will be at least two Democrats on the Council of State. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall won another term, while Josh Stein will replace Cooper as Attorney General after Republican Buck Newton conceded Monday.

State Auditor Beth Wood, also a Democrat, leads Republican Chuck Stuber by 5,976 votes. That race is well within the 10,000 vote threshold that allows for a statewide recount.

“Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken,” McCrory said.

Cooper led by 10,263 votes as of noon Monday, more than double the number of votes he was ahead by on Election Night after absentee and provisional ballots had been included.

A variety of protests had been filed by GOP voters in counties across the state, accusing others of questionable registrations and absentee ballot practices, but Republican-led county and state election boards turned down those appeals.

A recount of nearly 95,000 ballots cast in early voting in Durham County was ordered after they had problems transferring the data to the state on election night.

About half of those ballots had been re-scanned as of Sunday evening, but no irregularities had been found and the totals had not changed enough to call in to question their validity.

The state Board of Elections dismissed a protest in Bladen County over absentee ballots, but said it had forwarded evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Eastern N.C. Office. McCrory called on the State Bureau of Investigation to also open its own probe.

“While this was a divisive election season, I know still that there is more that unites us than divides us,” Cooper said.

McCrory is the second straight governor to serve just a single term in office. He defeated one-term Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2012.

The last governor to hold just one term prior to that was Jim Holshouser, a Republican who served from 1973 to 1977. The state Constitution limited governors to just a single term until 1980.

The former Charlotte mayor is not going quietly into his last month in office however.

He has called the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session next week to address additional relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Matthew and mountain wildfires.

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