Nearly three weeks after the election, the North Carolina governor’s race remains undecided, with Republican incumbent Pat McCrory demanding recounts and refusing to concede to Democrat Roy Cooper, who leads him by more than 9,000 votes.
McCrory, infamous for signing the state’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 into law, said Saturday that he would withdraw his demand for a statewide recount in exchange for a hand recount of votes in Durham County, which is heavily Democratic, The Charlotte Observer reports. The State Board of Elections met Sunday but took no action on that request, with members saying they had not received it in writing.
Durham County’s voting results, which came in late Election Night, pushed Cooper ahead of McCrory. There have since been various allegations of voting irregularities in the county. The State Board of Elections plans to hear an appeal of a complaint rejected by county election officials; election boards in several other counties have rejected similar complaints, and they may end up before the state board as well, the Observer notes.
Cooper, whose lead has grown since Election Night, released a video Sunday declaring victory in the election, and Monday his attorney, Marc Elias, made that same point in a teleconference with reporters, the Charlotte Business Journal reports. “The math is simply clear. … Governor-elect Roy Cooper has won this race,” Elias said.
Cooper, currently the state’s attorney general, was a major opponent of HB 2, passed in March. He refused to defend it in court and called it a “national embarrassment.” The law, among other things, prevents municipalities from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination ordinances, and it bars transgender people, when in government buildings, from using restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities that match their gender identity. HB 2 has cost the state much business and is being challenged in lawsuits.
As of Monday afternoon, Cooper’s lead over McCrory stood at about 9,700 votes. A 10,000-vote margin, once vote totals are all certified as official, would prevent a recount. But Elias said he didn’t expect the margin to go that high.
Also, the Civitas Institute, a conservative North Carolina think tank, has filed a federal lawsuit against the State Board of Elections, demanding that ballots cast by those who registered to vote Election Day not be included in state totals, pending further investigation.