N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory Concedes To Democrat Roy Cooper In Close Race

Dec 5, 2016
Originally published on December 5, 2016 6:29 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Nearly a month after the election, North Carolina's gubernatorial race is over. The sitting Republican governor, Pat McCrory, has conceded to his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. From member station WUNC, Jeff Tiberii reports.

CORNISH: Late on election night, Governor Pat McCrory was ahead by 50,000 votes until a late surge of ballots from Durham County came in, halting his advantage and subsequently his time in office.

Since then, McCrory and his allies have raised allegations of voter fraud all over the state. But one by one, those claims were dismissed for a lack of evidence. A partial recount in Durham this weekend only made McCrory's deficit larger. Twenty-eight days after the election, he offered this video statement.

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PAT MCCRORY: I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken. And we now do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.

JEFF TIBERII, BYLINE: This was the closest gubernatorial election in the state's modern history, with Cooper and McCrory separated by less than 1 percent, just more than 10,000 votes. The defeat from McCrory comes as Donald Trump carried the state by a comfortable margin. The governor received national criticism for his support of House Bill 2, the controversial law that limits protections for the LGBT community. North Carolina politics have seen a dramatic shift to the right in the last six years. A Cooper administration offers a move in the other direction.

CHRIS COOPER: I think Roy Cooper has the hardest road ahead of him of probably any governor in the country.

TIBERII: That's Chris Cooper - no relation - who teaches political science at Western Carolina University.

COOPER: To face a supermajority in both Houses is going to make it extraordinarily difficult for him to get much done.

TIBERII: Governor-elect Cooper did not speak publicly today. He will hold an event on Tuesday. The longtime attorney general issued a statement saying, it will be the honor of my life to serve this great state. It may also provide his greatest challenge. For NPR News, I'm Jeff Tiberii in Durham, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.