POLITICS

North Carolina Governor's Race Is Way Too Close To Call

Challenger Roy Cooper was beating incumbent Pat McCrory by over 4,300 votes early Wednesday.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is not going down without a fight. 
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is not going down without a fight. 

RALEIGH, N.C. ― The North Carolina governor’s race between Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper and Republican incumbent Pat McCrory is too close to call.

Cooper was ahead by more than 4,300 votes early Wednesday, according to available polling data. He gave a victory speech Wednesday morning after the tight race for the state’s highest office. 

“This has been an extremely hard fought race, but the people of North Carolina have spoken and they have chose a change in leadership,” Cooper said in a statement. “We are confident once the results are certified we will confirm tonight’s victory.”  

McCrory, however, refused to concede, saying that the race was too close. He also said the final decision wouldn’t be delivered until Nov. 18, after provisional ballots had been counted.  

“The race is not over in North Carolina,” he said on Wednesday morning. “We’re going to check everything. We are going to make sure every vote counts in North Carolina.”

All precincts in the state have reported their results, and unofficial tallies have the two candidates tied at 49 percent.

North Carolina was a key battleground state in 2016, and went to Donald Trump on election night. Throughout the gubernatorial race, Cooper often polled higher than McCrory, who is the first Republican governor to lead the state in 20 years.

McCrory’s time in office has been marked by his signing into law some of the nation’s most controversial legislation. 

Shortly after he took office in 2013, McCrory repealed the Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed inmates on death row to appeal death sentences that were sought or imposed on the basis of race. He reasoned that it “created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice.” That July, McCrory ended unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of people and signed a bill mandating that abortion clinics meet the same standards as surgical centers.

McCrory signed one of the nation’s strictest voter ID requirements into law in August 2013. The law was struck down by a federal appeals court in July after three judges determined that GOP lawmakers had chosen to implement specific ID requirements ― as well as to reduce the number of early voting days and to change registration procedures ― in order to keep black voters from the polls. 

In March, McCrory signed HB 2. The law prevented local governments from passing any anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and mandated that individuals can only use restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. The bill, which is one of the most far-reaching in the country, has caused the state to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Weeks later, McCrory signed an executive order widening the law to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The order did not reverse the bathroom portion of the bill. 

McCrory also signed a bill in July that removed police camera footage from the public record.

Cooper’s time as the state’s top attorney has required him to defend laws signed by McCrory even if he didn’t agree with them.

But on several occasions, Cooper has chosen not to do so. He urged McCrory to not sign the voter ID bill in 2013 and flat-out refused to defend North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban the following year. Cooper has also spoken out against the law removing police footage from the public record.

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