Multiple senators in the state of North Carolina have called for incumbent Governor Pat McCrory to accept the current vote counts, placing Democratic challenger Roy Cooper thousands of votes ahead of him, and to concede the election. McCrory has challenged results in several counties and asked for a recount, but some senators say it’s time for him to move on and make it official.
After filing protests in 52 counties, Governor Pat McCrory called for the State Board of Elections to take over investigations in these counties — some of which had already rejected his protest. The News & Observer notes that counties whose elections boards rejected McCrory’s claims have Republican majorities. The State Board of Elections, too, turned down McCrory’s request, saying that the county boards should be allowed to do their jobs.
Pat McCrory issued a statement on Monday, saying that there were hundreds of ballots in which he found cause for concern, and accusing challenger Roy Cooper of attempting to circumvent the democratic process.
Ballot counts on November 8 placed Roy Cooper ahead of Pat McCrory by over four thousand votes. WITN notes that lead has grown as more counties finish reporting vote totals, with a 7,686 vote lead on Wednesday afternoon. Over 20 counties have yet to file final counts.
Democratic State Senators say that McCrory is merely dragging out the process and refusing to accept the results. As early as November 9, Jeff Jackson, attorney and Democratic member of the North Carolina Senate, declared his readiness to work with the new governor.
We won our race. I'm ready to work with our new Governor to be what our state strives to be: reasonable, decent, and focused on the future.
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) November 9, 2016
At the same time, Roy Cooper celebrated a win.
Thank you, North Carolina! pic.twitter.com/WZQQcZ4dzi
— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) November 9, 2016
However, on Tuesday, two weeks after the election, and after county and state BOEs had rejected complaints, Pat McCrory announced he had filed for a statewide recount.
N.C. Senator Dan Blue Jr., known for his outspoken stances on civil rights, spoke on Monday, preceding McCrory’s request for a recount, saying that the people of North Carolina deserve to be allowed to move forward, and suggesting that McCrory act to allow them that opportunity.
“For the good of the state, and to ensure that North Carolinians can move forward following this election season, it’s time for Gov. McCrory to concede.”
Stopping short of mocking the governor’s efforts in his own words, Senator Mike Woodard retweeted a statement from an executive director of Progress North Carolina, mocking the protest petitioner whose argument for Pat McCrory was rejected in Halifax County.
— Gerrick Brenner (@ProgressNC_GB) November 18, 2016
Senator Terry Van Duyne also retweeted bold statements from progressive political groups, such as this one declaring, “No wonder desperate Pat is begging Trump for a job!”
— Progress NC Action (@ProgressNow_NC) November 18, 2016
In her own statement, somewhat milder, Van Duyne merely calls for Pat McCrory to concede “…when [Cooper’s] victory is confirmed.”
— Sen. Terry Van Duyn (@TerryVanDuynNC) November 23, 2016
Meanwhile, one challenge on McCrory’s behalf that was taken seriously was a charge that two felons had been allowed to vote illegally in Forsyth County. While two votes being ejected from the results would have minimal effect on an election that was decided by thousands, this case too was dismissed — when, according to the Winston-Salem Journal, the complainant failed to show up at a hearing to give evidence. The complainant in question, Forsyth County Republican Party vice chairwoman Linda Petrou, says a GOP attorney had advised her she didn’t need to attend.
The other challenge receiving a significant amount of attention is in Bladen County, the one case that the State Board of Elections did consent to investigate, according to WXII. In Bladen County it is alleged that a small group of people may have filled out “a couple hundred” absentee ballots. In a statement on these ballots, Pat McCrory asserts that most were straight-ticket, supporting Democrats in all offices.
Again, if these ballots are found to be fraudulent and tossed out of the count, they still add up to a fraction of the current lead Roy Cooper holds over Pat McCrory.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]