North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory finally admitted defeat and conceded his bid for reelection to Democrat Attorney General Roy Cooper early Monday afternoon. McCrory, who demanded a recount after unsubstantiated claims of an “absentee ballot fraud scheme” and allegations of “hundreds of fraudulent Cooper ballots,” released a video concession around noon on Monday.
“I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.”
Today, Governor McCrory released the following video message on the 2016 election results. pic.twitter.com/e65DTFaZ6l
— NC Governor’s Office (@GovOfficeNC) December 5, 2016
In a state that saw Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic Senate candidate Deborah Ross lose to their Republican opponents on November 8, Pat McCrory became the first North Carolina governor in history to lose a bid for reelection. Despite spending nearly a month filing complaints in about half of North Carolina’s 100 counties, no evidence of voter fraud was ever found, and McCrory’s costly recounts only confirmed Roy Cooper’s win. Following McCrory’s delayed concession, with the final election tallies on Monday afternoon showing Cooper holding onto a lead of 10,263 votes, Cooper responded with a written statement on Facebook.
“I want to thank Governor McCrory and our First Lady Ann McCrory for their service to our state. Kristin and I look forward to working with them and their staff in what I expect will be a smooth transition.
“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. It will be the honor of my life to serve this great state. While this was a divisive election season, I know still that there is more that unites us than divides us. Together, we can make North Carolina the shining beacon in the south by investing in our schools, supporting working families and building a state that works for everyone. I’d like to thank all of the hardworking families in North Carolina, and I look forward to serving the greatest state in the country as your Governor.”
Republican Pat McCrory finally concedes NC governor race to Democrat Roy Cooper. An essential, and highly consequential, win for Ds. pic.twitter.com/3orc7ZL2jF
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) December 5, 2016
North Carolina’s anti-lgbtq governor Pat McCrory concedes race, is the first governor in his state to not be reelected. pic.twitter.com/kAwdFFTDLg
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 5, 2016
Pat McCrory’s loss in a state that leaned heavily Republican this year has been largely blamed on his highly unpopular House Bill 2, which denied equal rights to the LGBTQ community. This controversial law included restrictions on public restrooms, bringing nationwide condemnation and millions of dollars in economic loss due to boycotts. The backlash against HB2 included numerous boycotts from businesses, sporting franchises, and performers, perhaps most notably the relocation of NCAA and ACC championship games earlier this year.
Reacting to McCrory’s overdue concession, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin issued a strongly-worded statement.
“Pat McCrory’s reign of discrimination is finally over. McCrory’s stubborn and reckless support of HB2 cost him this election, and his defeat sends a powerful warning to lawmakers across the country that targeting LGBTQ people will not be tolerated. We look forward to working with Governor-elect Roy Cooper and fair-minded lawmakers to repeal HB2. It’s way past time to repair the harm inflicted on North Carolina’s people, reputation and economy.”
As North Carolina attorney general, Roy Cooper spoke out against HB2 in March. “We’re talking about discrimination here. Not only is this new law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina’s economy back.”
Cooper has also included repealing HB2 in a five-point plan for boosting North Carolina’s economy.
“In just 12 hours House Bill 2 was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor McCrory in the dark of night. It’s clear why they were in such a rush – because they didn’t want to face the vocal opposition to this discriminatory law. Already HB2 has cost our state thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – we’ll never know how many businesses, conventions, or tourists took North Carolina off of their list. As governor, I will work to bring back those jobs lost because of HB2.”
Although Pat McCrory’s support of HB2 was arguably the biggest factor is his loss, he also faced recent opposition over a plan to build toll lanes on Interstate 77. Among Republican voters affected by some of the state’s worst traffic jams in the suburbs surrounding Lake Norman, McCrory also fared very poorly compared to 2012. Bill Russell, the president of the Cornelius-based Lake Norman, warned earlier this year that McCrory would lose.
“He’s in big trouble, he’s in huge trouble. What you’re gonna see is either people not voting for Pat McCrory or people voting for an alternative because he has demonstrated that he’s not listening.”
[Featured Image by Gerry Broome/AP Images]