North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has formally requested a statewide recount of votes in his race with his Democratic attorney general, Roy Cooper.
To be sure, the race is a close one, and with fewer than 10 thousand votes separating the governor from his challenger, it opens the door for McCrory to request a recount under state law. However, Cooper’s lead has only widened since Election Day, growing from fewer than 5 thousand votes to 6,222 as of Tuesday afternoon. The Cooper campaign said that its lead is actually even larger than that, placing the number at 8,569.
Democrats and the Cooper campaign have stepped up pressure on McCrory to concede the race. On Tuesday, Cooper released a statement regarding the governor’s request for recount:
In response to Governor Pat McCrory’s request for a recount, Cooper for NC campaign manager Trey Nix released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/l0cnZDqYRK
— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) November 22, 2016
The Governor and former Charlotte mayor has demonstrated that he is not easily discouraged during his term as the top executive of the state. Most recently, he has been the subject of an avalanche of backlash because of the state’s infamous “bathroom bill,” which requires that people use the bathroom that matches the gender of their birth, which has been widely criticized as discriminating against the transgender community. Yet, McCrory has stood firm in support of the law. It is unlikely that he will be pressured to concede anything.
Relevant to the election, McCrory has repeatedly raised concerns of widespread voter fraud, filing complaints in over fifty of the state’s one hundred counties, despite the fact that no evidence of any fraud has surfaced nor been offered by him. Additionally, many of McCrory’s own Republican appointees serving on local county election boards have rejected his complaints.
Russell Peck, the governor’s campaign manager in a press release said:
“With many outstanding votes yet to be counted for the first time, legal challenges, ballot protests and voter fraud allegations, we must keep open the ability to allow the established recount process to ensure every legal vote is counted properly.”
Earlier this year a federal appellate court struck down a voter ID law that McCrory signed into law which was regarded the most restrictive law of its kind anywhere in the nation. Notably, the appellate court said that the law discriminated against African Americans “with almost surgical precision.” The law was just the latest voter suppression effort for the governor’s administration.
In his post-election efforts, McCrory is doing everything he can to nullify the votes that were eventually cast. In fact, his critics see his effort as a stall tactic, one intended to undermine the results of the election and potentially cause the state’s Republican General Assembly to step in and settle the race in his favor.
While this is a possible result under a North Carolina statute that addresses “contested elections for council of State office,” most experts say it is unlikely.
On Monday, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield spoke out on the matter declaring Roy Cooper the winner by any measure, and pleading with McCrory to concede the race.
On Monday, the Raleigh News and Observer editorial board published a piece entitled “For McCrory, failed vote challenges show it’s time to concede.”