Three weeks after Election Day, the race for Governor in North Carolina appears to solidifying for Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper.
With more counties beginning to certify results, Cooper’s lead has only grown from early Wednesday morning following Election Day, when Cooper first declared victory.
The outcome of the election has been in limbo as Republican incumbent Governor Pat McCrory has challenged votes in more than half of North Carolina’s 100 counties; the majority of those challenges have now been dismissed by Republican-led county Board of Elections.
The state Board of Elections issued an order Monday night advising counties to “dismiss a protest of election that merely disputes the eligibility of a voter.” The board also said “No county board may retrieve and discount a ballot cast by an unqualified voter unless a challenge was timely brought” under state law.
Counties that had already canvassed and certified results were ordered to “amend its canvas to include the vote” if the board had “retrieved and discounted any ballot in a manner inconsistent” with Monday’s order.
The state Board of Elections has called a meeting for Wednesday afternoon to discuss the challenge being brought concerning votes from Durham County. The Durham County Board of Election had voted unanimously to dismiss the challenge.
If the race remains within 10,000 votes after the final certification of the election results, McCrory is within his rights to ask for a recount. McCrory’s campaign issued a statement over the weekend saying that his request for a statewide recount would be withdrawn if the more than 90,000 Durham County votes in question were recounted and produced the same result.
North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse reiterated that stance in a Tuesday morning press conference.
“One of two things is going to happen,” Woodhouse said. “Durham County is going to recount its votes, or the entire state will if that is an option.”
Meanwhile Cooper’s campaign has continued to call on McCrory to officially concede.
“Roy Cooper’s lead has now grown to nearly 10,000 votes, and election protests from the McCrory campaign have been widely dismissed. It’s clear there is no path to victory for Governor McCrory. It’s time for him to accept the election results and respect the will of the voters,” said Cooper for NC Campaign Manager Trey Nix.
The state board meeting to hear the appeal regarding Durham County, which is not impacted by Monday’s order, is set for four o’clock Wednesday afternoon.
The state cannot officially certify its election results until the final county has done so, with the last counties set to canvas on Wednesday.