Raleigh, N.C. — Although Attorney General Roy Cooper declared victory in the early morning hours over Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, the race remained too close to call Wednesday afternoon.
“We have won this race for governor of North Carolina,” Cooper said at a North Carolina Democratic Party gathering in Raleigh. “It has been a long, long journey to get to this point, and I know that people waited in long lines to vote and to allow their voice to be heard. I am humbled by that. Thank you so much.”
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Cooper was about 5,000 votes ahead of McCrory out of more than 5 million votes cast, according to unofficial results.
The race could now hinge on a number of provisional ballots, which will not be counted until Nov. 18.
“The votes have been cast in the gubernatorial election, but many have yet to be counted. Currently, there are tens of thousands of outstanding absentee, military and provisional ballots across the state, and claiming an outcome before the process has concluded is irresponsible and disrespectful to the voters of North Carolina whose voices have yet to be heard,” McCrory campaign strategist Chris LaCivita said in a statement.
Early Wednesday morning, McCrory said he didn’t expect the final results to be known until counties hold their official canvass of votes at the end of next week.
Despite the tight race, a Cooper campaign spokesman said they remain confident.
“Last night, the people of North Carolina chose a new governor with new priorities. With all precincts reporting, we have a strong lead and are confident that, once the results are certified, we will confirm last night’s victory. In the coming weeks, Governor-elect Cooper will be laying out an agenda for moving North Carolina forward,” said spokesman Ford Porter.
For statewide contests, the vote difference must be less than 10,000 votes or 0.5 percent of the total votes cast, whichever is lower, for a candidate to demand a recount after county canvasses statewide. The demand for a recount must be in writing and received by the State Board of Elections no later than noon on Nov. 22.
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