North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory makes remarks concerning House Bill 2 while speaking during a government affairs conference in Raleigh, N.C., May 4, 2016. 
Photo by Gerry Broome/AP

Short on realistic options, NC’s Pat McCrory concedes race

Every gubernatorial race in the nation was resolved weeks ago, with one notable exception. In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) narrowly trailed state Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) on Election Day, but with a margin of fewer than 5,000 votes, out of more than 4 million ballots cast, the Republican incumbent believed he still had a chance.

His odds quickly deteriorated, however, when provisional ballots pushed Cooper’s lead to over 10,000 votes, and challenges from McCrory’s legal team were rejected, even by local boards run by Republicans.

There’s been a fair amount of talk about more radical tactics through the GOP-led state legislature, but this morning, the governor realized it was time to walk away. WRAL reported that McCrory has finally conceded to Cooper.
McCrory issued a video statement, saying the state needs to unite behind Cooper moving forward. “Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support the 75 governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper,” he said in the statement.

McCrory said his administration will work with Cooper’s team in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Despite the contested election, Cooper started his transition effort two weeks ago.
The outgoing governor’s two-minute long video is available here.

Cooper will take office in early January, becoming one of only three Democratic governors in the South, joining Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards and Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe.

McCrory, meanwhile, becomes the only Republican governor to lose in 2016.

And I suppose that broader takeaway is what should matter to a national audience. McCrory, who ran as a mainstream pragmatist and former mayor, governed as a far-right ideologue, determined to move North Carolina in a radical direction – especially in areas such as voting rights and civil rights. Lately, it seems like politicians are rewarded for such tactics, but not this time.

North Carolinians may have backed Donald Trump in the presidential race, and may have re-elected Sen. Richard Burr (R) in their U.S. Senate race, but they grew tired of McCrory and saw Cooper as a capable alternative.

North Carolina’s reputation as one of the nation’s most closely watched “purple” states will endure.