One of the most closely-watched governor’s races on election night came down to a virtual tie late Tuesday, with Republican incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper separated by just a few thousand votes of more than 5 million cast.
The pair were knotted at 49% of the vote each with 99% of precincts reporting, raising the specter of a contested outcome that could stretch past election night.
Speaking at about 12:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, McCrory said the election process will not end for several days, as a winner in the gubernatorial race will not be declared until a canvas of votes, according to WITN-TV in Greenville, N.C. He said the earliest the canvas will be done is Nov. 18.
“We’re going to make sure that every vote in North Carolina counts,” McCrory said. “To ensure that every vote counts, there is a process.”
However, Cooper declared victory to a gathering of his supporters in Raleigh. “The results will be certified and they will confirm victory,” he told the gathering, according to WCNC-TV in Charlotte.
McCrory came under intense national scrutiny this year for overseeing controversial laws, including HB2, nicknamed the “bathroom bill,” which prohibited transgender residents from using public bathrooms of the gender they identify with, and a voting law that was struck down by the courts. Protests and boycotts ensued in the wake of HB2, including the NCAA’s announcement that it was relocating its championship games.
In other races, Republicans picked up two extra governor’s seats and Democrats held on to four late Tuesday in the race for 12 governor posts across the nation.
In one of more surprising races of the night, Vermont voters chose a Republican governor, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, despite being an overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal state. Scott is popular in the state and viewed as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
Missouri voters ushered in a new Republican governor, Eric Greitens, awarding Republicans control of both the legislative and executive branches in the state. He replaces outgoing Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Greitens is a former Navy SEAL with no prior political experience.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Rick Jervis