North Carolina GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed a 2013 voter-ID law which a federal court rolled back this year for illegally suppressing African-American votes, is now claiming that massive voter fraud in his state swung the 2016 election against him, as McCrory’s campaign continues to challenge Democrat Roy Cooper’s thin lead two weeks after Election Day. The contentious, bitter race between McCrory and Cooper, the state attorney general, is the closest governor’s race in the country in a dozen years — and it’s not officially over. Cooper, the state attorney general, has extended his lead to 7,902 votes during an ongoing canvass of absentee and provisional ballots, his campaign says. (The State Board of Elections, which updates less frequently, shows Cooper leading by 6,703 votes.) And on Monday, Cooper announced a transition team to prepare to take the reins of state government despite McCrory’s intense push to dispute the results. But McCrory still hasn’t conceded, alleging voter fraud in 50 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and contesting individual votes before dozens of local election boards, claiming that dead people, felons and people who voted in other states cast ballots in the race. On Sunday, the McCrory campaign emailed supporters, saying the “election is still in overtime,” and soliciting contributions for its legal fund.
North Carolina, carried by Donald Trump, was a key battleground state in the presidential race, and the incredibly tight gubernatorial election has drawn national attention thanks to McCrory’s outsized role in tightening North Carolina voting laws and signing the state’s “bathroom bill” earlier this year. With the governor on the wrong end of a very tight race, his supporters are crying foul.
“Why is Roy Cooper so insistent on circumventing the electoral process and counting the votes of dead people and felons? It may be because he needs those fraudulent votes to count in order to win,” Ricky Diaz, a McCrory campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “Instead of insulting North Carolina voters, we intend to let the process work as it should to ensure that every legal vote is counted properly.”