Republicans had a great night at every level in last month’s elections, but not everyone went home a winner. Governor Pat McCrory trailed in his re-election bid but refused to concede the election, requesting a recount and alleging irregularities in the voting, especially in Durham County. Today McCrory surrendered to the inevitable, and promised to help governor-elect Roy Cooper successfully and quickly transition into the office:
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the governor’s race Monday, clearing the way for Democrat Roy Cooper to be declared the winner nearly four weeks after Election Day.
The win by Cooper, the state’s outgoing attorney general, gives Democrats an important consolation prize after a disappointing election across the country. However, Republicans retain super majorities in both legislative chambers.
In a video message from his office posted to YouTube, McCrory said, “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 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.”
In a way, the controversy in North Carolina resembles that of Jill Stein’s recount demands in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. For that matter, so does McCrory’s reasoning behind contesting the results — supposed concerns about integrity in the ballot-counting system. There’s one major exception, though, which is that a recount would at least theoretically impact McCrory’s status in the election. He was the runner-up, not a fourth-place fringe candidate for whom a recount would make no difference at all.
However, the numbers made McCrory’s efforts nothing short of quixotic. The state cast around 4.7 million votes and McCrory trails by 10,263, according to the state Board of Elections unofficial tally. That’s a 0.218% difference, but it’s about ten times the amount that a recall would likely change. That’s almost the same difference as Michigan in the presidential race, which was ordered to begin its recount today by a federal judge, where an outcome-changing difference is equally improbable.
McCrory belatedly realized that this was going nowhere, and took the responsible action of admitting to reality and allowing the state of North Carolina to get back to business with a minimum of disruption. Too bad that Jill Stein, who has much less rational standing for her demands, doesn’t have the same sense of civic responsibility.
Addendum: As the Associated Press notes, Cooper’s not going to have an easy time as McCrory’s successor. Republicans have a supermajority in the state legislature, which means that they can govern without Cooper’s approval on issues that unite them. Republicans lost the seat, which isn’t nothing, but they haven’t yet lost the state.