RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory has conceded in the gubernatorial race, admitting defeat after failed recount attempts and unproven claims of voter fraud could not save his attempt to retain his seat against Democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper.
McCrory made the concession via a video he released on Monday, while a recount in Durham wrapped up, showing no sign of a change in outcome to move the needle in his favor. McCrory is trailing Cooper by over 10,000 votes with nearly all counties finishing their tallies. He would have had to shrink the margin below the 10,000 vote threshold to trigger his right to call for a statewide recount.
“It’s time to celebrate our democratic process and respect what I see to be the ultimate outcome of the closest North Carolina governor’s race in modern history,” McCrory says in the video.
“Despite continued questions that should be answered about 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. The McCrory administration team will assist in every way to help the new administration make a smooth transition.”
McCrory is the first North Carolina governor to lose a reelection bid, and this race was the second costliest governor’s race in the country and the most expensive in the state’s history, reports The News & Observer.
Cooper released a statement of his own.
“I want to thank Governor McCrory and our First Lady Ann McCrory for their service to our state,” he said. “Kristin and I look forward to working with them and their staff in what I expect will be a smooth transition
“I’m proud to have received the support from so many who believe that we can come together to make a North Carolina that works for everyone. It will be the honor of my life to serve this great state. While this was a divisive election season, I know still that there is more that unites us than divides us. Together, we can make North Carolina the shining beacon in the south by investing in our schools, supporting working families and building a state that works for everyone. I’d like to thank all of the hardworking families in North Carolina, and I look forward to serving the greatest state in the country as your Governor.”
LGBTQ advocates are celebrating the Cooper victory, saying it shows that passing legislation that discriminates against the community cost the governor his office.
McCrory signed House Bill 2 (HB2) into law, requiring transgender people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with the gender on their birth certificates and invalidating non-discrimination ordinances across the state, removing protections for the LGBTQ community. It also capped the minimum wage in the state.
The law has cost the state millions of dollars in lost revenue and hundreds of jobs due to boycotts.
Executive director of Equality North Carolina, Chris Sgro, noted that “a champion of equality will replace one of the worst anti-LGBTQ politicians as the highest officeholder in our state. What’s more – McCrory lost largely because he attacked our community with the disastrous HB2, and because North Carolinians wouldn’t stand for it.”
“Our work is not over,” he continued in an email statement to supporters. “There is much to be done in order to support Roy Cooper’s efforts to repeal HB2 and create statewide anti-discrimination protections. And there will be much to be done in order to elect a pro-equality legislature during the 2017 special elections.”
“Pat McCrory’s reign of discrimination is finally over. McCrory’s stubborn and reckless support of HB2 cost him this election, and his defeat sends a powerful warning to lawmakers across the country that targeting LGBTQ people will not be tolerated,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement. “We look forward to working with Governor-elect Roy Cooper and fair-minded lawmakers to repeal HB2. It’s way past time to repair the harm inflicted on North Carolina’s people, reputation and economy.”
“After wasting plenty of time and taxpayer dollars with frivolous complaints and bogus accusations, we are thankful that the McCrory campaign has finally acknowledged Governor-elect Cooper’s victory,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action in a statement. “Now it’s time to move forward and for the General Assembly to start repairing North Carolina’s reputation by repealing HB2, raising teacher pay to the national average, and looking out for people instead of polluters. North Carolina voters supported these priorities when they elected Roy Cooper, and it’s time to move North Carolina forward instead of backwards.”
Watch McCrory gives his concession speech in the video below.