Republican Pat McCrory Requests Recount In North Carolina Governor's Race
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
The election isn't over in North Carolina where the governor's race is still too close to call. Incumbent Republican governor Pat McCrory trails his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper by a few thousand votes. On Tuesday, McCrory officially requested a recount. This comes after weeks of allegations from his campaign of widespread voter fraud. There's little evidence to support that. From member station WUNC, Jeff Tiberii reports.
JEFF TIBERII, BYLINE: The top of the ticket went Republican here two weeks ago. Donald Trump won by nearly 3 percent. U.S. Senator Richard Burr finished almost six points ahead, but Governor Pat McCrory trails by less than two-tenths of a percent.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Our vote counts. Our vote counts. Our vote counts.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Vote.
TIBERII: Protesters in Durham recently demanded that all votes be tallied following claims of fraud. Meanwhile, McCrory's campaign alleges that felons and dead people voted across the state. But there is presently no evidence of widespread fraud, and it does not appear McCrory's camp is challenging anywhere near enough votes to sway the outcome. Morgan Jackson is a Cooper strategist.
MORGAN JACKSON: It's a shameful thing that when you lose an election, the only thing you can do about it is to try to say that something wasn't done correctly. They have no - I mean it's absurd, these allegations they're throwing out about voters, and they're just making them up out of thin air.
TIBERII: As more votes have been tabulated since Election Day, Cooper's lead has actually increased, but the governor refuses to concede. McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz.
RICKY DIAZ: Voter fraud's like insider trading. If you're not looking for it, you don't find it.
TIBERII: The governor's campaign maintains that between any possible fraud and the eligibility of thousands of provisional ballots, the election isn't over.
DIAZ: It's a spit in the face to voters who have waited in line to cast their votes for Roy Cooper to seek to (laughter) proclaim that an outcome to an election has yet to be decided.
TIBERII: Republicans have filed protests in dozens of counties over absentee voters who cast ballots but died before Election Day and others accused of voting in two states. However, there are only several hundred votes in question, nowhere near the roughly 8,000 that separate the two men. The escalating rhetoric concerns David McLennan, who teaches political science at Meredith College.
DAVID MCLENNAN: I worry about it from the 40,000-foot view that, you know, what this is saying to the average citizens of North Carolina without evidence. I mean it's - we need to have a legitimate electoral system for municipal elections, state elections and that people have faith in it so they go into the next election and vote.
TIBERII: Additional legal challenges from McCrory's campaign and his allies will slow down the process of declaring a winner even further. The governor's inauguration is scheduled for January 7. Hopefully this race is over by then. For NPR News, I'm Jeff Tiberii in Durham, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.