Pat McCroy, the Republican governor of North Carolina who became a national figure after his state legislature passed a controversial “bathroom law” that critics say discriminates against the LGBT community, ran for reelection this year, but does not yet know whether he will stay in office.
The conclusion to one of the most bitterly contested governors’ races in the country remains in doubt, with Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic nominee, currently leading McCroy by about 6,500 votes. Republicans have protested the results in roughly half of the state’s 100 counties, while allegations of voters fraud swirl, and the prospect of a recount looms.
Many are starting to wonder if the race will even by determined by the inauguration date on Jan. 7. Some liberals, including Star Trek‘s George Takei, have accused McCrory of plotting to “steal the election,” and are demanding he accept the results and stand down already.
Governor McCrory: You lost North Carolina because of your hatred and ignorance. Stand. Down. https://t.co/Ti1SSJCz83
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 21, 2016
so, fair to say NC Governor McCrory is straight up trying to steal this election? https://t.co/jkp9ST0dLn
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) November 19, 2016
Pat McCrory and the Republicans who brought you HB2 are trying to steal an election: https://t.co/scgtY0DQRd
— Melissa Gira Grant (@melissagira) November 20, 2016
McCrory’s campaign representatives have sought to challenge the results based on “known instances of votes being cast by dead people, felons or individuals who voted more than once.” Cooper’s campaign has said McCrory’s actions “set a new standard for desperation.”
Democrats are concerned that McCrory could lean on the Republican-controlled state legislature which, by law, can declare a new election or even declare a winner “if it can determine which candidate received the highest number of votes,” a decision that is “not reviewable” by the courts.
McCroy’s campaign has dismissed this scenario as “media-driven speculation,” while the Democratic side has down played it as well. Democratic super-lawyer Marc Elias, who is representing Cooper, has said “There is nothing that Gov. McCrory or his legal team are going to be able to do to undo what is just basic math.”
McCrory significantly underperformed up-ballot Republican candidates in this year’s election. Donald Trump won North Carolina by more than three points, while Sen. Richard Burr won re-election by an even larger margin.
McCrory became a lightning rod for left-wing critics as a result of the state’s “bathroom law,” which prohibits individuals from using public restrooms that do not correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. The law was denounced as “anti-LGBT,” and inspired a number corporate boycotts of the state.
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