Governor Roy Cooper successfully won election to a second term Tuesday over Republican challenger and Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, one of few Democratic victories in the Council of State.
In a split-ticket twist, Republican Mark Forest clinched victory over Democrat Yvonne Holley in the lieutenant governor’s race. He is the state’s first African American to serve in that office.
During his victory speech at Democratic headquarters in downtown Raleigh, Cooper urged unity despite the increasingly polarized political landscape.
“Today and for the next four years I will work hard to be the governor of every North Carolinian,” Cooper said. “Thank you for your continued trust in me.”
With 100 percent of precincts reporting as of 1 a.m., Cooper lead with 51 percent of the vote over Forest. Here’s a rundown of the totals:
Cooper’s ratings as governor were bolstered by his cautious handling of the pandemic, which including a phased reopening plan slower than many other southern states. His opponent, Dan Forest, pushed for the state’s economy to reopen more quickly and questioned the effectiveness of face masks.
“Campaign season is tough, especially this one,” Cooper said. “But North Carolinians are tougher.”
Down the ballot, Republicans appeared to hold narrow leads in most Council of State races, however many races were yet to be called as of 2 a.m. If current trends hold, Democrats Attorney General Josh Stein, Auditor Beth Wood, and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall will hold onto their seats, but so willRepublican incumbents Treasurer Dale Folwell, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
In the council’s two open seats—Superintendent of Public Instruction and Labor Commissioners—RepublicansCatherine Truitt, and Josh Dobson clung to a narrow lead. Those races were yet to be called as of 1 a.m.
There are still as many as 117,000 absentee ballots that courts have ruled can be counted by November 12 if postmarked by Election Day. It’s unclear how many of those will be returned.
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