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Ending 'Closest Governor's Race' In N.C. History, Pat McCrory Concedes

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a Trump rally in November.
Zach D Roberts
NurPhoto via Getty Images
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a Trump rally in November.

Just as the recount that he requested came to a conclusion, incumbent North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the gubernatorial election to Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

With a message on YouTube, McCrory ended what he described as the "closest governor's race" in North Carolina history.

"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," McCrory said in the video statement. "The McCrory administration team will assist in every way to help the new administration make a smooth transition."

McCrory and Cooper were separated by just thousands of votes on election night last month. As WUNC's Jeff Tiberii reported, McCrory went on to make unsubstantiated allegations of vast voter fraud.

Republicans alleged that something didn't add up because Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Richard Burr won in North Carolina so it stood to reason that the Republican gubernatorial candidate should have done just as well.

But Tiberii explains that McCrory was facing different headwinds:

"He came under national criticism in the months last spring and summer after he signed House Bill 2. That, of course, is the law that bans any municipality from passing a nondiscrimination ordinance and also requires that people use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificate.

"McCrory, additionally, faced kind of a smaller scope of scrutiny for a proposed toll road outside Charlotte, and that's where he was mayor for 14 years prior to becoming governor, reminding us yes, that all politics are local. Also, from a historical context, North Carolina has been doing this — splitting tickets — for a while. This marks the 13th election dating back to 1968. In that time, voters here have selected a Republican president and a Democratic governor seven different times."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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