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North Carolina Governor’s Race: Partial Recount Ordered

An image of North Carolina landscape in November, 2016.

North Carolina voters cast ballots for their next governor three weeks ago. But still, somehow, a winner has yet to be declared and neither candidate has conceded.

Roy Cooper, the state’s Democratic attorney general, has seen a narrow lead grow during that time. According to his campaign, he’s now 10,000 votes ahead.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory, the embattled Republican incumbent who faced fallout this year for supporting the state’s controversial “bathroom bill,” has refused to concede the race because he wants a recount.

The reason, he’s said, is voting irregularities that could change the final outcome of the race.

Recount in the Research Triangle

Indeed, McCrory won a small victory Wednesday — keeping his fading hopes for re-election alive — when the Republican-controlled North Carolina State Board of Elections Wednesday ordered a machine recount of more than 90,000 ballots in Durham County. The majority of those voters in a deep-blue county, located in the heart of the Research Triangle, had cast ballots for Cooper.

“What harm would it do to scan these votes and count them so no that one campaign is going to think why wouldn’t they count those votes?” election board member James Baker, a Republican, asked at the hearing.

Russell Peck, campaign manager for McCrory, said in a statement that the governor is pleased that the election board has granted the request.

“We will respect whatever the results show,” Peck said. “We ask that this is done immediately.”

Trey Nix, Cooper’s campaign manager, seemed unfazed by the recount’s approval. Responding to the board’s decision, Nix said Cooper remained “confident” that the end results will continue to be in favor of Cooper.

“It is wrong that Governor McCrory continues to waste taxpayer money with false accusations and attempts to delay and that the Republican controlled Board of Elections did not follow the law,” Nix said in a statement. “However, Roy Cooper’s lead has grown to over 10,000 votes and after a partial recount of 6 precincts in one county, the outcome of the election will be the same.”

When will North Carolina know?

If Cooper does in fact have a 10,000-vote lead, McCrory would not benefit from a mandatory statewide recount, which his campaign had hoped for in recent weeks. CNN affiliate WTVD reports that 94 of the state’s 100 counties have finished counting ballots.

“It’s time to accept the will of the people,” North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever told WTVD.

CNN’s Dave Alsup and Khushbu Shah contributed to this report.

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