Gov. Pat McCrory protesting vote counts in 50 counties

Undecided gubernatorial race presents problems for candidates

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign said his attorneys are now protesting vote counts in 50 counties.

"Now we know why Roy Cooper fought so hard against voter ID and other efforts to combat voter fraud as attorney general," said Russell Peck, McCrory's campaign manager. "With each passing day, we discover more and more cases of voting fraud and irregularities. We intend to make sure that every vote is properly counted and serious voter fraud concerns are addressed before the results of the election can be determined."

North Carolina voters are no closer to knowing who the next governor will be 10 days after election night.

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Meanwhile, Democrat Roy Cooper’s lead of 5,785 votes still has to stand up to new counts of absentee and provisional ballots that weren’t included in the election night total.

At the same time, McCrory’s campaign is now challenging votes in a dozen counties and several counties have asked for extra time to certify their final tallies.

“Right now, we’re working through that established process and the timeline that that lays out. We think that it’s very important that every vote counts and every vote is counted properly,” McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz said.

Cooper’s campaign called the McCrory protests “a desperate attempt to undermine the results of the election.”

The result is that it will likely be after Thanksgiving, and even into early December before the governor’s race is officially called.

That presents problems for Cooper, even as he calls himself governor-elect.

“He’s trying to convince people to join his administration, and as long as there’s uncertainty, they’re less likely to want to give up their current job and make a commitment,” political expert Eric Heberlig said.

In the high-stakes race, neither candidate nor campaign is likely to care if the final maneuvering stretches on.

“When it’s close and each side thinks they have a chance of winning, that’s the whole ball game,” Heberlig said. “They’re going to use every legal means necessary.”

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