North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Monday finally conceded in the state’s governor’s race after dragging the election out for almost a month with complaints about alleged voter fraud.
In a video statement, McCrory said that it’s “time to celebrate our democratic process and respect what I see to be the ultimate outcome of the closest North Carolina governor’s race in modern history.”
“Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, 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,” he continued. “The McCrory administration team will assist in every way to help the new administration make a smooth transition.”
After McCrory conceded, Cooper released a statement thanking McCrory for his “service to our state” and celebrating his own victory.
“I’m proud to have received the support from so many who believe that we can come together to make a North Carolina that works for everyone,” Cooper said. “While this was a a divisive election season, I know that there is more that unites us than divides us.”
McCrory’s concession to Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper comes as officials in Durham County are finishing a GOP-requested recount of more than 90,000 votes. Officials are set to complete the recount by Monday evening, and initial results did not provide significant changes in the vote outcome, according to the News and Observer.
McCrory had refused to concede for almost a month, using a flurry of ballot complaints filed by Republicans to decry widespread voter fraud in the state. But the Republican-led state board of elections effectively dismissed all complaints about voter eligibility last week, and the board on Saturday rejected another complaint alleging that absentee ballots were improperly filled out in Balden County.
After the board rejected the Bladen County protest on Saturday, McCrory asked the State Bureau of Investigations to launch a criminal probe into “voting irregularities” in the county.
McCrory had requested a statewide recount before the state elections board certified the results. However, candidates in North Carolina can only request a recount when the margin is under 10,000 votes, and Cooper is currently leading McCrory by more than 10,000 votes.
McCrory lost his re-election bid even as Donald Trump and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) both won in the state. He was likely weighed down by the state’s new anti-LGBT law, HB2, which keeps local governments from passing anti-discrimination measures to protect LGBT people. The law is known most for preventing transgender individuals from using the public restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
The legislation was rushed through the state legislature in a special session, and McCrory saw intense backlash when he signed the measure into law. PayPal nixed plans to expand in the state and the NBA pulled the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, citing the anti-LGBT law.
McCrory, first elected as governor in 2012 after serving as the mayor of Charlotte, cracked down on voting rights in the state, signing a 2013 law requiring voters to provide a voter ID at the polls, among other restrictions. The law was struck down by a federal appeals court this year ahead of the 2016 election.
The conservative agenda pushed by McCrory and the Republican-led legislature, prompted Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, to lead Moral Monday protests at the state capitol.
Watch McCrory’s video message: