Despite North Carolina primarily going red on Tuesday night, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper jumped out to an early lead over Republican Dan Forest in the governor’s race and never relinquished it Tuesday, winning election to a second four-year term to lead North Carolina.
“I’m grateful and humbled to the people who trusted me to continue the progress that we’ve already made,” Cooper said in his victory speech. “In order to move on in the coming weeks, we have a hard job ahead, and we have to get on with it,” he continued. “We have to work harder than ever to understand each other’s perspective, to strive to respect each other, even though our political beliefs may be different. Then we need to come together as a state and realize North Carolina’s boundless potential.”
Cooper held a 51-47 percent lead over Forest, according to unofficial results Wednesday morning.
Libertarian Steven DiFiore and Constitution Party candidate Al Pisano have slightly more than 1 percent of the total votes combined.
Despite being critical of Cooper for most of the campaign, Forest’s concession speech encouraged togetherness.
“We will be praying for the governor, his family and his leadership as we move forward,” he said. “It’s a time for healing for the state of North Carolina. It’s a time to pull people together. It’s a time to get beyond political differences and ideological differences and sometimes even philosophical differences that separate us and join together as the good people of North Carolina.”
In 2016, North Carolina quickly went red and affirmatively supported President Donald Trump, however, Roy Cooper was still comfortably elected to his first term as Governor despite being a Democrat.
Political pundits were quick to explain Cooper’s 2020 victory by attributing it to the way he handled the COVID19 Pandemic. Polls have consistently shown the majority of North Carolinians feel the state has been moving at the right pace or even too quickly when it came to reopening businesses and schools and resuming other activities during the pandemic.
Mark Robinson, a political newcomer, bested state Rep. Yvonne Holley, D-Wake, for lieutenant governor, 52-48 percent, making him the first African American to be elected to the post.
He has traveled the state, spreading the message of what he calls, “common-sense conservatism,” spending a lot of time in the Western Counties.
The N.C. State Board of Elections (NCSBE) will continue to accept absentee ballots through Nov. 12. Due to the extended deadline for those ballots, results reported on election night may change.
*Editor’s Note: This is part of our ongoing Election 2020 result series covering everything from winners of races to the role and functions of the Electoral College.