(This piece is long. For that I apologize. But there was much to the tale that needed be told.)
Although largely ignored by the mainstream press, the race for Governor in NC is still undecided. As you may recall, the race is between incumbent Governor Pat McCrory (R) and incumbent Attorney General (AG) Roy Cooper (D).
On election night, up until about 40 minutes before the election was called for Cooper, McCrory was ahead by some 52,000 votes. But suddenly, Democrat Party stronghold Durham County reported “finding” 90,000 votes, which put Cooper ahead by 3,000 to 5,000 votes out of some 4.6 million cast. NC’s Governor’s Race.
The NC Governor’s election is highly politically symbolic for both the left and right. And the two candidates could hardly be more different.
On the right is Governor McCrory. In his time in office Governor McCrory has: (1) canceled nearly $3 billion in debt to the federal government; (2) built up a hefty government surplus; (3) slashed taxes; and (4) fostered an environment of job growth in North Carolina placing the state among the top nationwide for jobs. Additionally, McCrory also sought to buttress the integrity of the vote by the passage of a voter ID law (overturned on appeal). And after the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance requiring that access to both public and private bathrooms, changing rooms, and other shared facilities be by a person’s subjective gender identity, McCrory acted to protect children by facilitating the passage of H.B.2 which required that use of public facilities be in accordance with birth gender. H.B.2 had no effect on private businesses. CarolinaJournal.
On the left, in sharp contrast to McCrory, is Democrat Pat Cooper. From his position as AG, Cooper has worked hard to undermine Governor McCrory. In particular his AG office refused to undertake an appeal of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturning NC’s voter ID law Politifact, and also refused to defend against all challenges to H.B.2 CarolinaJournal. There is more to know about Cooper. But in short, Cooper has been a persistent and consistent thorn in Governor McCrory’s side, acting to undermine election integrity and expose children to sexual predators. His every action highlights the wrongness of what he believes important. They also betray him as the worst kind of leftist ideologue, placing party and power before principle, duty, and the good of the people of NC.
Because of Governor McCrory’s support for NC’s voter ID law and H.B.2, thus thwarting open voting and so called transgender rights, each darlings of the left, both McCrory personally, and his reelection as Governor were targeted by the left. Leftist activists and money poured into NC in the run up to the election, helping to turn what ought to have been a sure McCrory victory into a nail biter election that is still undecided.
RedState writer and NC resident Susan Wright is tracking the fallout of this election, and succinctly captured the heart of what is at stake in NC:
I had said from the beginning that McCrory is the standard bearer for sound governance in the nation, at this time. If he couldn’t win, there is no place for conservative leadership in the nation. The Nation’s Most Important Governor Vows to Battle On
Conversely, if McCrory loses, then every Republican governorship is in danger, and the hope for future sound conservative governors nationwide is badly damaged if not quashed.
Post election Cooper claimed victory. But in light of Durham County’s 90,000 votes that were “found” late election night, as well as other election day irregularities, McCrory has refused to concede.
Since then McCrory’s campaign, NC election officials, private groups, and the NC State Bureau of Investigation have been dealing with a growing number of credible claims of voter fraud. For instance:
Some, knowing McCrory to be a fighter who will not concede to the left, and foreseeing the possibility of an election outcome where either or both candidates don’t accept the final election result from the NC State Board of Elections, argue the election may end being decided by the NC General Assembly. Rarely Used Provision of State Law Could Determine the Winner of NC’s Governor’s Race.
This could happen because NC’s Constitution provides that the General Assembly decide contested Council of State elections, “in the manner prescribed by law.”
Council of State elections are those for 10 specific elected offices, and include among them governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
The “manner prescribed by law” remained unspecified until March 2005 when the Democrat controlled General Assembly passed, and Democrat Governor signed, a law prescribing how contested elections would be handled. The Last Contested Election in America.
The process to contest an election begins by filing a notice of intent to contest on one of two grounds. In the current contest the second ground controls, namely; “that there was error in the conduct or results of the election.”
Within a statutory time frame, the party opposing the election contest may answer the notice of intent. All parties may also conduct discovery relevant to the election contest. At the end of the statutory time frame, the party contesting the election must decide whether or not to continue the election challenge. If they decide yes, to continue on they must file a petition to be heard before a General Assembly special committee.
The special committee is one appointed by both House and Senate leaders. It is:
[A]uthorized to adopt rules, oversee investigations of fact, conduct hearings, compel the testimony of witnesses, and, if appropriate, order the recounting of ballots. At the conclusion of its efforts, the committee reports its findings regarding the law and the facts and makes recommendations to the General Assembly for action.
Upon receiving the special committee’s report, the General Assembly meets in joint session with the House Speaker presiding, and votes on the election. At this point any ongoing judicial proceedings regarding the election abate.
Each of the 120 representatives and 50 senators has one vote, and a majority of those present is needed to determine an election’s outcome. If “error in the conduct or the results of the election” is alleged, the General Assembly, if possible, determines which candidate
received the most votes and declares that candidate the election winner. If it is not possible to determine who won the vote, the General Assembly may order a new election or other appropriate relief. But whatever the decision of the General Assembly, it is not reviewable in the courts.
The foregoing information on the mechanics of NC contested elections comes from an article by Robert P. Joyce titled The Last Contested Election in America. The article outlines the circumstances giving rise to the current NC law controlling contested elections and its convoluted application to a 2004 election for superintendent of public instruction. Some think that case relevant to the McCrory Cooper matter. HotAir I disagree. While interesting, that case, to my mind, has little bearing on the McCrory Cooper contest.
What is relevant to the McCrory Cooper matter, I believe, is the small vote difference between the candidates – on the order of one tenth of one percent of the total vote. This is such a small difference that I don’t expect a recount to change much. Add to this McCrory’s warrior willingness to battle the left; his credo implicit in the line from Galaxy Quest, “Never give up! Never surrender!” IMDB. Then fold in in the growing evidence of significant vote fraud by Democrats. And what you have, unless AG Cooper is tied to Democrat vote fraud and concedes, is a recipe ensuring that the North Carolina General Assembly will likely determine the outcome of this election. And as that body is held by Republicans, the outrage of Democrats, should Cooper lose, will be deafening. And that would be schadenfreude. Pure schadenfreude.