Raleigh, N.C. — Democrats ratcheted up pressure on Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday to concede the gubernatorial race to Roy Cooper.
As counties continue to tally provisional ballots, Cooper's lead has grown from fewer than 5,000 on Election Night to more than 6,600 by Monday evening. But McCrory's campaign and other Republicans have filed a slew of challenges to vote totals in more than half of North Carolina's 100 counties, alleging voting by dead people, active felons and people casting ballots in two states.
The protests so far have largely been dismissed by Republican-controlled county elections boards as either factually incorrect or unproven. The State Board of Elections plans to meet Tuesday to decide how to instruct counties to handle ballots that have been shown to be ineligible.
Democrats say that, even if the challenges were all upheld, it still wouldn't change the outcome of the election, so McCrory should admit defeat.
"It’s disrespectful to all North Carolina voters for Gov. McCrory to continue to not just refuse to accept this election but to actively protest it," Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price said. "You can’t just respect the electoral process when it favors your side."
Democratic 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield noted that most of the counties where Republicans have filed challenges have large populations of black voters. He called such efforts "baseless" and "a fishing expedition."
"For him to continue to refuse to concede this election is shameful," Butterfield said of McCrory. "There is no evidence whatsoever, not a scintilla of evidence there’s system-wide fraud in this election in North Carolina. (Republican presidential candidate) Donald Trump won North Carolina. Some of our (Democratic) Council of State members who’ve been around for many years lost the election. There’s no evidence of voter fraud."
The McCrory campaign countered by accusing Cooper of trying to short-circuit the electoral process to allow ineligible votes to stand.
"It may be because he needs those fraudulent votes to count in order to win," McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said in a statement. "Instead of insulting North Carolina voters, we intend to let the process work as it should to ensure that every legal vote is counted properly."
Meanwhile, Cooper is proceeding as if he will be inaugurated in January, naming the leaders of his transition team on Monday and launching a website for people to apply for positions in his administration.