Raleigh, N.C. — Democrat Linda Coleman said Monday that she won't seek a recount in the lieutenant governor's race, conceding victory to Republican Dan Forest.
According to unofficial totals from the State Board of Elections, Forest finished 6,858 votes ahead of Coleman after counties submitted their certified results on Friday. The state board will meet next week to certify all results statewide.
Although Coleman was close enough to ask for a recount – the difference between the two was less than 0.2 percent out of more than 4.3 million votes cast – she said she didn't think that the effort would change the result.
"The days since Election Day have been strenuous for all involved in this endeavor," she said in a news conference. "Our post-election effort has, so far, shined a bright light on the flaws of our provisional ballot counting process. Together, we helped get at least several hundred additional ballots counted, and while we contend that there remain at least 3,000 ballots that should be counted, we face the reality that an extended legal battle would not alter the outcome of this race."
Forest said he felt "a huge relief" that the race was finally over and that he could now move on to thinking about his transition to office.
"I think we're going to see a level of cooperation we haven't seen in some time," he said, noting that he wants to work as a team with Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory and a GOP-dominated legislature.
Still, he said, he wants to build bipartisan support for legislation moving through the General Assembly. To that end, he plans to meet with all 50 senators before taking office – and becoming Senate president – in January.
Job growth and improving public schools will be his priorities in office, he said.
Forest said he wasn't surprised that Coleman decided to skip the recount, saying it would have only "delayed the inevitable" result of his victory.
"History proves out it's very difficult to win in a recount. It's never happened before in a statewide race, especially with a margin our size," he said.
Coleman wished Forest well in trying to address North Carolina's problems.
"North Carolina will face many challenges in the next few years. We need the governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect to meet these challenges with dignity and loyalty to the people of North Carolina," she said. "A favorite adage of this campaign has been results, not rhetoric. We need results for our struggling middle class, resources for our renowned education system and innovation for a vibrant North Carolina economy."