Canvass changes Senate race outcome

Published 9:59 am Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Friday’s mandated canvass from the Nov. 6 General Election has flip-flopped the results of the District 1 seat in the North Carolina Senate.

In that race, incumbent Stan White, a Dare County Democrat, saw his narrow 388-vote lead turn into a razor thin 32-vote deficit as Republican challenger Bill Cook now holds a 43,743 to 43,711 lead.

Armed with his newfound lead, Cook called for White to concede.

“The voters have spoken and every vote has been counted.  I call on my opponent to concede the race and save the cash-strapped counties the expense of a cumbersome recount,” Cook said in a press release issued Monday. “It serves no purpose to keep the voters in limbo about their new representation in the Senate.”

Cook, of Beaufort County, was also wary about possible recount irregularities.

“The recount process has occasionally been problematic in the east under the Democratic administration — examples would include Beaufort County in 1998 and Wayne County in 2002.  NCGOP has assured me they will be here in force for a recount and ready to take any legal action to prevent this election result from being manipulated improperly,” Cook said.

According to the state’s General Statutes, White is granted the right to ask for a full recount of all polling places within District 1 as he trails by less than one percent of the overall vote. District 1 includes Gates County as well as Beaufort, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.

Following the letter of that law, White had until 5 p.m. on Monday (Nov. 19) to file a request to the North Carolina Board of Elections asking for a recount. Apparently, that request has been forwarded to Raleigh.

In an e-mail sent to supporters, White’s campaign manager Tommy Fulcher said the recount would likely take place at the eight county Board of Elections offices in the district on Monday, Nov. 27. That information was in a story posted on

“We will want to have observers present at each Board of Elections when the recount is done,” said Fulcher in the email. “It is important that our campaign be represented in each county.”

Fulcher added, “We remain confident that the recount will show that Sen. White won this tight race,” Fulcher said.

According to Clytia Gordon, Director of the Gates County Board of Elections, she had yet to be notified by mid-afternoon on Monday regarding a possible recount.

“If Mr. White does file such a notice, I’m thinking it will be Tuesday before the state board notifies, by email, all the boards of elections here in Senate District 1,” Gordon said.

Should White file a request, Gordon said the cost to conduct a recount would be paid by each county.

“Not unless the state offers to pick up the tab,” Gordon said.

White – the former Division 1 representative on the North Carolina Board of Transportation, an area which includes Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties – was seeking election to the Senate seat for the first time. He was appointed to that position on Jan. 25 of last year after long-time State Senator Marc Basnight resigned due to health reasons.

Following the Nov. 6 election, the two candidates wound up with an even split of the eight counties within the Senate District. That breakdown, which now includes the vote totals following last Friday’s canvass, is as follows:

Beaufort County

Cook – 12,891

White – 10,204

Camden County

Cooke – 2,650

White – 1,872

Currituck County

Cook – 6,754

White – 4,086

Dare County

White – 9,185

Cook – 8,332

Gates County

White – 2,958

Cook – 2,281

Hyde County

White – 1,459

Cook – 840

Pasquotank County

White – 10,831

Cook – 6,679

Perquimans County

Cook – 3,316

White – 3,116

Cook has served in the North Carolina House of Representatives (District 6) for the past two years.

Also on Monday, Linda Coleman, the democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, conceded the race to her opponent, Dan Forest.

Coleman trailed by over 10,000 votes in this closely contested statewide race. However, that margin was trimmed to 6,858 votes (2,187,728 for Forest compared top 2,180,870 for Coleman) following Friday’s canvass.

“The days since Election Day have been strenuous for all involved in this endeavor,” said Coleman in a press statement made shortly before 12 noon on Monday. “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.”

Coleman said she contacted Forest on Monday morning and conceded the race.

“(I) congratulated him on becoming the next Lt. Governor of North Carolina.  It was a hard-fought, spirited campaign and we have stark differences.  But, in the end, in a tight race, North Carolinians have chosen Mr. Forest to serve.  I pray that God guides him and his family on this journey.  The trust of this office is now in his hands.  I hope and believe that he will honor that trust with tempered judgment and a servant’s heart.”

Despite losing at the statewide level, Coleman was the popular choice here in the Roanoke-Chowan area where she carried each of the four counties as follows (numbers reflect Friday’s canvass results):

Bertie County

Coleman – 6,927

Forest – 2,824

Gates County

Coleman – 3,070

Forest – 2,178

Hertford County – 8,036

Forest – 2,579

Northampton County

Coleman – 7,507

Forest – 3,004

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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