Cook wins Senate District 1 seat
By Mike Voss
Nearly a month after Election Day, Beaufort County resident Republican Bill Cook has won the District 1 seat in the state Senate.
After all but one hand-to-eye recount in the eight-county district was completed Monday, Stan White, the incumbent in District 1 and a Democrat from Dare County, conceded the election to Cook, currently representing District 6 in the state House.
Cook is happy the recount process is over.
“I’m grateful for the win. I am very grateful to my helpers, all the people who worked so hard to make this election happen for me,” Cooke said. “I’m eager to start on this adventure, this new session. We’re going to be able to do a lot of really good things for the folks in North Carolina.”
Tommy Fulcher, White’s campaign manager, confirmed Monday evening that White had conceded.
“After (Monday’s) hand-eye recount and the numbers didn’t change — we truly pursued every avenue we had and came up short.”
Fulcher said that Perquimans County had scheduled its recount for Tuesday, but because that county uses electronic touch-screen voting, there are no paper ballots to hand-to-eye count.
“It’s over with. … We just came up short,” Fulcher concluded.
Boards of elections in Beaufort, Hyde, Dare, Currituck, Camden and Gates counties conducted a second recount Monday. Pasquotank County conducted its recount Friday.
With the Perquimans results withstanding, there was only one vote that changed during the hand-to-eye recount. That change came in White’s favor in Camden County.
“He (White) picked up the vote he lost in the first recount,” said Camden County Elections Director Elaine Best on Monday afternoon.
According to James Sears, chairman of the Gates County Board of Elections, there was no change in the vote totals for the NC Senate seat. Like the other seven counties, Sears said all the voting precincts (six; plus the one-stop site) in Gates were placed in a hat and one randomly selected for the hand-to-eye recount.
“The Eure precinct was the one that was chosen by a drew and there was no change in the voter totals there from the numbers we had following the canvass of all our polling places,” Sears stated.
Since the Eure precinct is one of the smallest in Gates County, the recount only took approximately two hours to complete.
If White had not conceded, the completion of the hand-to-eye recount in Perquimans County on Tuesday may not be the end of the recount process. The one-vote change in Camden County could have opened the door for another hand-to-eye recount, according to Kellie Harris Hopkins, elections director in Beaufort County.
“The next step would be a complete county-wide recount,” she said Monday afternoon before White conceded.
That decision would have been made by the N.C. State Board of Elections.
Cook entered the second round of recounts with a 21-vote lead over White, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections’ website.
On election night, unofficial vote totals had White with a lead of about 400 votes. After the Nov. 16 canvass, the lead switched to Cook by 32 votes. That lead narrowed to 21 votes after the Nov. 25 recount.
(Mike Voss is a Staff Writer with the Washington Daily News, a sister publication of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.)