WILMINGTON — State Representative Susi Hamilton called for Governor Pat McCrory to cease his election protests and concede the gubernatorial race to Attorney General Roy Cooper. At a press conference, Hamilton told said McCrory currents trails Cooper by nearly 8,000 votes.
McCrory’s campaign released a statement on Thursday citing election protests filed in half of North Carolina’s 100 counties, as well as “serious voter fraud concerns.” Hamilton said McCrory was responsible for the election protest in New Hanover county, which alleged that two felons voted (read about the local election delays). Hamilton pointed out that there was a considerable difference between felons voting and voter fraud.
“If they were felons on parole, then their votes will be tossed out by the Board of Elections. That’s clearly not the same as fraud,” Hamilton said. “McCrory is suggesting that county government is either incompetent or corrupt, not just in one or two places, but in 52 of the 100 counties of his state.”
Hamilton pointed out that the governor appoints the members of the State Board of Elections, who in turn appoint board members at the county level.
“These are his people, he’s questioning their integrity, thereby I think he’s questioning his own to some extent,” she said. “It’s time for him to concede this race and be as dignified as we know he can be.”
On Sunday night, the North Carolina State Board of Elections held an emergency meeting to consider consolidating the county protests and dealing with them at the state level. Though McCrory’s campaign had pushed for the consolidation, the board declined to intervene, saying it would only hamper the process.
The Board stated that a state-level review would force voters to travel to Raleigh to defend contested ballots, instead of being able to deal with their local government.
Hamilton said that McCrory could not overcome the vote deficit, even if every contested vote ended up going to him. The number of votes in question are fewer than the difference between the two candidates.
Hamilton said she was unsure what McCrory’s endgame was for prolonging the process.
“I think he’s a critical point in his administration and his political life. He’s got to make a call,” she said.
Watch Hamilton’s conference and her responses to press questions below.