It’s been more than two weeks since the election and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is not conceding. Instead, the Republican governor has formally requested a statewide recount amid concerns of widespread voter fraud.
McCrory is currently behind his Democratic challenger, the state’s attorney general Roy Cooper, by 6,222 votes as of Tuesday.
“With many outstanding votes yet to be counted for the first time, legal challenges, ballot protests and voter fraud allegations, we must keep open the ability to allow the established recount process to ensure every legal vote is counted properly," said Russell Peck, McCrory's campaign manager.
The press release added that the formal recount will not occur until county boards of election finish tallying the results — a process that has been slowed due to factors including Republican-led challenges.
Critics see McCrory's effort as a stall tactic, one intended to undermine the results of the election and potentially cause the state's Republican-controlled General Assembly to step in and settle the race in McCrory's favor.
Such an outcome is possible under a North Carolina statute covering "contested elections for Council of State offices." But some political scientists and election experts say it's unlikely.
Pollsters in the state note that while the race is certainly close, it’s not close enough to warrant a recount. Close, Tom Jenson, director of Public Policy Polling, told NBC was Minnesota’s 2008 Senate race, where Democrat Al Franken won by 312 votes. Even closer, he added, was the 2004 gubernatorial race in Washington where Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire came out ahead by only 129 votes.
“This is nothing but a last-ditch effort from Governor McCrory to delay and deny the results of this election,” Cooper’s campaign manager Trey Nix said in a statement. “Roy Cooper leads by 8,569 votes—a number that is growing daily as counties finalize election results. We are confident that a recount will do nothing to change the fact that Roy Cooper has won this election.”