COOPER WILL CONTINUE AS GOVERNOR AFTER THRASHING DAN FOREST: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has been reelected to a second term, the Associated Press reports, defeating Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. With more than 99% of precincts reporting, Cooper led with 51% of the vote compared to Forest’s 47% of the vote. Cooper had 2.8 million votes to Forest’s 2.5 million votes, according to unofficial results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. In his acceptance speech Tuesday night, Cooper talked about how North Carolinians are resilient, inclusive, creative and “do not give up easily.” Cooper took the stage shortly before 11 p.m. at the Democratic Party headquarters, appearing with his wife and three daughters. “North Carolinians made their voices heard tonight,” Cooper said. He said it was important for all the votes to be counted. “I know there are a lot of important races that are still too close to call. We must let the process work, to be sure that all the legal votes are counted,” he said.
GOP MAINTAINS CONTROL OF BOTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY BODIES: Republicans maintained their majorities in the state House and Senate following Tuesday's elections, although they failed to restore the veto-proof majorities they held for most of the last decade. Democrats needed to flip six House seats and five Senate seats to gain control of either chamber but failed on both counts. The Senate remains 29-21 in favor of Republicans, while Democrats actually lost three House seats and now face a 68-52 deficit in the chamber. The GOP legislature and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper have been at such an impasse in recent years over issues such as Medicaid expansion and business tax cuts that state has gone without a budget for two years. "I hope over the next two years we see a departure from the divisive partisan lawsuits that have hamstrung attempts at good-faith negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the legislature and the executive branch," Berger, R-Rockingham, said. Rep. Christy Clark, D-Mecklenburg, appears to have lost her bid for re-election to Republican Johnny Ray Bradford, 48-52 percent. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Haywood, also lost his bid for re-election to Republican Mike Clampitt, a former state lawmaker, 46-54 percent.
TILLIS HOLDS SLIGHT LEAD OVER CUNNINGHAM, RACE HAS NOT BEEN CALLED YET: North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who trailed in the polls throughout the campaign, was leading Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, giving Republicans a boost in their hopes of retaining control of the U.S. Senate. Tillis declared victory Tuesday night at his results watch party in Mooresville. Cunningham has not conceded the race nor has The Associated Press called it. With more than 5.48 million votes counted, Tillis had 48% of the vote and Cunningham had less than 47% of the vote. Libertarian Party candidate Shannon Bray was at about 3% and Constitution Party candidate Kevin Hayes was at 1%. Tillis, 60, trailed when the results started to come in, but slowly and steadily gained ground on Cunningham before finally overtaking him. Cunningham had a large edge in absentee by-mail ballots, but Tillis led in early in-person voting and in Election Day voting.
BIDEN AND TRUMP LOCKED IN DEAD HEAT, ENTIRE WORLD ON EDGE: With millions of votes still being counted, the outcome of the race between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden remained in flux, with the possibility that the winner would not be known for days. Early Wednesday, Trump falsely asserted election fraud, pledged to mount a legal challenge to official state results and made a premature claim of victory. Biden insisted that “we believe we’re on track to win this election” and pleaded for patience, citing several key states where votes were still being counted. Results for the contest in Michigan between Trump and Biden remained too close to call Wednesday morning with Trump holding a statewide lead but with Detroit, a Biden stronghold, only having counted about half of its ballots and votes outstanding in other large jurisdictions. Partial returns out of heavily Democratic Detroit showed Biden outpolling Trump more than 18 to 1. In 2016, Trump won Michigan by a margin of 0.2 percentage points, adding 16 electoral college votes to his total. Elections officials in Nevada, where Biden held a narrow lead over Trump, announced they would suspend updates of election results until Thursday. In a pair of tweets, the elections division of the Nevada secretary of state said it had counted all in-person early votes, in-person Election Day votes and mail-in ballots received by Monday. The big takeaway is this: If Biden can carry Arizona and Nevada, both of which he’s favored in, the race would come down to five states. Those five states would be Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If Biden carries two of the five, he very likely wins the presidency. For Trump to win, he’d very likely need to carry four.
TRUMP RAGES ABOUT VOTE COUNTING, THREATENS TO GO TO SUPREME COURT: The president’s statement, delivered in the White House, amounted to a reckless attack on the democratic process during a time of deep anxiety and division in the country. Mr. Biden, speaking from a flag-draped stage in Wilmington, Del., appealed for calm and tried to reassure supporters rattled by a vote that was much closer than the pollsters or political analysts had predicted. “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who has won this election,” Mr. Biden said, to a chorus of honking car horns at a drive-in rally. “That’s the decision of the American people.” Mr. Trump, however, derided the vote-counting as “a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner,” he said. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.” Vote counting continued into the morning from Pennsylvania to Nevada, as election officials labored to process a flood of mail-in ballots and huge numbers of in-person votes in an election that was sure to shatter records. Arizona’s strategic importance was clear when Mr. Trump’s campaign expressed fury after Fox News called it for Mr. Biden while many votes were still out. Yet the president appeared determined to cut off counting in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where Mr. Biden expressed hope that he would close the gap. “They are trying to STEAL the election,” Mr. Trump declared on Twitter shortly after Mr. Biden had spoken. Twitter immediately marked it as content that was “disputed and might be misleading.”