Cooper team touts growing lead as McCrory challenges rejected

Gov. Pat McCrory continued to fall further behind Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper in the ongoing gubernatorial race Friday as county elections boards across the state rejected McCrory’s various election protests.

“Every single one of these boards is controlled by Republicans,” said Cooper attorney Marc Elias in a phone press conference Friday afternoon.

That’s important to note, Elias said, because in accusing more than half the state’s election boards of missing voter irregularities and fraud the Republican governor is smearing his own party’s appointees.

McCrory refused to concede the election to his Democratic challenger last week, saying provisional and absentee ballots still needed to be counted.

By Friday afternoon the state board of elections reported that Cooper’s lead had grown from about 5,000 on election night to about 6,600.

Elias said that the Cooper team is constantly updating that number and believed that by 3 p.m. the lead had actually grown to 7,448.

This week McCrory’s campaign filed protests in more than half of the state’s 100 counties, alleging everything from improper ballots to voter fraud.

The Republican controlled election boards in Durham, Wake, Orange, Forsyth, Warren Mecklenburg and Halifax counties had all rejected most of those protests by Friday afternoon.

Elias called the protests “desperate” and pointless. Even in the unlikely event that all of the roughly 200 ballots the McCrory campaign has questioned turned out to be invalid, Elias said, the governor would still be more than 7,000 votes behind Cooper.

“There is nothing Governor McCrory or his legal team is going to be able to do to undo basic math,” Elias said.

McCrory’s campaign criticized Cooper Friday for coming to conclusions based on incomplete numbers.

“More than eighty counties have postponed their canvas meetings until next week,” said Ricky Diaz, McCrory campaign spokesman, in a statement Friday afternoon. “So let’s be clear: the counting is not complete and there is still no certified outcome.”

“Roy Coope ris making presumptuous statements based on piecemeal results from a handful of Democrat-leaning counties in order to deflect attention away from serious voter fraud concerns that are emerging across the state.”

But Elias reiterated that the boards running elections in the counties that have rejected McCrory’s protests have appointed Republican majorities.

It’s clear the election is over, Elias said,  and Cooper should be inaugurated in January. He dismissed the notion that the election could ultimately be decided by the North Carolina General Assembly.

“They would have to worry about the voters judging them for the theft of an election,” Elias said.

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