Late yesterday, the state Board of Elections completed the recount of votes cast in the Supreme Court race between sitting Justice Cheri Beasley and her challenger, Winston-Salem attorney Mike Robinson, with Beasley coming out ahead by more than 5,400 votes.
When Robinson initially requested the recount, the tally showed Beasley ahead by 5,427 votes. Final recount totals gave Beasley a 5,410 vote margin.
The Beasley win moves the balance on the court a little more to the center, with four Republicans (Chief Justice Mark Martin and Justices Robert Edmunds Jr., Paul Newby and Barbara Jackson) and three Democrats (Justices Robin Hudson, Beasley and Sam Ervin IV).
Justice Beasley had the incumbent advantage after having been appointed to the court in late 2012 by outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue, but Robinson had the backing of well-heeled conservative donors pushing for Republican dominance on the court. He also got a last-minute boost from the Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee, which threw in $400,ooo in October to blitz the “I Like Mike” jingle on television during the last week of the campaign.
According to state Board of Elections public information officer Josh Lawson, state law gives Robinson the option of demanding a second recount in a sample of precincts, which would be conducted by the hand-to-eye recount method. He has 24 hours from the completion of the first recount to ask for that, making his deadline today at 7:48 p.m.
UPDATE: Per NPR’s Jorge Valencia, Robinson has conceded the race to Justice Beasley. See below:
And as now confirmed by the SBOE, per below, Beasley has won the race.
Click here to see the final recount numbers.