RALEIGH, N.C. — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will serve a second term after winning the governor’s race against Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in a tight race.
Cooper hopes his reelection can help Democrats take back one or both General Assembly chambers.
Cooper gave a victory speech in Raleigh.
"To the people of North Carolina, thank you so much for electing me as your governor for another four years. Serving in this office has been the honor of my life. I'm grateful and humble to the people who have trusted me to continue the progress we've already made here," Cooper said.
He also talked about the State Board of Elections and the process for making sure all votes are counted.
"For months, the nation has focused on North Carolina and it has come down to counting the votes. 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 all the legal votes are counted. The State Board of Elections has run things with the utmost integrity during a global pandemic and tough races."
The North Carolina State Board of Elections will continue to count absentee ballots until Nov. 12.
Cooper received 51% of the votes compared to Forest who had 47%.
Cooper was first elected as governor in 2017.
Forest released the following statement about the outcome.
"My heart is heavy today, but the sun still rose once again this morning and a new day dawned. I wanted to attempt to say thank you to all who have walked alongside us in prayer and friendship on this journey - far too many to begin to name. Your sacrifices have not gone unnoticed. Your friendships will be treasured. No words can convey our heartfelt thanks. Our family has been honored to serve the people of this great state for the past eight years and now a new journey begins. We appreciate your continued prayers for our family and my team as we open the next chapter. May God bless you all."
WHY THIS RACE IS HOT
Cooper is seeking his second term, after first being elected in 2017, while going up against Forest. Cooper hopes his re-election could help Democrats take back one or both General Assembly chambers.
Cooper supports Medicaid expansion, better teacher pay, issued executive orders prohibiting workplace discrimination, establishing paid parental leave for state employees and launched the Clean Energy Plan. He also created initiatives such as NC Job Ready, Finish Line Grant and Hometown Strong. Find out more about Cooper's initiatives.
Forest has served as the state’s lieutenant governor since 2012. He became the second Republican elected to the office since 1897. In 2016, he became the first to ever be re-elected. He presides over the North Carolina Senate and serves on the State Board of Education and the State Board of Community Colleges.
Forest prioritizes issues such as defending the second amendment, defending life, combating illegal immigration, raising teacher pay, improving healthcare, ending human trafficking, protecting free speech, improving coastal fishing and protecting the elderly in nursing homes. Find out more about the issues.
Cooper and Forest recently faced off in a gubernatorial debate. It was the first and only gubernatorial debate before the election. The hour-long event covered a variety of topics like the state budget, Medicaid, hurricane recovery and more. The main issue to dominate the debate was the coronavirus and how the state should respond.
"We don't need a governor that treats us like 5-year-olds. We need a governor that does protect us but not treat us like we're little kids," Forest said. "Masks aren't the solution to everything."
Cooper responded to the claims that masks aren't effective, saying his choices on the state's response are guided by science.
"While I'm using science and data to help make those decisions, Dan Forest is holding a press conference saying, 'We're going to fill all the classes back up immediately, we're not going to have any masks, no social distancing, and no safety measures,'" Cooper said.
MORE ABOUT COOPER
Cooper also served as the state’s Attorney General for 16 years and also in the North Carolina House and Senate. He earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
MORE ABOUT FOREST
Forest earned his master’s degree in architecture from UNC Charlotte.