Gov. Roy Cooper wins reelection against Dan Forest in North Carolina
- Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina won reelection against the Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, according to Insider and Decision Desk HQ.
- Polls in North Carolina closed at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina won reelection against the Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, according to Insider and Decision Desk HQ.
Polls in North Carolina closed at 7:30 p.m. ET.
In North Carolina, votes for governor and lieutenant governor are cast on separate ballots, meaning the winners could be in different parties, as was the case in 2016. Cooper, who previously served as the state's attorney general and a state legislator, ousted the incumbent, Pat McCrory, a Republican, by 0.2 points, or roughly 10,000 votes.
Forest, a former businessman and architect, launched his political career when he was elected in McCrory's term. He won reelection in 2016 by 6.6 points.
Cooper focused his 2020 bid on handling the COVID-19 pandemic and fighting for Medicaid expansion, a so-far unsuccessful battle against the Republican-controlled state Legislature during his tenure.
Forest launched attacks at his opponent's leadership during the public-health crisis and centered his campaign on how he would address the pandemic differently, such as reopening schools in person.
President Donald Trump threw his support behind Forest after attacking Cooper's state orders that limited capacity for public events and prevented the president from hosting the Republican National Convention in Charlotte with large crowds.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2020
Forest also sued Cooper in July in an attempt to block executive orders that closed businesses and limited mass gatherings, arguing that Cooper exceeded his constitutional authorities. A judge rejected the lawsuit in August.
"Dan Forest's lawsuit never had teeth and today's ruling confirms that," a representative for Cooper said. "It was never more than a desperate tactic to garner attention for his political campaign. His time would be better spent putting the health and safety of North Carolinians before his own political motivations."
"I did my part," Forest tweeted after the decision. "If y'all want your freedoms back you'll have to make your voices heard in November."
The 2020 gubernatorial contests are unlike recent election cycles considering the coronavirus pandemic. Eight of the 11 races feature incumbents seeking reelection, including Cooper.
Trump won North Carolina in 2016 by 3.6 points. It was one of eight states that went red nationally but had Democratic governors. If Forest had won, all three of the state's branches of government would have been under GOP control.
Other major elections in the state include the Senate race between Sen. Thom Tillis, the incumbent, and Cal Cunningham, the Democratic challenger, as well as bids for the newly redrawn 6th and 2nd Congressional Districts.
The money race: Cooper significantly outraised Forest, with more than $19 million. Forest's last campaign-finance filing, in July, was his best: He raised $2.4 million, bringing his total to $6.9 million.
What the polls said: The latest polls found Cooper with a large advantage over Forest. The RealClearPolitics average, last updated in May, put Cooper 17 points ahead of Forest.
What the experts said: The race was rated as leans Democratic by Inside Elections and likely Democratic by The Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
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