Pat McCrory releases video, officially concedes gubernatorial race

RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory released a video Monday morning, officially conceding the gubernatorial race against Democrat Roy Cooper.

"Being the 74th governor of North Carolina has been a privilege and an honor. But during this wonderful season, it's also time to celebrate our democratic process and respect what I see to be the ultimate outcome of the closest North Carolina governor's race in modern history," McCrory said in the video.

"Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper."

McCrory said in the video that his administration will assist in every way to help the Cooper's administration make a "smooth transition."

At the time of his concession, the North Carolina State Board of Elections website showed McCrory down in the polls to Cooper by 10,263 votes statewide.

"You know, while exhibiting the highest of ethical standards, I'm proud that our team leaves the state a much better place than when we came into office," McCrory said. "Our initiatives and teacher pay, environmental cleanup, budget surpluses, transportation planning, paying off billions of dollars in debt, healthcare reform, tax reform, creating 300,00 new jobs, and through the connect NC bonds we have made major new investments."

"During my remaining weeks as governor, this team will be focusing on developing  a financial plan to be approved in a special legislative session to help our citizens and communicates impacted by Hurricane Matthew and by the current wildfires in the western region of our state," he continued. "I ask all of us to please pray for our new governor, Roy Cooper, our new president, Donald Trump, and their families."

"Thank you for the honor to serve the great state of North Carolina," he ended.

Now Governor-elect Cooper released a statement Monday, about 30 minutes afternoon McCrory's concession.

Cooper thanked McCrory and his wife, Ann McCrory, for their service to North Carolina and said he looks forward to working with them and their staff in what "I expect will be a smooth transition."

"I'm proud to have received the support from so many who believe that we can come together to make a North Carolina that works for everyone. It will be the honor of my life to serve this great state," he released in a statement. "While this was a divisive election season, I know still that there is more that unites us than divides us."

"Together, we can make North Carolina the shining beacon in the south by investing in our schools, supporting working families and building a state that works for everyone," he continued. "I'd like to thank all of the hardworking families in North Carolina, and I look forward to serving the greatest state in the country as your Governor."

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes issued a statement through the NCGOP thanking McCrory for his service and listing what the party sees as his accomplishments.

"We respect Governor McCrory's decision to begin the transition process today, and we congratulate Governor-Elect Cooper. We wish him nothing but success. While we differ on public policy, we all share the same goal of making North Carolina the best she can be," Hayes said.

"Today we honor the historic public policy accomplishments of Governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina's 74th governor.

Many elected officials tried to reform North Carolina's tax system before Governor McCrory, but none of them were nearly as successful. His tax reform plan provided tax relief to every class of taxpayers, and freed North Carolina from the highest tax rates in the Southeast.

His record on job creation is unmatched, as North Carolina's jobless rate moved from one of the worst in the nation to among the best. The governor's leadership on infrastructure and energy will pay dividends for years to come as our citizens drive to work, heat their homes, educate their children and enjoy our state's beauty from Manteo to Murphy.

Demanding accountability in public education while providing the largest teacher pay raise in the nation, as well as providing unprecedented school choice, are all critical measures in reforming and improving our education system.

Politically, Governor McCrory has been a true friend of the Republican Party and its candidates. His support of President-Elect Donald Trump and our down ballot candidates was critical to their victories."

Hayes said while the Governor's race appears to be settled, the Republican Party is now prepared to represent Chuck Stuber in a statewide recount for auditor.

Not all post-concession statements were positive towards the governor, with Progress NC Action taking aim at his connection with the controversial House Bill 2.

"After wasting plenty of time and taxpayer dollars with frivolous complaints and bogus accusations, we are thankful that the McCrory campaign has finally acknowledged Governor-elect Cooper's victory," said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. "Now it's time to move forward and for the General Assembly to start repairing North Carolina's reputation by repealing HB2, raising teacher pay to the national average, and looking out for people instead of polluters. North Carolina voters supported these priorities when they elected Roy Cooper, and it's time to move North Carolina forward instead of backwards."

HB2 requires individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools and universities, and initially took away the ability of employees to sue their employers in state court for discrimination or wrongful termination, among other things.

Months later, the legislature voted only to change a portion of HB2 that stripped workers of the right to sue their employers for wrongful termination.

The bill was passed in a one-day special session in late March and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory later that night.

It came as a response to a non-discrimination ordinance passed in February by the Charlotte City Council. The ordinance broadly defined how businesses should treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers. The debate, as in other cities, focused on bathrooms.

According to polling commissioned by Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality North Carolina, 57 percent of voters put HB2 as the top reason "not to vote for Pat McCrory" -- exceeding any other issue by 17 points.

The groups say the polling was performed by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

"Pat McCrory's reign of discrimination is finally over. McCrory's stubborn and reckless support of HB2 cost him this election, and his defeat sends a powerful warning to lawmakers across the country that targeting LGBTQ people will not be tolerated," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "We look forward to working with Governor-elect Roy Cooper and fair-minded lawmakers to repeal HB2. It's way past time to repair the harm inflicted on North Carolina's people, reputation and economy."

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro, who was appointed in April to fill the remainder of the term for the District 58 seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives, issued a statement as well.

"Roy Cooper is a champion of equality and for North Carolina values, and he is the right person to lead our great state moving forward. This was a hard-fought election, but the people of North Carolina clearly know that Roy Cooper will be the best leader for our state," Sgro said. "This is a proud day for especially LGBT North Carolinians, who can now celebrate a Governor who cares deeply about our community."

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