By DAN MCCUE
(CN) – North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday conceded the governor’s race to Attorney General Roy Cooper, nearly a month after Election Day.
The race between the Republican governor and his Democratic challenger dragged on for weeks after McCrory demanded a canvassing of the state while provisional and absentee ballots were counted.
In the end, however, the effort only sealed McCrory’s fate has Cooper’s margin of victory climbed from about 5,000 to more than 10,000 votes. A total of 4.7 million votes were cast.
In a video statement, McCrory said “despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken and we should now do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.”
With his concession, McCrory became the first sitting North Carolina governor to lose a re-election bid. Although he won his election to governor four years ago by a substantial margin, this time around he was weighed down by a series of divisive laws he signed, including House Bill 2.
That law limited LGBT rights and directed transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates. It led to companies, sports organizations and entertainers pulling their business from the state, costing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in spending.
In a written statement, Cooper praised McCrory for his public service and said he was proud to have received support from “so many who believe that we can come together to make a North Carolina that works for everyone.”
Cooper has stated he wants House Bill 2 repealed because he said it promotes discrimination. He had said the law and other legislation McCrory signed has harmed North Carolina’s brand as good place to do business and for public education.
“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,” Cooper said.
The state elections board is expected to officially certify the results by Friday.