Cooper, Forest set up November showdown for North Carolina governor

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Cooper, Forest set up November showdown for North Carolina governor
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Cooper, Forest set up November showdown for North Carolina governor

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Gov. Roy Cooper and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest were projected to easily win their respective primaries, setting up the expected gubernatorial showdown in November.

In the Democratic primary, Cooper faced Ernest Reeves, who has run unsuccessfully for several elected positions.

Want to check the results? All of the local election results can be found here.

WATCH: Roy Cooper addresses supporters after primary victory

"North Carolina Democrats are proud to once again support Governor Roy Cooper, a fighter for North Carolina families who is committed to moving our state forward," said North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin. "Since 2016, Governor Cooper has fought for a better educated, healthier, and more prosperous North Carolina where people can have more money in their pockets and opportunities to live with purpose and abundance.

"He has prioritized raising teacher pay, expanding Medicaid, and strengthening our local economies over corporate tax cuts," Goodwin added. "He's offered the strong leadership and vision North Carolina deserves, and we will do everything we can to return him to the Governor's mansion this fall."

WATCH: Dan Forest addresses supporters after primary victory

Forest had the fundraising and organizational advantages over state Rep. Holly Grange in the Republican primary. While Forest won statewide elections for lieutenant governor in 2012 and 2016, Grange questioned his electability in November against Cooper, who had a whopping $9.5 million in his campaign coffers a few weeks ago. Forest had $750,000.

Forest, a favorite of social conservatives who strongly supported the state's 2016 divisive "bathroom bill," has used his position to promote broadband access and financial literacy for K-12 students among other policies. Grange said Forest was divisive.

"Though tonight's election didn't go as I had hoped, I find myself with a sense of optimism for the future of North Carolina," Grange said in a statement. "We ran a campaign rooted in transparent leadership, selflessness, honesty and a better future for North Carolina families. I certainly wish we could have communicated that message to more North Carolina voters, but I saw those ideals embraced by the thousands of people I met with in every corner of our incredible state."

Grange said her focus will turn to re-electing President Donald Trump and defeating Cooper.

All but two of North Carolina's nearly 2,700 polling places closed at 7:30 p.m. State election officials allowed only one site in Bertie County to extend its closing time by 30 minutes due to a printer installation issue, while another in Forsyth County stayed open 40 minutes longer because election workers briefly ran out of a version of a Democratic ballot.

Unaffiliated voters, who make up one-third of the state's electorate, are the primary wild cards, since they can participate in the Democratic or Republican primaries. About 778,000 people cast ballots during the early in-person voting period that ended Saturday. Overall primary voting could reach three times that number if it follows previous presidential years.