Staff and wire report
RALEIGH — Residents of Congressional District 7 will have to wait until late today to find out if Democrat incumbent Mike McIntyre will remain seated for a ninth term, according to Gary Bartlett, state Board of Elections director. But early returns from the recount indicated that the Lumberton native will be re-elected.
“It will be late today because Duplin County began just a few minutes ago,” Bartlett said at about 9 a.m.
Republican challenger David Rouzer requested a recount after provisional and absentee ballots left trailing McIntyre by 655 votes out of 336,000 cast — within the 1 percent threshold that allows such a request.
According to the recount schedule on the state Board of Elections website, Duplin County, which has 19 precincts in District 7, is the last to recount ballots. Six counties, including Robeson, began recounts on Monday — Robeson and Johnston counties both carried their recount over into Tuesday.
The recount in Robeson County showed no significant changes, according to Dock Locklear, the county’s Board of Elections director. McIntyre lost six votes, going from 2,571 to 2,565, and Rouzer gained one vote, bringing him to a total of 1,044.
McIntyre secured Robeson County with a majority vote of a little more than 71 percent — winning by at least 100 votes in the five county precincts that lie in his district and by 629 during early voting. He declared victory on Election Day with a lead of 411 votes, and again after provisional and absentee ballots were tabulated.
The State Board of Elections reported late Tuesday that so far in the recount, McIntyre’s lead had grown by five to 660 votes.
In another race still too close to call, state Sen. Stan White has called for a hand-to-eye recount in his re-election race after Republican challenger Bill Cook’s narrow lead shrank during a machine recount this week to 21 votes out of more than 87,000 cast.
“Too many people have invested too much time and too much money for me to throw up my hands,” White said in a statement following Cook’s call for White to concede.
Bartlett said the board would meet by phone this week to determine whether to require a hand-to-eye recount in a small sample of precincts in the Senate district or in the entire district.
Performing a sample hand-to-eye recount is designed to project mathematically whether the winner could flip if all the votes were recounted by hand. Bartlett said the Senate race is so close a complete recount may be preferable. Bartlett said county election officials also would have to review about 20 provisional ballots in the 1st Senate District that may not have been legally cast because there’s conflicting information over where they live.
Republicans will hold 32 of the Senate’s 50 seats come January. A Cook victory would make it 33.
White’s request came on the same day that the state elections board met in person in Raleigh to certify the winners in other federal and state races that don’t require recounts. Certified winners in North Carolina included Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who edged President Barack Obama in the state by about 2 percentage points, and Republican Pat McCrory, who defeated Democrat Walter Dalton for governor by 11 percentage points.