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Political notebook: Cooper’s lead continues growing in gubernatorial race

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Democrat Roy Cooper’s lead continues to grow as post-election posturing continues in North Carolina’s gubernatorial race.

Nearly three weeks after the election, Cooper now leads Republican Gov. Pat McCrory by 7,716 votes, according to the State Board of Elections’ Friday totals. Preliminary results from election night showed Cooper led by 3,700 votes.

Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, only 19 haven’t certified election results. More provisional ballots could come in once results are certified. Some of the remaining counties include: Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake. All of those six voted for Cooper.

So far, Cooper has received 2.3 million votes and McCrory has received 2.29 million votes.

By Comparison, President-elect Donald Trump has received about 2.36 million votes and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has received 2.18 million votes.

At about 2.39 million votes, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has an even larger margin of victory than Trump.

The differences in vote totals could mean that some voters picked Trump in the presidential race, Burr in the U.S. Senate race and Cooper in the gubernatorial race.

Unless the margin between Cooper and McCrory tops 10,000 votes, the gubernatorial race will go into a statewide recount, which McCrory requested on Tuesday. McCrory has also challenged a litany of ballots across the state. Many of those challenges have been thrown out.

Post-election poll finds split about future

In a poll released this week by High Point University, the college found a plurality of North Carolinians are happy Trump won the presidential election.

The poll found 44 percent of North Carolina residents are happy about Trump’s election, 38 percent are unhappy and 18 percent did not offer an opinion. Optimism about Trump’s plans showed an even larger margin. The High Point University poll found 62 percent of respondents think Trump will succeed in getting his programs passed into law.

By comparison, 49 percent of North Carolinians who voted picked Trump and 46 percent picked Clinton.

The poll surveyed 481 adults in North Carolina. Of those surveyed 417 people said they voted. The largest portion of respondents said they are Republicans.

Other Trump-related findings in the poll include:

• More people said Republican leaders instead of Trump should take the lead in solving the nation’s problems.

In the poll, 40 percent of respondents said Republican leaders and Trump should work together to solve the nation’s problems, 35 percent of people picked only Republican leaders and 20 percent said only Trump.

• 44 percent of respondents are happy Trump is present, 38 percent are unhappy and 18 percent didn’t provide an answer

Overtime ruling sees support from Hudson

A federal judge this week in Texas stopped an overtime rule from taking effect and one of Rowan County’s congressmen cheered it as a win for workers.

A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against a labor department rule that would make all workers earning between $23,660 and $47,476 eligible for overtime pay. The injunction halts the overtime rule from taken effect until a final decision is made.

In an emailed statement, Hudson said he was pleased to see the injunction halt “the administration’s harmful overtime rule.”

“This one-size-fits-all rule would force many workers to shift from salaried to hourly, reduce employees’ wages and hours, and raise prices on consumers,” Hudson said. “I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to put an end to this rule once and for all.”

Hudson’s statement noted that in September he voted for a measure to postpone the overtime rule until June 1 instead of Dec. 1.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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