Statewide Recount In NC Supreme Court Race Begins This Week

The race between Cheri Beasley and Paul Newby for the seat of North Carolina's chief justice is headed to a statewide recount.
Credit Courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Elections officials will recount votes in the race for North Carolina's Supreme Court chief justice. The statewide recount will begin later this week and must be completed by next Wednesday.

Democrat Cheri Beasley requested the recount in a letter to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday. Beasley trails Republican Paul Newby by fewer than 400 votes out of nearly 5.4 million cast in the race for the state’s highest court.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper elevated Beasley, an associate justice, to chief justice in early 2019. Newby is the senior associate justice, joining the court in 2005.

With the margin in the chief justice race under 10,000 votes, state law gives the trailing candidate an opportunity to request a statewide recount, in which paper ballots will be again run through tabulator machines. There are situations where a manual, hand-to-eye recount is possible if the machine recount generates significantly different results.

Meanwhile, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein declared victory Tuesday for a second four-year term after the canvassed totals showed him leading by 13,650 votes over Republican Jim O’Neill. The margin is outside the threshold for O’Neill to request a recount.

“Protecting all the people of North Carolina — whether from crime, consumer fraud, addiction, pollution or discrimination — has been a privilege,” Stein tweeted. “I am eager to get to work for another term as your attorney general to make North Carolina even safer and stronger.”

O’Neill’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.