North Carolina lives up to its reputation as a true battleground state as major races still hang in the balance of absentee ballots. Once considered a republican stronghold, North Carolina is now a nail-biting tossup.
Brandon Lenoir, assistant professor of political science at High Point University said the change is due to a shift in demographics.
“Quite a few people are moving in from other regions of the country and with that they are bringing their politics and that has made North Carolina a purple state instead of a red state,” said Lenoir.
The presidential race in North Carolina was split 50% to 49% with Donald Trump edging out Joe Biden early Wednesday afternoon.
“Here in North Carolina, we’re in a wait and see position and have to wait for all of the ballots to be counted,” explained Lenoir.
The Tar Heel State has spoken in the race for Governor. Democrat incumbent Roy Copper beat out Republican Challenger and Lt. Governor Dan Forest to win 51% of the vote.
Lenoir says the pandemic shaped the outcome of the race. “Quite a few people felt that the governor did a good job and dealing with the pandemic. His approval rating stayed above 50% and that’s why we saw the democratic gubernatorial candidate elected.”
The battle continues in the U.S. Senate. Incumbent Republican Thom Tillis is running for a 2nd term in a close contest important to determining which party will control the Senate. Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham is vying for his seat and appeared to be a front runner in the election until a public revelation of his extra marital affair surfaced last month.
“Tillis pounded him with ads about that extramarital affair and we saw that the polls started to contract. By the time we got to Election Day they were within the margin of error.”
North Carolina accepts absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by 5 p.m. on November 12, but Lenoir believes the senate race could be called in the next few days.
“To decide whether you call an election, you do a calculation of how many outstanding ballots there are versus how many votes are separating the two candidates. And I suspect the bulk of the absentee ballots that were sent on or just before Election Day will be received within the next few days because most of the people who voted absentee ballot live in the state of North Carolina.”
As the state and country wait for final votes, patients continues to be crucial during a year of uncertainty.