Dome: Rouzer must make recount decision by noon today

From staff reportsNovember 19, 2012 

David Rouzer

The recount threat continues to hang over U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre.

After the counting of provisional ballots, the 7th District Democratic congressman from Lumberton held a 655-vote lead over Republican state Sen. David Rouzer of Johnston County. The results are close enough for a recount, but Rouzer has not made such a request yet. A spokeswoman for Rouzer said it would be Tuesday before any announcement would be forthcoming. Under state election law, he has until noon Tuesday to ask for a recount.

In North Carolina’s recent past, recounts have not changed the outcome of an election – a fact that might have played into Democrat Linda Coleman’s decision not to ask for a recount in the race for lieutenant governor.

In claiming victory on Friday after county boards of elections had finished counting provisional votes, McIntyre’s campaign did not mention the word recount. It did say that he would be advancing to the No. 2 position on the House Agricultural Committee and the No. 3 position on the Armed Services Committee. Throughout the election, McIntyre, who has served eight terms, campaigned on experience and his high ranking on the agriculture committee.

McIntyre is one of about 15 “Blue Dog” conservative Democrats left in Congress, according to The Hill.

Cook claims 32-vote victory

Republican Bill Cook is claiming victory over Democrat Stan White in the race to represent state Senate District 1.

White had a narrow lead after unofficial results were released on Nov. 6, but after county election boards counted provisional ballots on Friday, Cook edged ahead by 32 votes.

That was enough for him to take a victory lap and call for an end to the race.

“The voters have spoken, and every vote has been counted,” Cook said. “I call on my opponent to concede the race and save the cash-strapped counties the expense of a cumbersome recount. It serves no purpose to keep the voters in limbo about their new representation in the Senate.”

White is well within the margin required for a candidate to request a recount, and he may do so yet.

Mecklenburg a darker blue

Mecklenburg County has increasingly favored Democrats over the past several election cycles, and Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia recently pointed out that the county was one of many of the nation’s largest to turn increasingly blue in recent history.

In 2012, 60.8 percent of voters in Mecklenburg went for Barack Obama compared to 38.3 percent for Mitt Romney.

In 2000, George W. Bush carried Mecklenburg with 51 percent of the vote compared to Al Gore’s 48.2 percent. George H.W. Bush won Mecklenburg over Michael Dukakis in 1988, 59.4 percent to 40.2 percent.

According to Sabato, the shift in Mecklenburg and elsewhere reveals that success for Democrats now largely hinges on success in large cities.

Obama’s failures in rural Appalachia are worth noting, but even more so are Romney’s setbacks in the nation’s 50 most-populous counties.

“Romney won only six of the nation’s 50 largest counties (as measured by the Census Bureau).

“This was a significant drop-off from the last two winning Republican presidents, George W. Bush in 2004 – who won 16 of these 50 counties in 2004 – and George H.W. Bush in 1988 – who won a majority of these counties, 29-21, in his victory over Michael Dukakis.”

Sabato notes that Appalachia has meanwhile gone the way of Republicans:

“To see the change in the Democratic coalition over the years, first look at Appalachia.

The mountainous region stretching from New York in the north all the way to Mississippi in the South was at one time a decent source of votes for Democratic presidential candidates.

“Southern Democrats Jimmy Carter (in 1976) and Bill Clinton (in 1992 and 1996) – the last two Democratic presidents before Obama – did reasonably well in the region in their victories: Carter won more than two-thirds of the 428 Appalachian counties in 1976, and Clinton won close to half.

“In this election, the region was unkind to Obama; he won only 7 percent of Appalachian counties in his successful re-election bid last week.

“In fact, Obama lost every county in West Virginia, the only state wholly contained in Appalachia.”

Staff writers Mary Cornatzer and Austin Baird

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