If the governor’s race is unresolved by the time a governor is due to take office Jan. 1, it’s not exactly clear what would happen, according to Bob Joyce of the UNC School of Government.
Would it be Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest or the sitting governor, Pat McCrory?
The state constitution says the lieutenant governor-elect “shall become Governor upon the failure of the Governor-elect to qualify.” That would be the case if the N.C. State Board of Elections fails to issue a certificate of election to McCrory or to Democrat Roy Cooper.
But Joyce said a general principle of election law is that the current office holder – in this case McCrory – would hold over until the situation is resolved.
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“That’s the normal thing,” Joyce said.
So, assuming the election remains unresolved, it’s unclear whether the incumbent governor could hold over or the lieutenant governor would take office.