December 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Pat McCrory concedes N.C. governor’s race

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Dec. 5, 2016, conceded to Roy Cooper in the state's gubernatorial race. (Screenshot via NBC)

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Dec. 5, 2016, conceded to Roy Cooper in the state’s gubernatorial race. (Screenshot via NBC)

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday conceded to Attorney General Roy Cooper in the state’s gubernatorial race.

“Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken,” said McCrory in a video message that he released. “We now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.”

McCrory’s concession comes nearly a month after Election Day.

McCrory narrowly lost to Cooper, but the incumbent Republican challenged the election results.

WTVD, a Raleigh television station, reported the North Carolina Board of Elections announced last week that Cooper was ahead of McCrory by more than 10,000 votes. This figure is higher than the threshold that would prompt a mandatory recount.

McCrory earlier this year sparked widespread outrage when he signed House Bill 2, which bans transgender people from using public restrooms based on their gender identity and prohibits local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures.

The Justice Department in May filed a civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina over HB 2.

The National Basketball Association earlier this year announced the 2017 NBA All Star Game that had been scheduled to take place in Charlotte would now occur in New Orleans. The NCAA and other sports leagues also cancelled their championships that had been scheduled to take place in the Tarheel State.

Cooper highlighted his opposition to the controversial law during his campaign.

“Gov. McCrory has continued to put his partisan political ideology ahead of the best interests of our state,” said Cooper during a pre-election rally at Fayetteville State University at which President Obama spoke.

Cooper made a broad reference to HB 2 in an email he sent to supporters after McCrory conceded.

“Together, we can make North Carolina the shining beacon in the south by investing in our schools, supporting working families and building a state that works for everyone,” said Cooper.

Trans North Carolina voters with whom the Blade spoke ahead of the election said HB 2 was their top concern.

“A lot of us are voting according to who’s going to protect LGBT rights and create the LGBT rights that we need,” Finn Williams, 19-year-old trans man from Durham, N.C., told the Blade on Nov. 5 before he and other advocates spoke at a press conference outside the headquarters of the North Carolina Democratic Party in Raleigh.

Candis Cox of Raleigh told the Blade before the press conference — which Trans United for Hillary organized — HB 2 “completely negates my authentic gender.”

Cooper ‘a champion of equality’

LGBT rights advocates in North Carolina and around the country were quick to welcome McCrory’s concession.

“Governor McCrory has finally conceded, and now it is time for the state and people of North Carolina to get on with our business of rebuilding,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, in a press release the Human Rights Campaign issued. “Roy Cooper is a champion of equality and for North Carolina values, and he is the right person to lead our great state moving forward.”

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said in a statement that “the people of North Carolina want a governor and a legislature that focus on making their state better.”

“They saw that Governor McCrory terrorized transgender children and adults, in North Carolina and all over the country, even though it hurt the state, and he has paid the price,” she said.

“NCTE looks forward to working with Governor-elect Roy Cooper, who opposed HB 2 from the start, in the coming years,” added Keisling.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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