Under the Dome

Linda Coleman concedes; Dan Forest next lieutenant governor

Democrat Linda Coleman has conceded the race for lieutenant governor to Republican Dan Forest.

With provisional votes in Coleman trailed Republican Dan Forest by 6,858 votes, according to unofficial totals from State Board of Elections. That put her within the range needed to request a recount but Coleman decided the numbers didn’t work in her favor. The state board will certify all elections results on Nov. 27.

“It was a hard-fought, spirited campaign and we have stark differences,” Coleman said, making the announcement Monday morning at Democrat headquarters in Raleigh. “North Carolinians have chosen (Forest) ... I know that many are disappointed with the outcome of this election. Do not be.”

Campaign spokesman Micah Beasley said Coleman is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

“It’s safe to say you haven’t seen the last of Linda,” Beasley said.

Dan Forest, who claimed victory on election night, immediately tweeted: “Thanks Linda Coleman for a hard fought race and for years of public service to NC. We will now begin planning transition.

At a press conference of his own on Monday, Forest said he was relieved the race was over and would move on to thinking about his transition into office.

He said he would be meeting today with people who will lead his transition team but did not provide specifics.

The Raleigh architect, whose mother is U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick of Charlotte, will take office along with Republican governor Pat McCrory in January. He is only the second Republican lieutenant governor to serve with a Republican governor in modern history.

As part of his official duties, Forest will be president of the state Senate.

During his campaign, Forest followed the general Republican talking points of shrinking government and cutting taxes but he also spoke out on issues that other Republicans were not making campaign issues such as gun rights (for them) and immigration. On the latter issue, he said he was interested in looking for ways to discourage illegal immigrants from settling in the state and said he wanted to be the point person on immigration policy.

He also advocates some form of tax credits for parents who home school their children and taxpayer-supported private school scholarships.

On Monday, he said he was going to focus on education reform and on job creation.
Coleman is a former state personnel director and former state House member who had the strong backing of the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

The organization ran ads on her behalf that attempted to paint Forest as an extremist. It also had pledged to support her in any recount efforts.

“If we had it to do over again, we wouldn’t have changed a thing on our side,” said Dana Cope, executive director of SEANC, after Coleman announced she would not seek a recount. “But now that the race is over, I congratulate Dan Forest on his win and pledge to work with him. ... State employees are going to back strongly, regardless of political party, those who value quality public service, who want to help protect the tax payers of North Carolina, who fight for working families. I hope Forest does that.”

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