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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wins reelection

By BRYAN ANDERSON Associated Press/Report for America

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper was reelected Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

The mild-mannered governor has often been reluctant to criticize President Donald Trump. He has been generally praised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, some complained he was slow to reopen K-12 public schools and certain parts of the economy. Forest often criticized the shuttering of small businesses, including bars, bowling alleys and gyms.

Cooper had banked on the support of voters who approved of his handling of the coronavirus, while Forest had aimed to appeal to business owners and K-12 public school parents dissatisfied with the state’s slow reopening.

The race attracted attention from outside groups, which spent millions to shape voter attitudes, and was among a few being closely watched nationwide.

Cooper took in more than $17 million between July 1 and Oct. 17, with over $11 million being given by political party committees and $281,000 coming from other political committees, according to the campaign’s latest quarterly report filed with the State Board of Elections.

Forest raised a substantially smaller $4 million during the same July 1 to Oct. 17 period. The campaign filing shows $532,000 came from political party committees and nearly $100,000 from other political committees.

Cooper avoided the physical campaign cycle this election, instead choosing to participate in a small number of virtual gatherings. Supporters of the mild-mannered Democrat believe he’s responsibly prioritized public safety.

“I think Roy Cooper’s doing a great job,” said Ryan Commedo, a Fayetteville resident who took part in early, in-person voting. “He’s handling everything with the coronavirus and giving updates that we don’t get from the president. I think he cares about the people.”

Forest had hosted several large in-person events with little to no mask wearing or physical separation between attendees. The lieutenant governor had called for a more aggressive reopening of businesses and schools and vowed to immediately repeal the statewide mask mandate Cooper enacted in response to rising coronavirus cases.