Republican Buck Newton on Monday conceded his loss in North Carolina’s attorney general race to Josh Stein, keeping the office in Democratic hands.
“I felt it was prudent to have all the votes be counted and have the process of resolving the reports of irregularities be completed before making any statements on the results,” Newton said in a statement.
Newton in his statement said he called Stein on Monday to congratulate him. It was “abundantly clear that Josh Stein received the majority of all the legitimate votes cast in this election,” Newton said. Stein received more than 2.3 million votes, or 50.27 percent, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
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The seat has been held by Roy Cooper, a Democrat who defeated incumbent Pat McCrory for governor, for 16 years. On Monday, McCrory, a Republican, conceded his loss in that race.
North Carolina Republican lawmakers, since coming to power five years ago, have spent more than $10.5 million defending controversial laws, ranging from voter ID to House Bill 2. Republicans have said that amount of spending stems from Cooper either disparaging some laws or choosing not to defend them.
Stein, who is from Raleigh, early in his career served as campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for U.S. Sen. John Edwards. From 2001 to 2008, he worked under Cooper as a senior deputy attorney general handling consumer protection issues. From 2009 to this past March, Stein represented a portion of Wake County as state senator.
Newton, a Republican from Wilson, is in his third term in the North Carolina Senate, where he represents Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties.
In a Twitter post Monday, Stein thanked Newton for “graciously conceding.”