Tuesday’s recount gave Democrat Rachel Hunt a win over GOP Rep. Bill Brawley, ending North Carolina’s last contested legislative race and sending one of the state’s most influential lawmakers to defeat.
Hunt had declared victory last week after a count of provisional ballots extended her narrow lead over Brawley in House District 103. Tuesday’s recount gave her a 68-vote win.
“I remain humbled and honored to have been elected to represent the families of House District 103,” Hunt said in a statement. “I look forward to being their voice in the Legislature and fighting to reinvest in our public schools, raise teacher pay, and make healthcare more affordable and accessible.”
Brawley asked for a recount last Thursday.
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“Our communities and state face many critical issues that require political courage and honest leadership to address,” Brawley said in a statement Tuesday night. “I will remain a steadfast voice in the broader conversation on these issues and remain committed to assisting our community.”
Brawley led by 52 votes on election night, but Hunt jumped to the lead when absentee ballots were counted last week. Her lead widened by six votes after election officials counted provisional ballots and overseas absentee ballots.
Brawley, who chairs the influential House Finance Committee, was the county’s fifth Republican lawmaker to fall in this year’s election. His loss leaves GOP Sen. Dan Bishop as the only Republican in the county’s 17-member legislative delegation.
It also helps Democrats narrow the gap in the House even further. Republicans will hold 65 seats to Democrats’ 55.
Hunt, a first-time candidate, is the daughter of four-term Gov. Jim Hunt.
The race was one of North Carolina’s most expensive legislative contests. Hunt raised over $1.2 million and got about $900,000 in support from the state Democratic Party. Brawley raised over $410,000.
Hunt’s father, Jim Hunt, gave the party $325,000 this year, according to reports filed with the state board of elections. The state party spent over $16 million on elections.