In one of the best election-related pieces of news for North Carolina Tea Partiers, canvassing has confirmed Republican Dan Forest’s victory over Democrat Linda Coleman. Forest, one of the state’s few major office candidates who ACTUALLY EMBRACED Tea Party activists, saw his 11,000 vote election night lead drop to just below 7,000 in canvassing. But a win IS a win.
The lead shrinkage DOES put the race within the threshold for a recount. The Coleman campaign is making noises about filing a lawsuit or possibly seeking a recount (at taxpayer expense). But the campaign of the apparent lieutenant governor-elect, in a Saturday press release, is calling Coleman’s bluff:
[…]”No statewide race in North Carolina history has been overturned by a recount, especially with a lead of this size. Putting the cards back in the machine and running the numbers again will do nothing to change the outcome of my race,” said Forest. “The only reason to call for a recount now is to make my campaign raise and spend several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees and delay my being sworn into office.”[…]
Here’s hoping that Forest grows eyes in the back of his head upon assuming office. The knives will be out. It’s worth noting the overwhelming amount of indifference shown toward Forest by the NCGOP apparatus and the Pat McCrory campaign before AND after election day. The chattering classes have all started the eye-rolling and the whispering of epithets like “right-wing extremist” and “religious kook.”
Tea Partiers have FINALLY got what they were clamoring for — a principled non-politician grounded firmly in the real world. Here’s hoping that Forest sticks to his guns and doesn’t “grow in office.” Granted, the lieutenant governor has a limited job description. But Forest’s ascendancy to the office gives him a bully pulpit to cheerlead for conservative reforms in state government.
For the first time since Jesse Helms’s retirement, North Carolina conservatives may very well have a leader and fellow traveler in the halls of power.