New Hanover County Board of Elections canvasses votes, results stand

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Only a few dozen votes separated the top two candidates for a New Hanover County Senate seat.

After Friday’s vote canvass, that lead widened by a couple hundred votes. The votes are in and Harper Peterson has officially won the 9th District Senate race by 231 votes.

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The race between Peterson and incumbent Michael Lee has been tight all along.

After serving as Wilmington Mayor 15 years ago, Harper Peterson will soon represent New Hanover County in Raleigh.

“Now we’ve broken the super majority and we will have a discussion with our counterparts across the aisle. And that’s good for democracy,” said Harper Peterson.

The New Hanover County Board of Elections canvassed the votes for the mid-term elections Friday morning.

Peterson clinched the win for 9th District Senate seat by 231 votes, beating incumbent Senator Michael Lee. A tight race that qualifies for a recount.

“The recount is a process where we physically count every vote that was cast in the election. for all of the paper ballots which were cast, which were the majority in this case, we will use the high speed tabulator,” said Board of Elections Director Rae Hunter-Havens

Hunter-Havens says the big voter turnout played a role in these close races.

“We definitely had a much more significant voter turnout. I think we had approximately 66,000 voters in the 2014 general election. And we had about 88,000 voters in this election,” said Hunter-Havens.

Lee issued a statement saying in part:

“I would like to congratulate Harper Peterson. I would also like to take this moment to express my gratitude to all those who have supported me through the years. Especially to the volunteers and contributors who have worked tirelessly on my behalf in our effort to make New Hanover County and North Carolina a better place. I look forward to working with you in the future. And to my wife and children – those who have sacrificed the most during my time in public service to our community – thank you and I love you.”

Peterson says he appreciates the work Lee has done for the county, but it’s time to move forward with his new agenda.

“Regardless of your party or who you voted for, I will be available, and I will be a voice for this county. And I will put our agenda back in Raleigh,” said Peterson.

Senator Lee has until 5pm Monday to request a recount in writing. The tentative recount would be first week of December.