Lee unofficially reclaims NC Senate seat, confident results will hold

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There are a lot of close races on the local level keeping candidates on their toes as the final ballots are counted.

On Wednesday afternoon, the State Board of Election said there are still around 117,000 ballots left to be counted.

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Senator-elect Michael Lee took back his seat he lost to current Senator Harper Peterson by a very small margin, now leading by another small margin.

In 2018, Peterson clinched the state Senate seat from then-incumbent Lee, but around 1%.

Now, Lee has unofficially reclaimed his seat by around 1,500 votes, or 1.2%. He’s confident the results will hold.

Peterson told WWAY Tuesday night he’s holding out hope over the remaining mail-in ballots, but Lee says he led by a huge margin at one-stop voting, and expects mail-in ballots to reflect that.

“We feel really good about are ability to get the message out,” Lee said. “We won the one-stop voting and also on Election Day by huge margins, so we feel like any ballots that do come in during that time period, are mailed in, that they’ll be votes for us, and we’ll have a good result.”

Looking ahead, Lee addressed the toll COVID-19 has taken on North Carolina, specifically on businesses and education.

“In particular, in the hospitality and the tourism industry that we have so much of here in our area,” he said. “We also need to look at what’s going on with our schools, and with the remote learning, synchronous, asynchronous. That’s something we really need to be focusing on, because I feel like our children really need us to come up with a better plan than what we have.”

Lee says he’s heard there could be COVID relief coming as soon as the end of the year, or surely 2021.

The results are still unofficial, as mail-in ballots can come in for the next eight days. Each race also still needs to be canvassed.