RALEIGH – Associate Justice Paul Newby won the closest race in the state as counties finished canvassing votes on Tuesday, defeating incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley by just under 400 votes.
The contest will, however, go to a statewide recount in the coming days.
A win for Newby, who has served on the N.C. Supreme Court since 2004, would give Republicans a sweep of every statewide judicial race in the 2020 general election.
“Congratulations to Paul Newby on a well-deserved and hard fought victory,” said NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley on Tuesday. “Justice Newby will serve with honor and distinction as our next Chief Justice and will faithfully uphold the rule of law. Justice Newby understands the role of the judge is to say what the law is – not what it should be. This election, the people of North Carolina made a decisive statement by electing eight conservative judges to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.”
The recount, which will begin as early as Thursday, will be the first statewide recount since the 2016 state auditor’s race. The recount confirmed the result, the N.C. State Board of Elections said.
Counties have until Wednesday, Nov. 25 to complete the recount process.
Beasley’s campaign manager, Benjamin Woods, said in a statement that the race is far from decided.
“The race for Chief Justice will not be over until every single vote has been counted. Our team has officially requested a statewide recount and will be filing protest petitions across the state to ensure over 2,000 absentee and provisional ballots that were wrongfully rejected are included in the final tally,” Woods continued.
The NCSBE posted a schedule of recount meetings by county to its website.