Charlotte Democrats Cheer Biden Victory As GOP Calls For Patience
The news that Joe Biden had won the presidency struck like a bolt of lightning Saturday, crackling through Charlotte and sending phones into fits of pinging and buzzing.
In uptown, drivers rolled down their windows to shout and honk their horns.
At the Black Lives Matter mural on North Tryon Street, two Biden volunteers embraced and posed for a photo showing off their campaign T-shirts and a Biden-Harris flag.
"I feel elated. I feel like I can breathe for the first time for four years," said one of the volunteers, Autumn Alston. "I'm especially happy about Kamala Harris being VP. To see someone who looks like me who's going to be in the Oval Office, it's unbelievable. It's such a happy feeling."
Her sigh of relief came after days of waiting for definitive results in an election that stretched on well past Tuesday, finally arriving at an apparent conclusion just before noon Saturday when The Associated Press called Pennsylvania for Biden, thus securing him enough electoral votes to become president-elect.
Congratulations for the Biden-Harris ticket have since poured in from Democrats across North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper extended his well wishes in a tweet, writing that he looked forward to working with the new president and vice president "for a stronger, better educated and healthier North Carolina."
Democratic Congresswoman Alma Adams of Charlotte also released a statement calling the election an "emotional moment" and congratulating Harris for becoming the nation's first woman to be elected to the vice presidency.
"I could not be prouder of my Sister for shattering another glass ceiling," Adams wrote. "The people have spoken, and I'm ready to get to work with President Biden and Vice President Harris."
Meanwhile, many of the state's Republican leaders held back, some saying they wanted every legal vote counted before accepting the election's outcome.
The chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, Michael Whatley, wrote on Twitter that he wasn't yet convinced that the election had been decided and that he agreed with President Trump's demand to continue counting ballots in undecided states.
"The decision by the mainstream media to call the race is premature while we still have several states conducting their initial counts and know that we will have multiple recounts," he wrote.
North Carolina is one of the few remaining states that have not yet declared a winner in the presidential race. The State Board of Elections said last week it was waiting on as many as 116,200 absentee ballots that could still be in the mail. In addition, the state reported having about 41,000 provisional ballots that were cast on Election Day and needed to be sorted and counted.
Under the state's election rules, absentee mail-in ballots will be accepted and counted as long as they were mailed and postmarked by Election Day and arrive at election offices by Thursday, Nov. 12.
North Carolina's Republican speaker of the house, Tim Moore, has pressed the State Board of Elections to update the number of possibly outstanding ballots.
In a Saturday interview with Newsmax, Moore said he wanted to know if the number was still large enough that it could sway the presidential race or the race for the Senate seat held by Republican Thom Tillis.
"The president does have a very comfortable lead here. All the information I've seen indicates that the president is definitely going to carry North Carolina, as well as Sen. Tillis," he said.
On Sunday afternoon, a parade of cars flying Trump flags drove down Interstate 485 in Mecklenburg County. As of Sunday, Trump led Joe Biden by 75,371 votes in North Carolina. Tillis led Democrat Cal Cunningham by 95,739 votes. Neither race has been officially called.
North Carolina's 15 electoral votes would not give Trump enough to win reelection.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has said most counties will tally up their remaining absentee and provisional ballots on Friday, Nov. 12. Final election results for the state will not be certified until after Nov. 13.