North Carolina county boards reject legislator election protests. Recounts follow.

Halifax — A 10-term state senator who is trailing in his Democratic primary from earlier this month has had his formal protests dismissed by elections boards in three northeastern North Carolina counties that make up a House district.

Officials say Warren, Northampton, and Halifax county boards resolved Rep. Michael Wray's late-week challenges by Tuesday afternoon.

Halifax County educator Rodney Pierce leads Wray by 35 votes out of roughly 12,000 ballots cast for the March 5 primary in the redesigned 27th House District.

Pierce attorney Swain Wood said Wray requested at least one county recount of his race on Monday, commencing this week. Wray's protesters accused a Democratic poll observer at a Halifax County precinct of illegally advising people to vote for Pierce.

The Halifax County board unanimously found that Wray “failed to contest the manner in which votes were counted or results tabulated sufficient to cast doubt on the results of the election” and failed to provide substantial evidence of a law violation, irregularity, or misconduct that could have changed the outcome. You can appeal protest judgments to the State Board of Elections.

In a brief statement, Wray expressed disappointment in the rejection but looked forward to the recount. Pierce is pleased with how the board handled Wray's protests and believes the recount “will confirm the results of the initial count” in his favor.

Wray, who joined the House in 2005, has been slammed by outside groups and Democrats for associating himself with Republican leaders, where he is a senior finance committee chair.

Democratic Sen. Mike Woodard of Durham County and Republican Reps. George Cleveland of Onslow County and Kevin Crutchfield of Cabarrus County all lost their primary races.

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