Roy Cooper

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Roy Cooper
48th Attorney General of North Carolina
Assumed office
January 6, 2001
Governor Mike Easley
Bev Perdue
Pat McCrory
Preceded by Mike Easley
Personal details
Born Roy Asberry Cooper III
(1957-06-13) June 13, 1957 (age 59)
Nashville, North Carolina, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kristin Cooper
Children Hilary
Alma mater University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill

Roy Asberry Cooper III (born June 13, 1957)[1] is an American politician who has been Attorney General of North Carolina since 2001. Previously he was a member of the North Carolina State Senate. Cooper is a member of the North Carolina Democratic Party, and is running for Governor of North Carolina in the 2016 election[2] against incumbent Pat McCrory.

Personal life and education[edit]

Born in Nash County, North Carolina, Cooper was raised in a rural community and worked in tobacco fields during the summer as a teenager. He received the Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, serving as the president of the university's Young Democrats, and then also earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from UNC.

Cooper has a wife, Kristin, and three daughters, Hilary, Natalie, and Claire.

State Legislature[edit]

After practicing law with his family's law firm for a number of years, Cooper was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1986 and named to the North Carolina Senate in 1991. In 1997, he was elected Democratic Majority Leader of the state Senate. He continued to practice law as the managing partner of the law firm Fields & Cooper in Rocky Mount and Nashville, North Carolina.

North Carolina Attorney General[edit]


Cooper was elected North Carolina Attorney General in November 2000 and took office on January 6, 2001; he was re-elected for a second term in 2004. Cooper was mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for North Carolina governor in 2008, but he decided to run for re-election as Attorney General instead.[3] He was easily re-elected, garnering more votes than any other statewide candidate in the November 2008 elections.[4] Both state and national Democrats attempted to recruit him to run against Republican Senator Richard Burr in 2010, but he declined.[5] He was speculated as a possible candidate for Governor of North Carolina in 2012 after incumbent Governor Bev Perdue announced her retirement, but Cooper declined to run.[6] His political consultant announced in 2011 that Cooper would seek a fourth term in 2012.[7] He was unopposed in both the Democratic primary and the general election.[8] In the November 2012 elections, Cooper received 2,828,941 votes.


In January 2007, when Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong asked to be recused from dealing with the Duke lacrosse case, Attorney General Cooper's office assumed responsibility for the case. On April 11, 2007, Cooper dismissed the case against the Duke lacrosse team players, declaring them "innocent" and victims of a "tragic rush to accuse.

Following a decision by a three-judge panel to exonerate Gregor Taylor, who had served nearly seventeen years for the First-degree murder of Jaquetta Thomas, Roy Cooper ordered an audit after it was uncovered that officials at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation forensic lab withheld information leading to his conviction. The audit found that it was common practice for a select group of officials within the State Bureau of Investigation to withhold information. The two investigators Chris Swecker and Micheal Fox cited almost two hundred and fifty separate cases that were mishandled.

Cooper argued his first case before the United States Supreme Court, J. D. B. v. North Carolina, in 2011.[9][10] The Court ruled 5–4 against North Carolina.[11]

In 2013, Governor McCrory signed legislation to require voters to present government-issued photo identification in order to vote, to repeal same-day voter registration, and to reduce the number of days of early voting.[12] Cooper recommended McCrory veto this legislation as "he knew it would be bad for North Carolina,"[13] a position vindicated in July 2016 when a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the photo ID provisions, finding that the legislators had acted with "discriminatory intent" in enacting the strict election rules[14] and had targeted African Americans "with almost surgical precision."[13]

2016 gubernatorial election[edit]

Roy Cooper for Governor logo

Cooper is running for Governor of North Carolina in the 2016 election.[2] He has strongly criticised Republican Governor Pat McCrory for "tax giveaways for the top 1 percent instead of real tax breaks for working North Carolina families, an end to child-care tax credits, election law changes that made it harder for North Carolinians to vote, overcrowded classrooms for public school teachers and layoffs for teacher assistants."

Electoral history[edit]

North Carolina State Senate 10th District Election, 1996
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roy Cooper, III (inc.) 28,771 61.37
Republican William "Bill" Lewis 18,111 38.63
North Carolina State Senate 10th District Election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roy Cooper, III (inc.) 27,690 100.00
North Carolina Attorney General Election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roy Cooper 1,446,793 51.21
Republican Dan Boyce 1,310,845 46.40
Reform Margaret Palms 67,536 2.39
North Carolina Attorney General Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roy Cooper (inc.) 1,872,097 55.61
Republican Joe Knott 1,494,121 44.39
North Carolina Attorney General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roy Cooper (inc.) 2,538,178 61.10
Republican Bob Crumley 1,615,762 38.90
North Carolina Attorney General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roy Cooper (inc.) 2,828,941 100.00
North Carolina Governor Democratic Primary Election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Roy Cooper 710,658 68.70
Democratic Ken Spaulding 323,774 31.30


  1. ^ "Richard D. Hearney - Google Search". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Attorney General Announces Candidacy For Governor". Charlotte Observer. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ Andrea Weigl. " Cooper says he won't run for governor". Retrieved June 22, 2008. 
  4. ^ "News & Observer: Roy Cooper, N.C.'s most popular Democrat". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Charlotte Observer: AG Roy Cooper says no to Senate race
  6. ^ WRAL. "Perdue will not seek re-election". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  7. ^ "News & Observer: Holding may seek attorney general's office". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Daily Reflector". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Supreme Court site". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ "News & Observer: Court questions N.C.'s position on Miranda warning". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ "News & Observer: High court rules against NC in juvenile Miranda rights". Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Fletcher, Michael A. (26 May, 2013). "In North Carolina, unimpeded GOP drives state hard to the right". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 June, 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  13. ^ a b Julia Harte; Andy Sullivan (29 July, 2016). "North Carolina Voter ID Law Targeted African-Americans, Appeals Court Rules". Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 July, 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  14. ^ Ann E. Marimow (July 29, 2016). "Appeals court strikes down North Carolina's voter-ID law". Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike Easley
Democratic nominee for Attorney General of North Carolina
2000, 2004, 2008, 2012
Succeeded by
Josh Stein
Preceded by
Walter Dalton
Democratic nominee for Governor of North Carolina
Most recent
Legal offices
Preceded by
Mike Easley
Attorney General of North Carolina