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Pat laid his offer on the table Saturday: Recount Durham’s votes and I’ll drop my request for recounts in other counties, he told the State Board of Elections.

It sounded reasonable. And fair. But like a lot of knotty problems there’s more than one way to look at it.

The chance of a Durham recount overturning Roy Cooper’s 8085 vote lead over Pat is, well, remote. Let’s say, hypothetically, Pat’s facing 99 to 1 odds.

But recounting Durham’s votes is the best – you could argue the only – chance Pat has of defeating Roy. A recount can’t hurt Pat. He can’t end up worse off. And he might just win the trifecta. From where Pat sits he risks nothing by making this offer – and he may get a chance of salvation.

But look at the same puzzle through Roy’s eyes: If Roy goes along with Pat’s offer the odds are Roy’s facing 99 happy outcomes. But he’s also facing a 1% chance of complete doom. And that’s a proverbial risk to avoid. From where Roy sits taking a 1% risk of doom makes no sense at all.

The State Board of Elections is scheduled to decide on Pat’s offer this week.

In the meantime, there’s likely to be a lot of rhetoric from both sides – but remember: It all comes down to two people looking at the same problem and seeing two different outcomes: Pat’s seeing a 1% shot at salvation while Roy’s looking at a 1% risk of doom.


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