By GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has taken his oath of office minutes after midnight to get an early start amid bitter partisan politics.
The Democrat was sworn in early Sunday as the state's 75th governor nearly a week before his public inauguration ceremony. A small group of family, friends and colleagues joined him.
State Chief Justice Mark Martin administered the oath in the short ceremony not far from where revelers gathered in downtown Raleigh to celebrate the new year.
A Cooper aide has said the governor wants to get started on gubernatorial duties following a transition period shortened by a protracted debate over vote-counting in his close race with outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
The state's GOP-controlled Legislature passed new laws during December special sessions that will limit Cooper's power.