A sea of signs welcome voters at this Wake Co. polling site. (Photo: Clayton Henkel)
Repubs sweeps state appellate courts, but fall just short of veto-proof General Assembly; Dems gain in state US House delegation, while national picture remains undecided — Full team coverage
As predicted, Rep. Ted Budd holds U.S. Senate seat for Republicans
By Kirk Ross
At the top of the ticket this year, three-term congressman Ted Budd defeated former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley in a close race to determine who replaces retiring Sen. Richard Burr.
Unofficial results this morning show Budd with 1,891,342 votes and Beasley with 1,755,716. Libertarian Shannon Bray received 50,812 votes and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh 29,163.
The race was close throughout the evening, but the last round of tallies from Wake County, which Beasley won handily, was not enough to make up the lead Budd had built up in the state’s rural and exurban regions and networks began calling the race shortly after 11 p.m.
Sen. Thom Tillis, who will become the state’s senior senator in January, introduced Budd for his victory announcement.
“You know, as someone who was born and raised here in North Carolina, the state’s part of me, it’s in my bones and I want to make the Old North State that much better again,” Budd told supporters. “You know, our friends are the national media, they thought this they had the state all figured out. They use terms to describe North Carolina this year as sleeping, quiet, under the radar, and that list goes on and on. Well, I’ll tell you that this so called sleepy race I think we sounded a loud and clear message in Washington D.C. tonight.”
He congratulated Beasley on a “spirited campaign” and thanked former president Donald Trump and the Trump family for their backing.
In a statement, Beasley thanked her supporters after calling Budd to concede and said she was proud of the race she ran, which expanded the map to areas outside traditional strongholds for Democrats.
She took stock of her status as the state’s first African-American woman nominated to run for senate and said she would remain “in the fight” going forward.
“While I am disappointed, I am not defeated,” she said. “While I wish for a different outcome, I am not leaving the fight because the issues that I ran on are too important and an election doesn’t determine my voice or my continued commitment to fight with you.”
Republicans win supermajority in the state Senate, but fall one seat short in the House
By Lynn Bonner
Democrats appear to have prevented Republicans from winning a supermajority in the state House, which would help preserve the strength of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.
Republicans had been shooting for veto-proof majorities in both chambers, but appeared to have achieved that goal only in the Senate.
“We stopped a GOP supermajority tonight when North Carolinians voted for balance and progress,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a tweet early Wednesday. “I’ll continue to work with this legislature to support a growing economy, more clean energy, better health care and strong public schools.”
Three-fifths majorities are needed to override vetoes. That’s 30 votes in the 50-member Senate and 72 votes in the 120-member House. Republicans needed to pick up only two seats in the Senate and three in the House to win supermajorities that able override Cooper’s vetoes without Democratic lawmakers’ help.
Black Democratic incumbents in the eastern part of state, Reps. Howard Hunter III, Linda Cooper-Suggs, and James Galliard were defeated, as was Sen. Toby Fitch.
Rep. Ricky Hurtado, the only Latino legislator currently serving, appears to have lost to Republican Stephen Ross. Hurtado defeated Ross two years ago to win the seat, but Republicans redrew the boundaries of the district to give Ross a better chance to win.
Results will not be final until absentee ballots are counted and provision ballots reviewed. The State Board of Elections is set to certify results on Nov. 29.
Republicans rout Democrats in Supreme Court, Court of Appeals races
By Kelan Lyons
Republicans regained control of the state Supreme Court Tuesday, winning two seats on North Carolina’s highest court and tilting the partisan makeup to a 5-2 Republican majority.
The elections could give conservatives long-awaited rulings on a slew of high-profile political issues including gerrymandering, voting rights and reproductive rights.
Republican Richard Dietz defeated Democrat Lucy Inman with a little over 52% of the vote, while Republican Trey Allen defeated Incumbent Democrat Sam J. Ervin, IV by almost precisely the same margin.
Candidates did an awkward dance throughout the election, campaigning in a partisan race while arguing that judges should be nonpartisan. But they offered narrow glimpses into their judicial philosophy at a forum held at the end of October. Dietz preached “judicial restraint,” so the public wouldn’t lose confidence in the court’s rulings. Inman said some rights were so important, they must be protected, even if most members of the pubic would rather the court stay in its own lane and not meddle. Allen said he supported “originalism,” the idea that a constitution should be interpreted as its framers intended when it was written. Ervin, for his part, sidestepped the question, stating that he merely follows the prescribed law when he interprets the constitution.
Allen and Dietz will be sworn into office in January. A seat currently held by a Democrat will be up for election in 2024.
Republicans also picked up all four open seats on the Court of Appeals. Republican Julee Tate Flood had 52.6% of the vote against Democrat Carolyn Jennings Thompson, Republican Donna Stroud had 54.6% against her Democratic opponent Brad A. Salmon, Republican incumbent John M. Tyson defeated Democrat Gale Murray Adams with just under 53% of the vote, and Republican Michael J. Stading beat incumbent Democrat Darren Jackson with 53% of the vote.
Visit the State Board of Elections website for the final numbers.
To learn more about the candidates who ran for the open state appellate court seats, see The Resource, published by the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys.
North Carolina Dems gain seats in U.S. House; delegation now evenly split
North Carolina voters sent nine incumbents and five newcomers to the U.S. House on Tuesday.
In the 1st congressional district, Democratic state Sen. Don Davis defeated Republican Sandy Smith for the seat being vacated by Rep G.K. Butterfield. Butterfield, who has represented the first congressional district for 18 years, announced last year he would not seek re-election under the racially gerrymandered maps.
“At my core, I am just so excited about this opportunity to come in and make a real effect on the lives of families here across eastern North Carolina,” said Davis after the race was called in his favor.
In the 2nd district, Rep. Deborah Ross (D) won re-election by a comfortable margin over newcomer Christine Villaverde (R).
“I am honored that the people of Wake County have put their faith in me once again to serve as their representative in Washington, and I am excited to represent many new communities in the new Second District,” said Ross in a statement released Tuesday evening. “It is a privilege to continue being your voice in Washington.”
Rep. Greg Murphy, a Greenville physician, defeated a challenge by Democrat Barbara Gaskins in the 3rd district.
As longtime Rep. David Price retired from the 4th district, Democrat Valerie Foushee walked away from Republican Courtney Geels.
“I am humbled and honored that the voters of NC-04 have put their faith and trust in me to represent them in Congress,” said Foushee in a statement. “I look forward to going to Washington and delivering results for the people of this district.”
Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx captured 63% of the vote in the 5th district to hold onto her seat over Democratic challenger Kyle Parrish.
In the 6th, incumbent Congresswoman Kathy Manning (54%) defeated Republican Christian Castelli (45%).
In the 7th district, Rep. David Rouzer turned back a challenge by state Rep. Charles Graham, who had hoped North Carolina would send a Lumbee American Indian to Congress.
The 8th district will continue to be represented by incumbent Rep. Dan Bishop (R) with his victory over Scott Huffman (D). Bishop earned 70% of the votes cast to Huffman’s 30%.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R) topped state Sen. Ben Clark (D) to keep his seat in the 9th district.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R), who has represented the 10th congressional district since 2005, handily defeated Democrat Pam Genant to keep his seat.
In the 11th district, Congressman Madison Cawthorn lost his primary race to Republican state Sen. Chuck Edwards. And Edwards went on to defeat Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara Tuesday capturing 54% of the vote to her 44%.
Rep. Alma Adams, the veteran Mecklenburg County Democrat, retains her seat with a victory over Republican Tyler Lee.
In the newly drawn 13th district, state Senator Wiley Nickel (D) defetated conservative political newcomer Bo Hines (R).
“It is the honor of a lifetime to have earned the trust and support of a diverse coalition of Democrats, Republican and Independent voters in North Carolina’s 13th district. We always knew this was going to be a close race, and that’s why we have to wait for every ballot to be counted,” said Nickel in a speech to supporters in Raleigh late Tuesday.
Hines conceded the closely watched race to Nickel just before midnight.
Finally in North Carolina’s new 14th district, state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D) downed Republican Pat Harrigan to head to Washington.
“With your help, we have won NC’s 14th Congressional District,” Jackson shared on Twitter. “I’m proud of our team, grateful for our supporters, and ready to work for everyone in our district.”
Jackson dropped out of the U.S. Senate race in December of last year, allowing Cheri Beasley to side step a Democratic primary challenge.
In the end in this very purple state, North Carolina voters selected seven Democrats and seven Republicans to represent the state in the U.S. House.
North Carolina’s New Congressional U.S. House delegation will be represented by:
1st District – Don Davis (D)
2nd District – Rep. Deborah Ross (D)
3rd District – Rep. Greg Murphy (R)
4th District – Valerie Foushee (D)
5th District – Rep. Virginia Foxx (R)
6th District – Rep. Kathy Manning (D)
7th District – Rep. David Rouzer (R)
8th District – Rep. Dan Bishop (R)
9th District – Rep. Richard Hudson (R)
10th District – Rep. Patrick McHenry (R)
11th District – Chuck Edwards (R)
12th District – Rep. Alma Adams (D)
13th District – Wiley Nickel (D)
14th District – Jeff Jackson (D)
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