As North Carolinians start early voting Oct. 20 and head to the polls Nov. 8, a few races in the Charlotte area will be among those political analysts watch to learn the balance of the state General Assembly and the congressional delegation. 

Republicans would need to win 72 seats in the North Carolina House and 30 in the state Senate to gain supermajorities, enabling them to override vetoes by Gov. Roy Cooper. According to the Civitas Partisan Index (CPI) — authored by Dr. Andy Jackson and Jim Sterling of the John Locke Foundation’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity — there are 19 state House districts that are “seats to watch,” of which Republicans would need to win 14 for a supermajority; and nine state Senate districts, of which Republicans would need to win six.

Five of these districts, including House Districts 73, 98, 103, and 104 and Senate District 42, are in the Charlotte area. Carolina Journal spoke to some of the candidates in these races to learn how their races were going. The region features many races that either lean Democratic or are heavily favored towards Democrats. Nevertheless, Charlotte-area Republican candidates are optimistic in what could be a good year for Republicans overall.

Republican candidate for NC House District 88 Anne Marie Peacock has been focused on getting as much contact with voters as possible leading up the election. Her campaign manager David Capper told CJ that their campaign continues to strive toward that goal.

“We’ve been doing a lot of voter contacts,” he said. “We’re gunning for 17,000 voter touches before election day and right now we’re on track to meet our goal. That’s been our strategy is to reach out to the voters personally, let them meet her and hope that reflects on election day.”

NC House District 98, covering the northern area of Mecklenburg County represented by incumbent Republican John Bradford III is seen as a toss-up district. Bradford has so far outraised his opponent, Democratic candidate Christy Clark $220,684.09 to $113,647.24 in cash on hand for Q2. He told Carolina Journal that the U.S. economy is the foremost concern this election and praised Republicans in the NC general assembly for their approach to governance.

“This election is all about the economy and the Republican majorities in Raleigh have proven their ability to run a government while Joe Biden and his team of liberals have wrecked the strong economy they inherited.”

Brian Echevarria, the Republican candidate in NC House District 73, who garnered national attention after speaking out against Critical Race Theory during a Cabarrus County School Board meeting, told CJ he believes his pro-family message will resonate with voters and carry him to victory in November. NC House District 73 is considered a Lean Democratic district at D+3.

“No matter how you cut it. No matter how many spreadsheets and studies we see. No matter how much money you have or the house you live in. The fact is Family is our story. Our families are affected by every government policy, and every government policy should consider our families. North Carolina is home to family values. After parental rights, small businesses owned by everyday families, and church communities were violated by harsh mandates; I believe we will be voting like family is our story for decades. It will be a long time before we forget our schools closing, the lost learning, and the crazy inflation that destroyed the family budget.”

His campaign manager Dianna Bingle is feeling positive about Echevarria’s chances for victory. “We are cautiously optimistic. We are on the right side of the family and we believe our community will recognize that,” she said.

Carolina Journal spoke with Mark Robeson, the Republican candidate in NC Senate District 39, which includes much of southwest Mecklenburg County, about the outlook for his campaign a month from election day. The CPI has District 39 at D +14 for a safe Democratic rating. His opponent is the incumbent Democrat Senator DeAndrea Salvador who has served since 2021. Robeson, as a first-time candidate, is up to the challenge.

“This is my first time running. It’s probably the most intense thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “I predicted a year ago that we were going to have a red wave. My background is in banking and financial services, so it reminds me a lot of a stock chart. I’m noticing now, about a month away from the election, that this stock is getting ready to go through the moon. I can’t predict what’s going to happen but I can tell you this. I’ve knocked on 1,300 doors so far and I noticed while using the NCGOP app called Sidekick, a lot of Republicans but also a huge number of unaffiliateds. Unaffiliateds are the largest vote bloc in North Carolina now. Every single unaffiliated person I talked with said they were going to vote for a Republican this time. That has given me an enormous boost. I think it’s going to be a very shocking election especially for Democrats. I’m a Reagan optimist but I’m also a realist. This election might be bigger than 1994 and the contract with America.”

In the U.S. congressional races, NC-8 and NC-10 are safe for Republican incumbents and NC-12 is safe for the Democratic incumbent. That means all eyes are on the newly created 14th Congressional District comprising Gaston County and much of Mecklenburg County. The race is shaping up to be a competitive one between Republican candidate Pat Harrigan and Democratic state Sen. Jeff Jackson.

Brandon Craft serves as Harrigan’s campaign manager, and he told CJ that Harrigan’s focus remains steadfast one month out from the election.

“Pat Harrigan is focused on issues that matter to voters in NC-14: reducing inflation, restoring our economy, and keeping our communities safe. Jeff Jackson is flailing, trying desperately to change the subject away from the ruined economy that his policies helped create. Harrigan recently released his first TV ad and it is already making a huge impact on this race.”