Mixed night for NC GOP congressional races with Budd win and House losses
After months of doorknocking, fundraising, TV ads, polling, and direct mail, the results for the 2022 midterm elections are in. And for North Carolina Republicans, it was mostly a good night. They won both contested seats on the state Supreme Court, earning a 5-2 majority. They won a supermajority in the state Senate and were one vote shy of doing the same in the state House. But in the U.S congressional races, results were mixed.
First, the positive for Republicans: Rep. Ted Budd won a decisive victory, at 51% to 47%, over Cheri Beasley. This four-point margin was about what later polls had shown. Earlier polls had the race neck-and-neck.
“Congratulations to Senator-elect Ted Budd and the rest of our North Carolina Republicans, whose wins tonight pave the way for balance in Washington,” RNC spokesperson Taylor Mazock said in a statement. “North Carolinians are tired of Biden and Democrats’ 40-year high inflation, rising gas prices, and weak on crime stances. Together these Republicans will work to get this country back on track.”
But the balance of the U.S. Senate has yet to be determined. Among the closely watched races, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina are in the Republican column, and New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Colorado are in the Democrat column. But races yet to be determined include Georgia, because a runoff was triggered after neither candidate reached 50% of the vote, and Arizona and Nevada, because votes have not been fully counted yet.
Republicans would need to win two of those three races to gain the 51 votes they’d need for a majority.
In the U.S. House, Republicans are likely to gain a majority once all votes are in, but it will be a much narrower majority than many had predicted.
In North Carolina, the races were an even split at 7-7. This was largely due to temporary court-imposed maps designed to create an even number of seats for each party. But there were a handful of races that Republicans had hoped to flip.
The seat that Republicans really staked their hopes on was NC-13 in the southern Research Triangle. It was a suburban district that slightly favored Democrats. But Republicans believed that their candidate, political newcomer Bo Hines, had a real shot at winning over Democrat state Sen. Wiley Nickel.
In the end, Nickel was successful in convincing more voters that he was the right choice for the swing district, running as a moderate despite a fairly left-wing voting record. The final tally was 51% to 49%.
There were also less competitive races that Republicans had hoped would be made competitive in a red-wave election. But a major wave didn’t develop, and the results in NC-1, NC-6, and NC-14 fell short.
The closest of the three was NC-1, in the northeast of the state, where Republican Sandy Smith trailed Democrat state Sen. Don Davis 52% to 48%. In the Triad area’s NC-6, Republican Christian Castelli fell to Democrat incumbent Rep. Kathy Manning 54% to 45%. And in NC-14, Republican Pat Harrigan lost to Democrat state Sen. Jeff Jackson 57% to 43%.