RALEIGH — Republicans maintained their veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly and the GOP picked up 10 of 13 congressional seats in record-setting midterm results on Tuesday.
Republicans held a 77-43 margin in the state House of Representatives in the 2013-14 session, and a 33-17 lead in the Senate.
Democrats needed to win at least four seats in the Senate and five in the House to eliminate the Republicans’ supermajority status.
They couldn’t flip any Republican seats in the Senate, and lost Sen. Gene McLaurin’s District 25 seat to his GOP challenger, giving Republicans a 34-16 supermajority. Democrats picked up three House seats, for a 74-46 Republican supermajority.
It was the strongest showing for the governor’s party since 1972, and indicates voters were more willing to back Republican policies than to seek a change in direction at the state level.
Average midterm election turnover has been 22 seats since 1972. The exceptions were in 1978 when 10 seats changed hands under Gov. Jim Hunt, and in 2002 when nine seats flipped under Gov. Mike Easley. Both governors were Democrats.
According to the State Board of Election, 2.9 million North Carolinians cast ballots in this election cycle, eclipsing the previous record of 2.7 million in the 2010 midterm election. (An increase in the number of registered voters due to population growth kept turnout slightly below the 44 percent level of 2010.)
McCrory happily noted of the voter participation record while addressing the crowd of supporters at U.S. Sen.-elect Thom Tillis’ victory party. He rebuked national media criticism of North Carolina’s election reform laws as a form of voter suppression.
Instead, he said, the new laws actually allow more working people to vote early because the hours are more conducive to daytime employees.
Eight races in the House were listed as competitive, by the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation, meaning they were considered toss-ups. Republicans won four of those races including both open seats. Democrats took the other four.
• District 2: An open seat, Republican Larry Yarborough beat Democrat Ray Jeffers 13,381 votes to 10,232.
• District 8: Incumbent Republican Susan Martin beat Democrat Bobi Gregory 13,211 votes to 9,534 with 26 of 28 precincts reporting.
• District 22: Incumbent Democrat William Brisson beat Republican Ken Smith 12,184 votes to 11,247.
• District 41: Democrat Gale Adcock defeated incumbent Republican Tom Murry 14,939 votes to 14,164.
• District 49: An open seat, Republican Gary Pendleton beat Democrat Kim Hanchette 20,240 votes to 18,989.
• District 92: Incumbent Republican Charles Jeter beat Democrat Robin Bradford 11,125 votes to 9,829 with 14 of 15 precincts reporting.
• District 115: Democrat John Ager beat incumbent Republican Nathan Ramsey 15,452 votes to 14,959.
• District 119: Incumbent Democrat Joe Sam Queen defeated Republican Mike Clampitt 11,681 votes to 10,567.
There were 13 House races that leaned in favor of Republicans, 12 featuring Republican incumbents and the other an incumbent Democrat. The GOP candidates won in 10 of those contests.
• District 1: Incumbent Republican Bob Steinburg beat Democrat Garry Meiggs 15,571 votes to 10,006.
• District 6: Incumbent Democrat Paul Tine beat Republican Mattie Lawson 16,450 votes to 14,244.
• District 9: Incumbent Republican Brian Brown beat Democrat Uriah Ward 13,277 votes to 8,771.
• District 35: Incumbent Republican Chris Malone beat Democrat Brian Mountcastle 15,659 votes to 12,151.
• District 36: Incumbent Republican Nelson Dollar beat Democrat Lisa Baker 18,917 votes to 15,884.
• District 40: Incumbent Republican Marilyn Avila defeated Democrat Margaret Broadwell 15,900 votes to 13,348.
• District 51: Democrat Brad Salmon beat incumbent Republican Mike Stone 10,720 votes to 9,130.
• District 53: Incumbent Republican David Lewis beat Democrat Susan Byerly 10,886 votes to 8,643.
• District 63: Incumbent Republican Steve Ross beat Democrat Ian Blatutis 12,905 votes to 9,728.
• District 65: Incumbent Republican Bert Jones beat Democrat Elretha Perkins 15,665 votes to 8,334.
• District 93: Incumbent Republican Jonathan Jordan defeated Democrat Sue Counts 14,253 votes to 12,475.
• District 116: Democrat Brian Turner beat defeated incumbent Republican Tim Moffitt 13,236 votes to 12,273.
• District 118: Incumbent Republican Michele Presnell beat Democrat Dean Hicks 13,762 votes to 13,036.
There were three House races that leaned in favor of the Democrats, and all three Democrats won.
• District 44: Incumbent Democrat Rick Glazier beat Republican Richard Button 10,137 votes to 9,183.
• District 46: Incumbent Democrat Ken Waddell beat Republican Brenden Jones 11,503 votes to 10,041.
• District 54: Incumbent Democrat Robert Reives II defeated Republican Andy Wilkie 16,813 votes to 13,107.
The Senate had three competitive races. All three incumbent Republicans won re-election against Democratic challengers.
• District 1: Incumbent Republican Bill Cook beat Democrat Stan White 31,887 votes to 27,808.
• District 18: Incumbent Republican Chad Barefoot beat Democrat Sarah Crawford 34,315 votes to 30,581.
• District 19: Incumbent Republican Wesley Meredith beat Democrat Billy Richardson 23,574 votes to 19,717.
Seven Senate seats featuring five Republican incumbents were listed as leaning toward the Republican candidate. Two of the seats were open. Republicans won all of those races.
• District 8: Incumbent Republican Bill Rabon defeated Democrat Ernie Ward 39,163 votes to 29,500.
• District 9: An open seat, Republican Michael Lee beat Democrat Elizabeth Redenbaugh 35,256 votes to 28,440.
• District 10: Incumbent Republican Brent Jackson beat Democrat Donald Rains 31,162 votes to 18,705.
• District 12: Incumbent Republican Ronald Rabin beat Democrat Joe Langley 26,762 votes to 21,068.
• District 15: An open seat, Republican John Alexander defeated Democrat Tom Bradshaw 40,748 votes to 40,031.
• District 17: Incumbent Republican Tamara Barringer defeated Democrat Bryan Fulghum 43,621 votes to 31,049.
• District 25: Republican Tom McInnis won with 28,324 votes to 26,455 votes for incumbent Democrat Gene McLaurin, and 1,400 for Libertarian P.H. Dawkins.
Republicans won 10 congressional seats, and Democrats won three. All eight Republican incumbent candidates won, and both Democratic incumbents won. Republicans won two open seats and the Democrats won the third.
• District 1: Incumbent Democrat G.K. Butterfield beat Republican Arthur Rich 150,360 votes to 54,659.
• District 2: Incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers defeated Clay Aiken 121,337 votes to 84,826.
• District 3: Incumbent Republican Walter Jones beat Democrat Marshall Adame 138,307 votes to 65,548.
• District 4: Incumbent Democrat David Price beat Republican Paul Wright 168,011 votes to 56,792.
• District 5: Incumbent Republican Virginia Foxx beat Democrat Josh Brannon 130,640 votes to 83,378.
• District 6: An open seat, Republican Mark Walker beat Democrat Laura Fjeld 146,337 votes to 103,085.
• District 7: An open seat, Republican David Rouzer won with 134,026 votes compared to 83,676 for Democrat Jonathan Barfield Jr., and 7,813 for Libertarian Wesley Casteen.
• District 8: Incumbent Republican Richard Hudson beat Democrat Antonio Blue 120,443 votes to 65,167.
• District 9: Incumbent Republican Robert Pittenger won unchallenged, 161,278 votes to 10,486 write-in ballots.
• District 10: Incumbent Republican Patrick McHenry beat Democrat Tate MacQueen 132,879 votes to 84,890.
• District 11: Incumbent Republican Mark Meadows defeated Democrat Tom Hill 143,802 votes to 84,693.
• District 12: An open seat, Democrat Alma Adams beat Republican Vince Coakley 127,940 votes to 41,852 with 181 of 182 precincts reporting. Adams also won in the race to complete the unexpired term of 125,573 votes to 40,879 for Coakley.
• District 13: Incumbent Republican George Holding defeated Democrat Brenda Cleary 152,138 votes to 113,302.
Dan E. Way is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.