North Carolina Republicans captured all seven statewide contests in strong victories in the high profile 2022 midterm election, according to unofficial results from the N.C. Board of Elections.
In the headliner race, Republican Ted Budd secured victory in a comfortable 51% to 47% victory over Democrat Cheri Beasley in the contest for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. Budd’s victory means the Tar Heel State will keep both members of its U.S. Senate delegation red.
In down ballot races, Republicans won all six statewide judicial races, shifting the lean of the N.C. Supreme Court from 4 to 3 Democrat to 5 to 2 Republican. In races for the state Supreme Court, Republican Richard Dietz bested Democrat Lucy Inman 53% to 47%, while Republican Trey Allen won 52% to 48% over Democrat Sam J. Ervin IV. The shift means that Republicans will control the state’s highest court until at least 2028.
“With control of the court, Republicans polices will no longer be constantly blocked by a hyper-partisan Democrat controlled high court,” said political analyst Dallas Woodhouse. “Republicans in the State legislature will once again draw new legislative and congressional districts, but this time the GOP dominated court is likely to approve the new maps. Republicans can expect to cement GOP gains in the legislature and reverse Democrat gains in congressional seats in 2024.”
In races for Congress across the state, there was only one somewhat surprising result on Tuesday night — Trump-backed Bo Hines was by defeated Democrat State Senator Wiley Nickel in North Carolina’s most evenly drawn congressional district, the 13th. Wiley secured 51% of the vote to Hines’ 49%, a victory margin of less than 7,300 votes.
In another closely watched congressional race, Democrat Don Davis beat his opponent Republican Sandy Smith 52% to 48% in the 1st congressional district.
There was good news for Republicans in the state legislature, as the GOP gained seats in both chambers of the General Assembly, including a veto-proof majority of 30 seats in the N.C. Senate. Republicans captured 71 of the 120 seats in the N.C. House, one short of a super-majority.
On the state Senate side, Republican Buck Newton defeated incumbent Democrat Toby Fitch to snatch a seat from Democrats in district 4, while Republican Bobby Hanig followed suit in district 3 with a victory over Democrat Valerie Jordan.
On the House side, the GOP picked off five Democrat incumbents in districts 5, 9, 24, 32, 63. But losses in a handful of other open seats limited Republicans’ net pickup to two seats.
“This election has been a barometer for where voters want their state and country to go,” said Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, in a statement. “The Republican platform of low taxes, job creation, expanded parental choice, and quality education, is one that reflects the needs of all North Carolinians. Tonight’s results prove just that. Our promise to the people of North Carolina is that the Senate Republican supermajority will continue to deliver on those priorities.”
With the GOP falling one seat short of a super-majority, Republicans could focus on building relationships with some of the body’s more conservative Democrats in efforts to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes.
“While not as good a night as Republicans were hoping for, this is still a big win for Republicans on the state level,” said Jim Stirling, research fellow at Locke’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity, “Not only will they need one Democrat vote to overrule Governor Cooper’s veto but this changes the dynamics of the courts drastically in North Carolina. Republican’s have been vocal with their discontent with the North Carolina Supreme court’s recent controversial rulings on cases such as the recent Leandro ruling. “
At the national level, 64 seats in the U.S. House are undecided with Republicans currently winning 199 seats to Democrat’s 172. A majority in that chamber is 218. In the U.S. Senate, 51 seats are needed for a majority and four seats are still undecided. As of Wednesday morning, Democrats and Republicans each have 48 seats in the Senate.