While the blue wave didn’t hit evenly across the country, it caused a significant sea change in North Carolina politics.
Here are the 5 top things to know about Tuesday’s elections in North Carolina.
Want to listen in podcast form? Use the player below or download the Longleaf Podcast on your phone. Note: When I recorded the podcast, Republicans were still holding on to the supermajority in the N.C. Senate. That has changed.
1) Republicans lose supermajorities in the N.C. House — and likely the Senate.
This means that Democrats will be able to sustain a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper. Democrats needed to flip only 4 seats and after winning big in Wake and Mecklenburg Counties, they did that and then some. The biggest name to go down is Rep. Nelson Dollar in Wake County, but numerous incumbents lost, including five in Mecklenburg County.
Democrats needed to flip six seats in the N.C. Senate and appear to have done so. We’re still waiting on official results.
Republicans will still have sizable majorities in both the state House and Senate.
2) No Congressional seats flipped.
None of three contested races flipped blue. Charlotte pastor Mark Harris narrowly edged out Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. George Holding held off Linda Coleman in the 2nd Congressional District, and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd won easily over Kathy Manning in the 13th Congressional District.
But despite holding these seats, Republicans still gave up their majority in the U.S. House.
3) Democrats succeed in statewide judicial races.
General Assembly Republicans have to be kicking themselves for not holding party primaries.
Democrat Anita Earls was elected to the state Supreme Court with less than 50 percent of the vote. Chris Anglin’s entry to the race worked as predicted, splitting Republican votes with incumbent Barbara Jackson. The same thing went for Republican judges Jefferson Griffin and Sandra Ray for a Court of Appeals race — they split the majority of the vote, giving Democrat Toby Hampson the win.
4) Two amendments opposed by governors fail.
Out of the six proposed amendments on the ballot, four of them passed — Marsy’s Law for crime victims rights, preserving right to hunt and fish, the 7% income tax cap and voter ID. That last one will give the General Assembly a significant bit of work to do, as they will have to write implementing legislation. The lost supermajority could come into play here.
The two amendments opposed by all five living governors failed. The judicial vacancy amendment would give the General Assembly appointment power for bench openings rather than the governor. Also, the amendment that would have created a bipartisan Board of Elections failed.
The #NixAllSix campaign had only limited success. The Marsy’s Law amendment passed handily just about everywhere in North Carolina, even Democratic strongholds. This means voters actually did their homework and researched the amendments individually.
5) Turnout was way higher than normal.
At more than 51 percent, North Carolina’s voter turnout substantially exceeded the 44 percent in the 2014 midterm.