November 7, 2018
2018 North Carolina Midterm Election Report
The nation’s political divide was reflected in last night’s Congressional elections. Republicans will maintain control of the Senate, but Democrats have gained control of the House of Representatives.
In the North Carolina Legislature, Democrats picked up enough seats in the House of Representatives to break the Republican supermajority. Democrats appear to have picked up the six seats needed to do the same in the Senate, but there are a number of races too close to call.
Democrats had local success as well, picking up three seats to sweep the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. They also defended their 7-0 advantage on the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
Below are highlights from the midterm election outcomes.
United States Congress
Republicans not only retained control of the Senate, but may have added to their majority. With four races too close to call definitively, Republicans now hold at least 51 seats in the next Senate. Republican candidates defeated Democratic incumbents in Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota while the Democratic candidate in Nevada has prevailed over a Republican incumbent. Republican candidates are also leading in close races with Democratic incumbents in Florida and Montana. The race in Arizona remains too close to call, but Republicans appear to have retained this seat. One of two Senate races in Mississippi, currently held by a Republican, is headed to a run off.
With 23 races remaining too close to call, Democrats have won enough seats to claim a majority in the next House of Representatives. Democrats have already won 219 seats – enough to claim a narrow majority even if all of the remaining races break against them. In addition, Democrats are leading in nine of the 23 remaining races.
Women running for Congress had an historic night. A record number of women will serve in the next Congress. With numerous races too close to call, at least 94 women won election to the House of Representatives, while at least 13 women won Senate contests (in addition to 10 women currently in the Senate that were not up for re-election last night). In addition, for the first time voters have elected a Muslim woman to the House of Representatives (Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota) and a Native American woman to the House of Representatives (Sharice Davids in Kansas and Deb Haaland in New Mexico).
Republican incumbent George Holding defeated Democratic challenger Linda Coleman to retain his seat in North Carolina’s 2nd District. District 2 is anchored by Wake County and includes all or part of five counties along Wake’s eastern perimeter. Holding, a former U.S. Attorney, captured over 51 percent of the vote whereas Coleman took almost 46 percent. This will be Holding’s second term representing the 2nd District, but his fourth consecutive term in the U.S. House. Holding previously represented North Carolina’s 13th District prior to the redrawing of that district before the 2016 elections.
In one of the most closely watched contests across the country, Republican Mark Harris edged out Dan McCready by less than 2,000 votes, according to unofficial returns. Harris declared victory Tuesday night, but the race may be too close to call. McCready has not conceded the race and is waiting for official tallies to be reported. Harris unseated incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary. If all holds, Harris will have narrowly bested McCready to maintain Republican control of the seat, with the help of voters in Union and Bladen Counties carrying him across the finish line.
Republican incumbent Ted Budd defeated Democratic challenger Kathy Manning to retain his seat in the 13th District. This will be Budd’s second term in Congress. The district includes part of Guilford County, but mostly lies west of the Triad. Budd captured 51.5 percent of the vote compared to 45.5 percent for Manning.
North Carolina General Assembly
Across the state, Democrats largely defended their incumbent seats and were able to flip a number of Republican-held suburban districts, contributing to Democrats breaking the Republican’s supermajority in the House of Representatives. Democrats appear to have a net gain of nine seats in the House (defeating eight Republican incumbents and picking up three open seats, while losing two seats they currently hold). While several races remain close and are subject to recount, Republicans appear to have a 66-54 majority in the next state House of Representatives.
Democrats made gains in the state Senate as well, needing to gain six seats in order to break the supermajority in that chamber. Democrats appear to have accomplished this by defeating five Republican incumbents and picking up an open seat while retaining all of the seats they currently hold. While several races remain close and are subject to recount, Republicans appear to have a 29-21 majority in the next state Senate.
NC House of Representatives
Democrats nearly swept the Mecklenburg County House districts, with Republican Bill Brawley edging out Rachel Hunt by 52 votes to defend his seat. Hunt can request a recount. Republicans Andy Dulin, Scott Stone and John Bradford were all unseated by Democrat opponents. Bradford was narrowly defeated by less than 400 votes and may request a recount. Democrats Nasif Majeed and Carolyn Logan each claimed victories. Majeed unseated incumbent Rodney Moore in the May primary election and Logan filled the District 101 seat vacated by retiring Rep. Beverly Earle.
Democrats swept contests for State House in Wake County, defeating three Republican incumbents in the process. Democrat Terence Everitt defeated incumbent Chris Malone in District 35, Democrat Sydney Batch defeated newly appointed incumbent John Adcock in District 37, and in the county’s closest race, Democrat Julie von Haefen defeated incumbent Nelson Dollar by a vote of 49 percent to 48 percent. Rep. Dollar currently serves as Senior Appropriations Chair in the House. In the county’s only other competitive House race, Democratic incumbent Joe John defeated Republican Marilyn Avila, the former representative from the district, in a rematch of the 2016 election.
Other incumbents that appear to have lost seats are Rep. Mike Clampitt (R- Swain), Rep. George Graham (D-Lenoir), Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe), and Rep. Bobbie Richardson (D-Franklin).
Political newcomer Natasha Marcus unseated Republican Sen. Jeff Tarte to represent the western Mecklenburg 41st District and Democrat Mujtaba Mohammed won the 38th District after unseating incumbent Sen. Joel Ford in the May primary. Incumbent Dan Bishop was the only Mecklenburg Republican to defend his Senate seat, representing District 39.
Democrats had a strong night in Wake County’s Senate contests. Democratic incumbents Dan Blue and Jay Chaudhuri each won reelection with more than 70 percent of the vote in their respective races. Democrat Wiley Nickel won his race in District 16 with more than 65 percent of the vote. District 16 had no incumbent as the district was newly drawn as a result of court-ordered redistricting. Democratic challenger Sam Searcy defeated Republican incumbent Tamara Barringer in District 17.The county’s closest Senate race was in District 18, in which Republican incumbent John Alexander appears to have held off a challenge from Democrat Mack Paul. Alexander leads the race by 430 votes out of more than 76,000 votes cast.
Other incumbents that appear to have lost their seats are Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), Sen. Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland), and Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford). However, in each of these races, the incumbent trails the challenger by less than a percentage point.
North Carolina Appellate Courts
Democrats performed well in the North Carolina appellate court races as well. Anita Earls defeated incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson and Chris Anglin to gain a seat on the state Supreme Court. This shifts the partisan balance of the Court to a 5-2 Democratic majority. In addition, Democrats appear to have won all three state Court of Appeals races on the ballot last night. Toby Hampson has a comfortable lead over two Republican opponents in one of the races, while John Arrowood and Allegra Collins each has less than a 2-point lead in their respective races. Some precincts still have not reported complete results.
North Carolina Constitutional Amendments
North Carolina voters approved four of six constitutional amendments on the ballot last night. Results were as follows:
- Amendment One – Protecting the Right to Hunt and Fish. 57% For, 43% Against
- Amendment Two – Strengthening Victims’ Rights. 62% For, 38% Against.
- Amendment Three – Maximum Income Tax Rate of 7 percent. 57% For, 43% Against.
- Amendment Four – Require Photo ID to Vote. 55% For, 45% Against.
- Amendment Five – Bipartisan Judicial Merit Commission. 67% Against, 33% For.
- Amendment Six – Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections. 62% Against, 38% For.
Charlotte / Mecklenburg County
Democrats swept the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners as they defended incumbent seats and unseated all three Republicans on the board. At-large Democrats Pat Cotham, Ella Scarborough and Trevor Fuller retained their seats, and Republicans Bill James, Matthew Ridenhour, and Jim Puckett each lost their district seats to Democratic challengers Susan McDowell, Susan Harden and Elaine Powell, respectively. Unopposed Democrat incumbents Vilma Leake, and George Dunlap, secured their seats, and unopposed newcomer Mark Jerrell replaced Dumont Clarke in District 4. This election marks the first time Democrats have held unanimous control of the commission since 1966.
Additionally, Democrats were unopposed in securing District Attorney, Sheriff, and Clerk of Superior Court races.
Charlotte voted “yes” to approve three bond packages that will provide for streets, housing and neighborhood improvement projects. Citywide improvements will include $118 million for streets and transportation, $50 million for affordable housing and $55 million for neighborhood improvement projects.
Raleigh / Wake County
In Wake County, Democrats maintained firm control of county government. First, Democrats retained their 7-0 advantage on the Wake Board of County Commissioners, winning each seat with at least 60% of the vote.
Lorrin Freeman, the Democrat incumbent, won re-election as District Attorney. In addition, the Democratic challengers for Sheriff and Clerk of Superior Court defeated Republican incumbents in those races.
Voters in Wake County also approved three bond initiatives totaling more than $1 billion in newly authorized debt – $548 million for public schools, $349 million to expand Wake Technical Community College, and $120 million for parks and greenways.