In NC: A good night for Republicans
Posted November 6, 2012
Updated November 7, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Yes, Barack Obama will get another term as president. And if you're a Republican, that probably doesn't make you happy.
But if you're a Republican in North Carolina, there is plenty of good news for your party to assuage the sting.
Even where Republicans lost in high-profile state races Tuesday, they won.
Think that sounds funny?
Consider: Republican candidate for auditor Debra Goldman lost her bid to unseat Democrat Beth Wood. But Wood was well-liked among Republicans, and Goldman has been dogged by scandal. A Goldman win would have dragged what is now a local brouhaha further into a statewide spotlight.
Elsewhere, North Carolina turned red.
“It was good from the top down, from the bottom up," North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said. "Working with our friends across the aisle will be a good solid time ahead for economic growth.
“You will see a lot of cooperation. You will see smaller government,” Hayes said.
IN CONGRESS: No fewer than nine of North Carolina's congressional seats will be in Republican hands. Democrats will hold three. The 7th Congressional District, where incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre is trying to hold off a challenge from Republican state Sen. David Rouzer, was too close to call at midnight.
That's quite a shift from the current breakdown, where Democrats hold a 7-6 edge.
FOR GOVERNOR: Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory easily bested Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. McCrory, a Republican, lead for pretty much the entire campaign, and he gives the GOP control of the governor's mansion for the first time in 20 years.
AT THE LEGISLATURE: Republicans appear to have expanded their hold on the state House and state Senate.
The Republicans' current Senate majority is 31-19. It appears from early returns the GOP will expand that edge by at least one. Senate District 1, where incumbent Democrat Stan White holds a slim lead over Republican Bill Cook, appears to be too close to call Tuesday night.
In the House, Republicans had held 68 of 120 seats. From early, unofficial returns, it looks like they'll hold 77 of 120 seats.
Keep in mind, the threshold for overriding gubernatorial vetoes and sending constitutional amendments to the voters is 72 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate.
If they can work together, Republicans can remake state government unfettered by Democratic opposition.
“Our tax system is a mess. Our education system, particularly K-12, is dysfunctional. Our regulatory climate is strangling business," House Majority Leader Paul Stam said. "Between those foci, we have a lot to do.”
The only hitch in the legislative giddy-up is if Democrat Linda Coleman manages to pull out a win over Republican Dan Forest in the lieutenant governor's race. The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate, although he or she doesn't have the power to set the rules or appoint committees.
IN THE COURTS: Paul Newby will serve another eight years on the state Supreme Court. Although the race is nonpartisan, Newby is a Republican and got millions of dollars worth of help from Republican-allied independent expenditure groups. His Democrat-backed rival, Sam Ervin IV, got some outside help but not nearly as much.
This keeps the partisan mix on the court at 4-3. Although the court is typically nonpartisan in its decision making, Republicans see Newby as a key to holding on to key legislative victories. In particular, Newby is seen as more likely to rule that state legislative maps are constitutional and is more likely to be kindly disposed to GOP-backed reforms such as a recent medical malpractice law.
So is there a bright spot or two for Democrats?
Aside from the president winning the national election? Not much.
Democrats like Treasurer Janet Cowell, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall managed to hold onto their seats. While those aren't the highest profile positions, they do have some limited ability to affect policy.