Just a few seats could shift balance of power in NC

Posted September 12
Updated September 13

— From House Bill 2 to the federal court's scolding of the Republican-led legislature over the voter ID law, voters statewide have expressed dissatisfaction with state lawmakers' work during the last session. Throw Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump into the mix, and there are plenty of reasons to bring voters to the polls in November.

While the presidential and gubernatorial races get lots of airtime and arguments on Facebook, it is members of the General Assembly who have the most direct impact on life and law in North Carolina. Will voters take out their frustrations on incumbents or return the Republicans to their super-majorities in the House ands the Senate?

The current makeup of the House has 74 Republicans, 45 Democrats and one unaffiliated lawmaker. On the Senate side, the Republican dominance is even bigger. The GOP holds more than double the number of seats Democrats do.

Most experts find it far-fetched to expect a flip in the balance of power, but a slight shift in the House and a gubernatorial victory by Democrat Roy Cooper would be enough to change the power dynamic in Raleigh.

A loss of just four seats in the House could pull Republicans below the three-fifths majority needed to override a gubernatorial veto, and that's a scenario that Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, thinks is a real possibility.

"Republicans have had the power to do pretty much what they wanted to do so far. A governor who can sustain a veto? That changes everything," said Republican strategist Carter Wrenn.

"You'll have a situation where Republicans pass something, Cooper vetoes it, Democrats sustain the veto. It keeps a lot of things from going into law," Jensen said.

Wrenn, a consultant for Republican campaigns in the state, said Trump's unfavorable numbers among suburban independents could cost Republican legislators their seats.

"In urban and suburban areas, Hillary (Clinton) is running stronger than Trump, unusually strong for a Democrat," Wrenn said, noting that independent voters who supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 may shift away from Trump.

Jensen agrees that Trump could serve as a drag on down-ballot Republicans.

"In the suburban areas of Raleigh and Charlotte, Donald Trump really hurts the Republican ticket. These are places that Mitt Romney won by 5 or 10 points in 2012. This time around we're seeing that Hillary Clinton's up by 5 or 10 points," he said.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Raleigh Rose Sep 13, 2:49 p.m.
    user avatar

    Governor McCrory and the GOP led NCGA have done enough harm to the state. From the number of laws they passed that are un-Constitutional and have had to be defended in court, then ruled unlawful, then you have to go through and spend money to change all the things they passed in the first place is beyond ridiculous. These people have cost the state thousands of jobs and millions of dollars. It's time for them to go.

  • Kenneth Jones Sep 13, 2:09 a.m.
    user avatar

    Throw Donald Trump into the mix? Really WRAL? The only reason I will be voting this year is to cast another vote against Hillary.

  • Sean Chen Sep 12, 9:42 p.m.
    user avatar

    Roy Cooper = Higher Taxes

    Roy Cooper = gets a paycheck, refuses to do his job

    Roy Cooper = throws NC under the bus by actively working to get out of state entities and business to BOYCOTT North Carolina

    Roy Cooper = eager to capitalize on the work of a sex offender (HB2 was the reaction to an illegal ordinance in Charlotte promoted by a convicted sex offender)

    Roy Cooper = his political aspirations before the economy of NC

  • Alan Womack Sep 12, 7:43 p.m.
    user avatar

    Give Roy some help and remove as many right wing politicians as possible. Replace Ralph Hise in Senate District 47 for a start.

  • Clarence Drumgoole Sep 12, 6:17 p.m.
    user avatar

    Democrat control is, inevitable. This not a Nation or State of Hate!