Local Politics

Will N.C. Senate Dems see red after election?

Posted October 14, 2008

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— Democrats have controlled the state Senate since the 1870s, but a political analyst said that reign could come to an end in three weeks.

John Davis, the former president of NCFREE, a non-partisan political research business association, has been tracking legislative races for 23 years. This year, he said, eight Democratic seats are vulnerable, which could shift the balance of power in the chamber.

Senate Democrats now hold a comfortable majority of 31 seats to 19 Republican seats.

"If you look at all the competitive districts, most are Republican-leaning held by Democrats," Davis said. "There's actually the possibility that Republicans could take over the Senate."

The eight key Senate races, according to Davis, are as follows:

  • District 5 in Greene, Pitt and Wayne counties, where Sen. John Kerr is retiring
  • District 8 in Brunswick, Columbus and Pender counties, held by Sen. R.C. Soles
  • District 9 in New Hanover County, held by Sen. Julia Boseman
  • District 24 in Alamance and Caswell counties, held by Sen. Tony Foriest
  • District 43 in Gaston County, held by Sen. David Hoyle
  • District 45 in Alexander, Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes counties, held by Sen. Steve Goss
  • District 46 in Cleveland and Rutherford counties, where Sen. Walter Dalton is running for lieutenant governor
  • District 47 in Avery, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties, held by Sen. Joe Sam Queen

In addition to the Republican-leaning districts in western North Carolina, some of the incumbents face legal and public relations problems, Davis said.

Soles' opponent, for example, publicly confronted him on rumors he faces a federal indictment. Soles has denied the rumors.

Boseman is under investigation for forging campaign finance reports. She also has been involved in a high-profile custody battle with her former partner.

Also, Hoyle has been criticized for voting to fund a toll road in Gaston County that would run near property he plans to develop.

"The Democrats know they are on the defensive in a lot of different districts. The good news is they have the resources and grassroots effort to compete," Democratic political consultant Brad Crone said.

The Democratic candidates in those eight races have raised more than three times as much money as their GOP opponents, $1.1 million to $320,000, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

"All of the races are close, but I think the Democrats will hold on to a 26-24 lead or a 27-23 majority," Crone said.

Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight also dismissed talk of a Republican takeover, noting the party's confidential polls show good numbers.

"I strongly believe he's inaccurate," Basnight said of Davis' predictions. "The worst we'll see is 29 Democratic seats, and the best we'll see is 33."

Senate Republicans are just as confident of victory, and they have planned a Wednesday news conference to outline their legislative priorities if they win a majority.


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  • The Fox Oct 15, 2008

    Change We can Believe In.

  • Boot-the-DC-Tyrant Oct 15, 2008

    I hope this will be the case! I'm sick of being the highest taxed state in the country!

  • jbyrd Oct 15, 2008

    Let's see now. Democrats have been in complete power of the state Senate, House and Govenorship for nearly 130 years here in North Carolina (except for a short time in the House and a couple terms at Govenor). So ANYTHING good or bad about how we have done can be laid SQUARELY on the Democrats shoulders.


  • tsquaring Oct 14, 2008

    No w would be a good time to see which assembly members wanted to give illegal aliens in state tuition. Check it out before you go vote.

  • davidaburton Oct 14, 2008

    I agree with the statement that we should vote out ALL INCUMBENTS. After this year's demonstration of fiscal responsibility by the Democrats, Speaker Jim Black, Wilmington Representative Wright, a 9 million dollar jet aircraft! For goodness sakes people, when are the masses going to wake up and vote people in that CUT STATE GOVERNMENT!!! If our government isn't so large then WE don't have to pay as much TAX!

  • dogeatdog Oct 14, 2008

    I live in State Senate District 5. Louis Pate, the Republican candidate, is a good friend of mine. He was mayor of Mt. Olive and has served 2 or 3 terms in the House. He is truly a humble servant of the people and I hope he wins. North Carolina does need to give the Republicans a chance at leadership for once..if they mess it up, they can be voted out, but look where the Dems have gotten us..corruption, highest taxes in the southeast, too much government interference in our lives. Go Louis Pate!

  • Boot-the-DC-Tyrant Oct 14, 2008

    We're sock of being taxed to death and seeing all the pork barrel spending that Easely has been involved in!!!

  • Eduardo1 Oct 14, 2008

    Typical as in the Presidential, Governor & US Senate, they have so much money, they can by elections, no matter how much filth is around them. How about the continuing scandal with groups such as ACORN, etc

  • ckblackm Oct 14, 2008

    Vote out all incumbents... regardless of party.

  • Myword Oct 14, 2008

    Rip...sure. If ACORN predicted a dem victory I wouldn't spend a lot of time on it either. Nor give it a big story.