By Rob Thompson
The surprising result of the presidential election has dominated the news and much of our attention over the past two weeks, but we must remember to pay close attention to the results of local and statewide races, which can have a profound and immediate impact on children and families. Below is a quick rundown of what happened at the state-level.
The race for governor remains undecided, though Attorney General Cooper holds a small, but significant lead of more than 6,000 votes over incumbent Governor Pat McCrory. Some counties are still counting absentee and provisional ballots, but up to this point, the additional ballots have increased Cooper’s lead. Yesterday, Gov. McCrory called for a recount, which he is allowed to do given that Cooper’s lead is less than 10,000 votes.
Gov. McCrory and the state Republican Party have filed dozens of complaints and are calling for investigations into what they claim is fraud in over 50 counties. They allege that felons with active sentences and dead people voted, but most of these allegations have been dismissed after examination. The State Board of Elections met yesterday to provide legal guidance for counties dealing with these complaints. (Click here for the News and Observer’s latest update on the recount, Gov. McCrory’s fraud accusations, and the ongoing legal battle.)
Regardless of the outcome of these inquiries, they are relatively few in number and unlikely to affect the final outcome of the election. However, some are speculating that they could be a strategy for calling into doubt the integrity of the election, which could open the door for the Republican-controlled legislature to utilize an obscure clause in the state constitution to intervene and decide the winner. Such a move is unlikely, but bears watching.
In terms of timing, the State Board of Elections will initiate a recount after the counties have completed their canvasses. At this point, that timing is unclear. Once the recount is complete, the State Board of Elections will certify the results.
Council of State
Republicans picked up key positions in three Council of State races. Mike Causey (R) defeated incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin (D); Mark Johnson (R) defeated incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson (D); and Dale Folwell (R) defeated Dan Blue III (D) for the open State Treasurer seat.
Here’s a rundown of the rest of the races:
- Democrat Josh Stein was elected Attorney General.
- Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest was re-elected.
- Democrat Secretary of State Elaine Marshall was re-elected
- Republican Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was re-elected.
- Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry was re-elected.
- Democrat Auditor Beth Wood leads her opponent Chuck Stuber (R) by around 3,000 votes. Like Gov. McCrory, Stuber has requested a recount.
Republicans maintained super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature, though some significant seats did flip on the House side. With super-majorities in both chambers, Republicans can override gubernatorial vetoes and pass constitutional amendments with no Democratic votes.
Republicans will once again control 74 or the 120 seats in the state house, leaving Democrats with 46 seats. While the size of their majority is the same, two key Republican lawmakers from Wake county lost their seats, Rep. Marilyn Avila and Rep. Gary Pendleton, though Rep. Avila has asked for a recount. Rep. Rob Bryan (R) from Mecklenburg county was defeated as well.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Joe Sam Queen lost his seat to Mike Clampitt. For a full district-by-district summary of state house results, click here.
In the state senate, Republicans increased their majority by one seat to 35-15 as a result of J.R. Britt’s victory over Democratic incumbent Sen. Jane Smith. For a full district-by-district summary of state senate results, click here.
NC Child congratulates and looks forward to working with all of the winners of the 2016 election. We hope that their commitment to making our state the best place to be and raise a child will transcend partisan differences and lead to progress for children and families.