GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Republicans in North Carolina didn’t quite gain a House supermajority on Election Day — but they did in the Senate.
With about 98% of statewide precincts reporting, the GOP appears to have gained two seats needed in the Senate while falling one short in the House.
The GOP was seeking a supermajority — or three-fifths of the seats — to give them sufficient votes to do their part in overriding vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. They had such power in much of the previous decade before court-ordered redistricting maps took away a few seats in 2020.
Getting to that level of control requires 30 of 50 seats in the Senate and 72 of 140 in the House; The GOP needed two in the Senate and three in the House.
“We stopped a GOP supermajority tonight when North Carolinians voted for balance and progress,” Cooper said in a Tweet. “I’ll continue to work with this legislature to support a growing economy, more clean energy, better health care and strong public schools.”
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) issued a statement celebrating the “supermajority” in the Senate.
“This election has been a barometer for where voters want their state and country to go,” he said. “The Republican platform of low taxes, job creation, expanded parental choice, and quality education, is one that reflects the needs of all North Carolinians. Tonight’s results prove just that.
“Our promise to the people of North Carolina is that the Senate Republican supermajority will continue to deliver on those priorities.”
The Senate in the 2022 short session passed three measures that Cooper supports, but the House hasn’t agreed on their versions (although it had passed similar bills earlier): Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana and sports gambling.
Republicans had anticipated a supermajority would allow them nearly unfettered control of the state budget, future redistricting and even further limits to the 20-week abortion limitation that took effect after the Supreme Court struck down the limits set in Roe v. Wade.
All incumbents in the Piedmont Triad held onto their seats, but there were opportunities because five of those 22 Democrats in the Senate – Don Davis of District 5, Valerie Foushee of District 23, Wiley Nickel of District 16, Ben Clark of District 21 and Jeff Jackson of District 37 – were candidates for Congress, meaning their spots are at least vacant. Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards of District 48 also is running for the U.S. House.
In two House districts in the Triad that were rated as possible flips, Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Whitsett) in District 59 and Rep. John Faircloth (R-High Point) in District 62 both won close victories. Rep. Jeff Zenger (R-Lewisville) in District 74, narrowly held off Carla Catalan Day of Winston-Salem.
But one seat Republicans did flip was in District 63, where incumbent Rep. Ricky Hurtado (D-Graham) lost to Republican Stephen Ross of Burlington by 658 votes (51.2% to 48.8%).
SENATE: State Sen. Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) again will serve Rockingham and a portion of Guilford County in District 26. He will be joined in representing the Piedmont Triad in the Senate by Joyce Krawiec (R-Kernersville) in District 31, newcomer Eddie Settle (R-Wilkes County) in District 36 and veteran Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine) in District 37.
HOUSE: Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Greensboro) is headed back to Raleigh, and in the Triad she will be joined by Wayne Sasser (R-Albermarle) in District 67, Kanika Brown (D-Winston-Salem) in District 71, Donny Lamberth (R-Winston-Salem) in District 75, Julia C. Howard (R-Mocksville) in District 77, Sarah Stevens (R-Mount Airy) in District 90 and Kyle Hall (R-King) in District 91.
Dennis Shane Miller, a Democrat from Thomasville running in House District 80, left the race, leaving incumbent Republican Sam Watford of Thomasville without opposition (although Miller said he withdrew too late to have his name removed from the ballot). That meant six Republicans and two Democrats just from the 14 counties of the Piedmont Triad who are returning to the House, as are four of the 11 Senate candidates.
Triad Senate winners
District 23: State Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Chapel Hill).
District 25: Incumbent Sen. Amy Scott Galey (R-Burlington).
District 26: Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) was unopposed.
District 27: Incumbent Michael Garrett (D-Greensboro).
District 28: Incumbent Gladys Robinson (D-Greensboro).
District 29: Incumbent Sen. David Craven (R-Asheboro).
District 30: Incumbent Sen. Steve Jarvis (R-Lexington).
District 31: Incumbent Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Kernersville) was unoppposed.
District 32: Incumbent Sen. Paul Lowe Jr. (D-Winston-Salem).
District 36: Eddie Settle (R-Elkin) was unopposed.
District 37: Incumbent Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine) was unopposed.
Triad state House winners
District 50: Renee Price (D-Hillsborough).
District 54: Incumbent Rep. Robert T. Reives (D-Goldston).
District 57: Incumbent Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D-Greensboro).
District 58: Incumbent Rep. Amos Quick (D-Greensboro).
District 59: Incumbent Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Whitsett).
District 60: Incumbent Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-High Point).
District 61: Incumbent Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Greensboro) was unopposed.
District 62: Incumbent Rep. John Faircloth (R-High Point).
District 63: Stephen Ross (R-Burlington).
District 64: Dennis Riddell (R-Snow Camp).
District 65: Incumbent Rep. Reece Pyrtle (R-Stoneville).
District 67: Wayne Sasser (R-Albermarle) was unopposed.
District 70: Brian Biggs (R-Trinity).
District 71: Kanika Brown (D-Winston-Salem) was unopposed.
District 72: Incumbent Rep. Amber M. Baker (D-Winston-Salem).
District 74: Incumbent Rep. Jeff Zenger (R-Lewisville).
District 75: Incumbent Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Winston-Salem) was unopposed.
District 77: Incumbent Rep. Julia C. Howard (R-Mocksville) was unopposed.
District 78: Erik Davis (D-Asheboro), Neal Jackson (R-Robbins).
District 80: Incumbent Rep. Sam Watford (R-Thomasville).
District 81: Incumbent Rep. Larry Potts (R-Lexington.
District 90: Sarah Stevens (R-Mount Airy) was unopposed.
District 91: Incumbent Rep. Kyle Hall (R-King) was unopposed.
District 93: Incumbent Rep. Ray Pickett (R-Blowing Rock).
Rep. Amos Quick: “I favor Medicaid expansion. I am opposed to sports betting. And any bill that legalizes marijuana in NC would have to address the historic and disproportionate impact that previous marijuana legislation has had in our community in my opinion.“
Hardister agrees on some points, although he’s cagey about Medicaid. “Yes, I believe doctors should have the ability to prescribe cannabis for medical use,” he said.
Rep. Brockman says he thinks it’s important that “North Carolina changes the minimum wage into a living wage so that anybody and everybody who wants to work can experience the American Dream. Similarly, I believe that affordable housing should be accessible to anyone making what North Carolina considers a living wage.”
Sen. Amy Galey says she voted for Medicaid expansion and against sports betting. “Medical marijuana: I voted for the Senate bill because it was narrowly tailored to give comfort in certain very difficult situations, like terminal illness.”
Sen. Garrett is for all three: “I fully and unreservedly support expanding Medicaid,” he said. “I also support legal sports betting as outlined in legislation recently considered by the General Assembly and support the legalization of medical marijuana.”
But what about the issue of legalized abortion?
“If a constitutional amendment is proposed to protect access to legal abortion, I will certainly support it,” Sen. Gladys Robinson said. “The issue in North Carolina is getting the issue put on a ballot to be voted on by citizens since Republicans control the legislature and are against it.”
Said Sen. Jarvis: “I think we need to follow the science, if your heart quits beating you are considered medically dead, therefore if you have a heartbeat, you are alive.”
Rep. Clemmons said that she is “focused on solving problems and investing in the futures of the people of our state.” A lifelong educator, she said her priorities include “to continue to advocate for a strong public education system that trusts and invests in our children and educators.”