NC voters usher in GOP governor, legislature
While Republicans were licking their wounds across the nation after the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama Tuesday, the GOP in North Carolina were celebrating history with the election of Gov.-elect Pat McCrory.
McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, handily defeated Democrat Lt. Gov. Walton Dalton 54 to 43 percent in a race for governor where the outcome was never in doubt. McCrory is the first Republican in 20 years to win the NC Governor’s Office, the third in North Carolina history, and for the first time ever, will govern with a Republican-led NC General Assembly.
That means North Carolinians can expect a Gov. McCrory to sign a new, restrictive photo voter ID law as soon as the GOP legislature passes it next session. Citizens can also expect major education reforms, policies favoring big business, and cuts to social programs for the poor.
McCrory said he prided himself on winning office by only pushing a positive message of leadership. However, campaign advertising run on behalf of McCrory against Walter Dalton by outside 527 groups portrayed the Democrat as a tax-and-spend liberal.
“Our goal was not just to become governor and get elected,” McCrory told well-wishers on Election Night in Charlotte Tuesday. “Our goal was to be governor, and lead.”
What is also means is that for at least the next four years, Republicans will be completely in charge of North Carolina’s economy, advances in education and overall progress. And thanks to GOP-drawn redistricting maps, the Republicans can rule the General Assembly for at least the next ten years, unless the courts strike the plan, which is currently in litigation, down.
That’s one of the reasons why Republicans poured at least a million dollars into the state Supreme Court race backing incumbent GOP Associate Justice Paul Newby over state Appellate Court Judge Sam Ervin IV. Newby won that nonpartisan race Tuesday, thus maintaining the Republican majority on the NC High Court to protect the GOP maps.
Current Gov. Beverly Perdue congratulated McCrory, promising him that her staff will cooperate to ensure a smooth transition by the time he is sworn in at the end of the year.
One key element that remains unanswered at press time Wednesday is who will serve as the state’s new lieutenant governor. With 100 percent of precincts across the state reporting in, Republican businessman Dan Forrest and Democrat Linda Coleman are knotted at 50 percent each. However, because Forrest holds an 11,000 vote lead, he has already claimed victory.
The final count won’t be known until all outstanding provisional ballots are counted.
If Forrest, a Tea Partier, ultimately wins the tight race, then a Gov. McCrory will be pushed from his right on policies.
If Coleman somehow wins as lt. governor, then the Democrat is expected to urge McCrory to build bridges to legislative Democrats for the purpose of bipartisanship once in office.
A breakdown of the final votes for McCrory and Dalton show that Dalton actually beat McCrory in the One Stop early and absentee votes by well over 80,000 votes. But on Election Day, Dalton was crushed by over 300,000 votes polling for McCrory.
“We knew it was tough when we got into this race, and we did the best we could with limited resources,” Lt. Gov. Dalton told sad supporters Tuesday night during his concession speech. “We have not lost because we have been on the side of opportunity and progress for this state.”
In other election night news, NC House Republicans gained a 77-43 member super-majority in the Legislature, while the state Senate also maintained its GOP majority 32-18.
However the Democratic crossover vote that Pat McCrory enjoyed to win the gubernatorial race, did not translate to coattails for other Republican candidates running for the NC Council of State.
All of the Democratic incumbents won re-election, including State Auditor Beth Wood over troubled Republican challenger Debra Goldman of the Wake County School Board; NC Supt. of Public Instruction June Atkinson defeating John Tedesco, also of the Wake County School Board; and NC Sec. of State Elaine Marshall winning over Republican Ed Goodwin.
For Congress, Democratic Dist. 1 Congressman G. K. Butterfield; Republican Dist 2 Congresswoman Renee Ellmers; Republican Walter Jones in Dist. 3; Democrat David Price in Dist. 4; and Democratic Congressman Mel Watt in Dist. 12 were all winners.
In District 8, incumbent Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell lost to Republican Richard Hudson after black Democrats, accusing Kissell of ignoring their issues, deserted him for a write-in Democrat candidate.
And in District 7 the race between Democratic incumbent Congressman Mike McIntyre and Republican challenger state Sen. David Rouzer stands at 50 percent each, as McIntyre leads by just over 500 votes.
In the nonpartisan Appellate Court judge races, judges Wanda Bryant and Linda McGee were easily re-elected, while incumbent Judge Cressie Thigpen fell to Chris Dillion, 53 to 47 percent.