While some votes here in North Carolina remain to be counted, we can nevertheless make some interesting observations from this week’s elections. I will address two of them in this post.
1.) Troxler leading Republican vote getter, new Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and Treasurer Dale Folwell also received more votes that Donald Trump
In the race for Lt. Governor, Republican Mark Robinson became the first African American Lt. Governor by defeating Yvonne Lewis Holly by a 51.6% to 48.3% margin. Somewhat surprisingly, Robinson received more votes than President Trump, by a margin of 2,773,751 to 2,732,084. Most, if not all, of the 41,667 vote advantage for Robinson can likely be explained by the combined 54,596 presidential votes received by Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen and Constitution Party candidate Don Blankenship. There were no third (or fourth) party candidates in the Lt. Governor’s race.
Meanwhile, State Treasurer Dale Folwell won reelection with 2,786,254 votes, more than both Robinson and Trump, while Mike Causey was reelected to Insurance Commissioner with about 17,000 more votes than Trump. Interestingly, the top vote getter of any candidate on the ballot was Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who won reelection with 2,874,607 votes – more than Trump, Gov. Cooper or Sen. Thom Tillis. This result serves a strong reminder of the important position agriculture still holds in North Carolina’s economy and culture.
2.) Lt. Gov. Dan Forest underperformed Trump, other Republican Council of State candidates
Forest received 2,563,258 votes – 168,826 fewer than Trump and fewer still than the other Republican Council of State races mentioned above. Indeed, of the ten Council of State races, Forest received the fewest votes of any Republican candidate. The next lowest total was E.C. Sykes, candidate for Secretary of State who garnered 2,605,703 votes, nearly 42,000 more than Forest.
While Forest underperformed his peers, Gov. Cooper outperformed his; he received nearly 150,000 more votes than Joe Biden. Indeed, Cooper was the second leading vote getter of any candidate of any party on the ballot, receiving 2,803,782 votes, roughly 70,000 more than even Trump.
Such figures tell us that a not insignificant number of Trump voters also voted Cooper. A quick review of some key counties tells us this trend was not isolated to large urban areas or blue counties.
In the state’s most populous county, which unsurprisingly heavily favored both Biden and Cooper, Forest’s vote total trailed Trump by nearly 17,000 while Cooper garnered nearly 21,000 more votes than Biden.
In similarly blue Mecklenburg County, Forest fell short of Trump by roughly 8,000 votes, while Cooper outperformed Biden by about 4,800 votes.
Solidly red Brunswick County, in the southeast corner of the state, was handily won by Trump and Forest. Even here, however, Forest’s support trailed Trump’s total by just over 4,000 votes, while Cooper enjoyed about 3,500 more votes than Biden.
Conservative Moore County, home to Pinehurst, Southern Pines and located just northwest of Fayetteville, saw easy wins for Forest and Trump. Forest nevertheless fell about 2,400 votes shy of Trump, while Cooper picked up nearly 2,200 more votes than Biden.
*Data for this article is taken from the NC State Board of Elections site, accessed on Nov. 5, 2020.