According to initial voting returns, Republican legislators seem likely to keep clear control of the North Carolina General Assembly, losing one seat overall in the House of Representatives but gaining a seat in the Senate.
In both houses the GOP apparently will keep veto-proof majorities, which will become more important if Democrat Roy Cooper holds on to his slim lead in the governor’s race.
According to the latest figures from the State Board of Elections, Republicans will hold a 74-46 edge in the House, and 35-15 in the Senate.
It should be kept in mind that some of the initial tallies are very close, and there’s a chance the final results could be different in some cases.
A three-fifths vote in each legislature chamber is needed to override a governor’s veto. In the House, this is 72 out of the 120 seats. In the Senate it is 30.
Democrats had hoped they could cut into Republican supermajorities, but seem to have fallen short. A supermajority allows the legislature to override vetoes by the governor. Since gaining supermajorities in both chambers in 2012, just two years after gaining control of both for the first time in history, the Republican-led legislature has overridden four of five gubernatorial vetoes.
Closer Look at Key Seats
The CPI compares votes cast for statewide races in each NC legislative district to votes cast statewide. The end result is a letter (D or R) followed by a number, indicating the extent to which each district leans one way or the other relative to the state as a whole. For example, a district whose voters gave 5 more percentage points to the statewide Democratic candidates compared to the statewide vote average for those Democratic candidates receives an index score of D+5.
The one seat that switched parties in the Senate was in District 13, where Democratic Sen. Jane Smith lost to Republican Danny Earl Britt Jr. Britt, who runs a law firm in Lumberton and is a major in the North Carolina National Guard, took better than 55 percent of the votes in a district that leans Democratic with a D+12 ranking on the CPI.
In the House, three seats previously held by Democrats were won by Republicans, while Democrats took four seats previously held by Republicans.
District 40 (R+3) Five-term incumbent Marilyn Avila (R-Wake) lost to a former judge, Democrat Joe John.
District 46 (D+4) Republican Brenden Jones beat Democrat Tim Benton and Libertarian Thomas Howell Jr. (Incumbent Democrat Ken Waddell did not seek re-election.)
District 49 (R+1) Republican incumbent Gary Pendleton (R-Wake) lost to Democrat Cynthia Ball.
District 51 (R+5) First-term incumbent Democrat Brad Salmon (D-Harnett) lost to Republican candidate John Sauls.
District 88 (R+6) Incumbent Rob Bryan lost his seat to Democrat Mary Belk.
District 92 (D+1) Chaz Beasley, a Democrat, defeated Beth Danae Caulfield. Caulfield was named the Republican candidate after Rep. Charles Jeter resigned his seat and declined to run for re-election, though he had won the primary.
District 119 (D+1) Incumbent Joe Sam Queen was defeated by Republican Mike Clampitt.