The people of NC spoke with their vote Tuesday and drowned the NCGOP supermajority in both the House and Senate*! 2019 will bring the return of Governor Cooper’s veto power and hopefully more balance and better representation from the General Assembly.
Congratulations to the winners and also to those who fought tough races but couldn’t break through in what remains one of the most heavily gerrymandered states in the country. Still.
Top Highlights from the Week
In North Carolina:
- 3,714,235* votes were cast in North Carolina, a 52% voter turnout, thanks in part to an increase in women and young voters. While many reports said this was the highest turnout since 1990, that’s not the whole truth. Since 1974, only 1990 has been higher than this election.
- Anita Earls was elected to the NC Supreme Court by more than 15 points! It’s poetic justice that after everything the NCGA supermajority threw at her, she won so handily. In addition, the 3 seats on the NC Court of Appeals were all won by Democratic candidates, ironically after the NCGOP decided to make judicial races partisan.
- Gerrymandering continues to have a huge impact in North Carolina. 49.7 percent of the state’s voters picked Democrats in US House of Representative races, but only three Democrats (23 percent) actually were elected, out of 13. These US Congressional districts have been ruled unconstitutional and ordered to be re-drawn before 2020.
- The two most egregious power grabbing constitutional amendments were defeated! 7 counties voted down all six amendments handily. While the early vote statewide was evenly split on PhotoID, the final tally showed it passed, along with the 3 other amendments. However, none of the amendments that passed have any detail about how they will be implemented. Since voters voted out the GOP supermajority, we believe no new legislation should be passed until the new legislature is seated.
- Democrats saw a blue wave in the NC House and Senate, breaking the supermajorities in both. Notably, Wake County voted out all incumbent House Republicans, and won 30 out of 32 competitive partisan races. To see the in depth details on each race and amendment (referenda) visit the NC State Board of Elections page and this detailed report by Real Facts NC. Mecklenburg County was also notable in flipping 5 of 6 legislative seats held by Republicans, provided the close lead held by Rachel Hunt holds after the final count.
- There’s a new sheriff in town! Pitt County elected the first female sheriff in all of NC, in Paula Dance! She is also Pitt County’s first African American sheriff. In addition, the state’s largest 7 counties replaced incumbent white sheriffs with African American men, a sweeping change for the state.
Nationally – Diversity wins in 2018!
- Democrats took back the House, as expected. What is more exciting is the diverse mix of Democrats that ran and won, creating the most diverse House of Representatives in US history. It’s about time our representatives looked like the people of America and not just one specific demographic.
- Speaking of which, a record number of women were elected to Congress. At the moment, 122 women will be representing their constituencies in the 116th Congress come January.
- Colorado elected it’s first openly gay Governor.
- In Houston, 19 black women ran for judicial seats and all 19 won!
- Florida saw the largest expansion of voting rights since the 1965 Voting Rights Act when voters restored the franchise to 1.4 million former felons. NC currently allows former felons who have completed their sentencing requirements to vote.
*Votes are still being counted in several close races in NC. Nov. 15 is the deadline for remaining absentee ballots, and the next count update will be Nov. 16.