Last night showed the epic political battle we’ll be facing in the future both in North Carolina and across the country. The blue wave never materialized but a blue tide did roll in. When the votes are all counted, Democrats will likely picked up more than 35 Congressional districts and have a majority of 25 or so seats. They also picked up seven governorships. On the downside, they lost several US Senate seats with Arizona and Montana still out.
In North Carolina, we had a 52% turnout, huge for a Blue Moon election. Democrats appear to have broken the supermajority in both houses of the legislature, though there will almost certainly be recounts in races across the state. Anita Earls adds to the Democratic majority on the Supreme Court and Democrats won all three Court of Appeals seats up for election. Despite a lot of attention, Democrats couldn’t pick up any of the Congressional seats that were on the national radar. Four of the six constitutional amendments passed. On the down side, we’ll now have a voter ID law. On the upside, voters protected the power of the governor by voting against amendments that would strip his power of appointments.
According a several smart people on #NCPOL twitter, Republicans won 66 seats in the house to Democrats 54. However, Democrats received 51% of the overall vote to Republicans’ 48.5%. In the senate, Republicans won 29 seats (58%) but only 50.5% of the vote and Democrats 21 (42%), but got 48.5% of the vote. In Congress, Republicans won 50.3% of the overall vote but 77% of the seats (10-3). That’s the power of gerrymandering.
Nationally, Trump is calling the night a Republican victory. For a guy who is only concerned about himself, it was. The GOP victory in Senate races gives him hope for the electoral vote in 2020. Arizona and Florida, states with large Hispanic populations, responded to his message of scaring the base to the polls. That gives him some comfort in his re-election campaign. He’ll have a different view of the outcome when Democrats start investigating his administration and business dealings in January.
In North Carolina, we’ve proven that we are still one of the most evenly divided states in the nation. However, the divide is regional. Fast growing urban/suburban counties are increasingly Democratic while exurban and rural counties are moving further to the right. For instance, in rural Cleveland County, home to Speaker Tim Moore, almost every race in the county had the same margin, 65% Republican, 35% Democrat while in Wake, a relatively popular Republican sheriff lost to his Democratic challenger. Over time, the state will almost surely be more Democratic in statewide contests because of growth patterns, but gerrymandering could protect GOP majorities in the legislature and Congressional districts for years.
On another note, PoliticsNC analyst Darren Janz almost nailed his predictions in the legislature, with 98% accuracy in the house and 95% accuracy in the senate. Nice job, Darren!
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >