The happiest man on Election Night, at least here in North Carolina, was Senate pro tem Phil Berger.
Why? Not only did his son win a coveted seat on the Court of Appeals, Senate Republicans actually managed to gain a seat, against all odds, in a district drawn to elect a Democrat.
Who is Danny Earl Britt? No one seems to know, but he’ll be serving in the General Assembly next year, having managed to knock off Democrat Jane Smith in District 13 – Columbus and Robeson counties. And it wasn’t even close; he won by double-digits. (And speaking of Robeson County, who would have thought that it would go for Trump, Burr, and McCrory this year? And who imagined a scenario where McCrory would win Robeson County and lose statewide? Not this observer.)
With Britt’s win, we can now say definitively that Republicans have reached their ceiling in the State Senate. Then again, that’s what people were saying two years ago. The next-most Republican seat is Senate District 16 in the Cary/Raleigh area, won by Democrat Jay Chaudhuri with 65% of the vote. Somehow I doubt it will flip anytime soon.
Then again, maybe Senate Republicans will keep gaining one seat for perpetuity. If that’s the case, the body will be unanimously Republican in 2046. (And NC Senate Democrats will be in the same shape as Hawaii Senate Republicans are today – extinct.)
Finally, HB 2 proponents can point to Britt’s victory as a win for their cause. Senator Smith did not vote for the controversial legislation (she had an excused absence). Britt, as a rural Republican hailing from one of the most socially conservative areas of the state, is almost certainly a supporter.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: email@example.com.
I usually do my best to avoid ad hominem ‘attacks’, but why does Berger always look like a homeless man?? Maybe he could shave?
Actually, with the court-mandated redrawing of the lines next year, it could go either way, but I spot several Rep-leaning areas that are being “wasted” in Dem-safe districts….I suspect that those areas will be re-drawn into a more competitive, if not outright Rep-Leaning Senate district next year, thus the Senate Rep caucus may yet increase by another seat or two.
It IS possible that hurricane Matthew delivered the victory in Robeson County to Gov. McCrory . The Lumberton area was devastated by flood waters and thousands were homeless for weeks , some forever . The gov. responded well , as he should have , and was on the TV news and in the papers continuously . Throughout a weak four year administration doing many things wrong , the fires , storms and floods have been McCrory’s “bright” spots as he donned his emergency TV weatherman outfit and did his work for the people . Statewide polls suggest a 3-4 pt. resurgence by McCrory in the wake of Matthew and he might have lost by a wide margin without that unexpected disaster.
dude…the 16th senate seat is my district and it ain’t republican. my precinct is the most heavily voting Democratic precinct in the county. And prior to Jay being elected the seat was held by our NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL…Josh Stein for a number of years. And no the district will not be in the GOP column for a very long time. I am shocked…for someone who likes to list lots of numbers from elections etc..you got the 16th profile wrong. Woodhouse been feedin you to much airplane glue dude!!!
Well said Mr. Wynne! Republicans won——–humanity lost.