By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
November 6, 2020
Nearly 75 percent of North Carolina voters cast ballots in the 2020 election to seat eight Republicans and five Democrats in the U.S. House and presumably send GOP Sen. Thom Tillis to Washington for a second term. Republicans maintained control of both chambers of the N.C. Legislature and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper kept his seat for another term.
The presidential race remained too close to call as of Friday, with Trump leading Biden by just over one percentage point in North Carolina. The state’s mail-in and provisional votes were still being tallied. Still, GOP leaders made haste to tout the party’s victories in six of 10 Council of State races, including a historic win for Mark Robinson, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor. They were also quick to point out the party’s apparent sweep of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals races.
On Thursday, senior associate justice Paul Newby had a narrow lead over Cheri Beasley for Chief Justice’s role. Tamara Barringer and Phil Berger Jr. were also leading in their races for the N.C. Supreme Court. If the leads hold, the court will shift from a 6-1 majority Democrat to a more balanced 4-3 split.
State GOP Chairman Michael Whatley said during a post-election press conference that party leaders were tremendously excited to see their recently established judicial victory fund begin to bear fruit. Five Republican judges won Appeals Court races.
N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) told the press conference crowd that the judicial victories illustrate that Tar Heel voters know that Republicans stand for safety and security. Moore said as soon as election results are confirmed, it will be time for elected officials to put aside party affiliations and work together simply as Americans.
“I have talked to folks of all political stripes, and for these folks who want to tear these cities up, the people of North Carolina do not stand for that,” Moore said. “Our best days are those in which we can work together.”
Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger Sr. (R-Rockingham) said the election was an endorsement of GOP leaders’ work to keep the economy booming, keep taxes low, and give all students the same educational opportunities no matter their socioeconomic status.
In council of state elections, Republican incumbent Dale Folwell, state treasurer, and Democrat Elaine Marshall, secretary of state, appear to have kept their seats, as does Josh Stein (D), state attorney general; Beth Wood (D), auditor; Steve Troxler, (R), commissioner of agriculture and Mike Causey, (R), commissioner of insurance. Josh Dobson, (R), was elected commissioner of labor, taking the seat vacated by Cherie Berry, who retired after two decades.
Before Tuesday’s election, Republicans held 29 seats in the state Senate and 65 in the House. It now appears they will control 28 of 50 Senate slots and 69 House seats, maintaining their hold on both bodies, but needing to work with Democrats to pass veto-proof legislation.
In the U.S. House race, Democrat incumbents G.K. Butterfield and David E. Price kept Districts 1 and 4, respectively, while Dem. Deborah Ross, a five-term veteran of the State House, won N.C.’s 2nd District. Kathy Manning flipped District 6 from red to blue. And incumbent Alma Adams was unopposed for District 12.
GOP incumbent Greg Murphy held off his opponent to keep District 3; 15-year House veteran Virginia Foxx held District 5, and David Rouzer defended District 7. District 8 incumbent Richard Hudson sustained a challenge from former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson.
In other GOP wins, Dan Bishop won District 9; incumbent Patrick McHenry won District 10, and Ted Budd will serve a second term in District 13. Meanwhile, 25-year-old Madison Cawthorn became the youngest member of Congress in modern history, winning District 11.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Thom Tillis’ Senate race was the most expensive in U.S. history, with $282 million spent by the Tillis and Cal Cunningham campaigns and outside groups. While Tillis claimed victory in a speech Tuesday night, state election officials say there are still 117,000 outstanding absentee ballots that may not come in until next week. Tillis’ lead is roughly 97,000.
“The election results in North Carolina would suggest conservative evangelicals should expect to maintain the advances we’ve made in recent years with a Republican-dominated state legislature,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “I don’t mean to say there won’t be challenges from the Democrats; I think there will be. But with Dan Forest’s defeat and Roy Cooper’s re-election, the future looks bleak and profoundly difficult for any more advances. Cooper will veto them. The only way this can change is if Republicans were once again able to secure supermajorities in both chambers during the coming mid-term elections. Then our Republican friends could nullify his vetoes. Otherwise, the next four years look long and fraught with disappointments, with very little to no ground gained. That’s my determination from the results we’re seeing on the state-level now. Elections have consequences.”
Learn more on the state Board of Elections website.