Concessions, Recounts, and Power Shifts: NC Elections Update

North Carolina House of Representatives meet at the General Assembly Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (North State Journal/Eamon Queeney)

RALEIGH – There is one less state legislative race too close to call as Erica McAdoo concedes to incumbent Republican deputy majority leader Stephen Ross (R-Alamance), while others remain headed for likely recounts. That officially saves one leadership post for Republicans, while another couple appear fleeting.

As of Friday, all counties will begin finalizing absentee and provisional votes to determine which races meet the threshold for recounts.

That deadline is being minded by  Rep. Bill Brawley (R-Mecklenburg) as absentee ballots put his opponent Rachel Hunt ahead by just 68 votes. Brawley has officially asked for a recount in hopes of saving his Republican seat and backing up the only other surviving Republican in the county, Sen. Dan Bishop.

If the results stand, Brawley, who chairs the influential House Finance Committee, would be the county’s fifth Republican lawmaker to fall in the election. His loss would leave GOP Sen. Dan Bishop as the only Republican in the county’s 17-member legislative delegation.

Hunt, a first-time candidate, is the daughter of four-term Gov. Jim Hunt.


The race was one of North Carolina’s most expensive legislative contests. Hunt raised over $1.2 million and got about $900,000 in support from the state Democratic Party. Brawley raised over $410,000.

Hunt’s father, Jim Hunt, gave the party $325,000 this year, according to reports filed with the state board of elections. The state party spent over $16 million on elections.”

The Democrats seriously outraised key Republican leaders and took them to the woodshed in urban/suburban districts, as evidenced by this and the defeat of House budget leader Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake). Still, both of those races were given considerable attention by the Party powers, while other races were neglected altogether, in an effort to protect the circle of leadership. Those losses, in districts we know Republicans CAN win, can actually turn into opportunities to run solid primary candidates and turn lemons into lemonade come 2020.

The same silver lining could be gleaned from another suburban Republican whose impending defeat is apparent.

“[…] Thursday night, Democrat Christy Clark saw her lead grow over Republican Rep. John Bradford. Clark, who led by 333 votes on election night, increased her margin to 413 votes, according to election officials. Clark’s campaign said that put the race outside the margin for a recount.

“Now that all the votes have been counted, I would like to thank John Bradford for his commitment to public service and his work on behalf of this district and the state of North Carolina,” Clark said in a statement.”

Other Senate races are still going down to the wire as these words are written.

With a new, smaller majority – however small it ends up – there will be a fair amount of movement within the caucus, on the House side especially, as leadership elections await, with the race for Speaker being the most interesting. We’ll keep an eye out for who gets called upon to fill out the ranks. The impending vote for speaker.

In the meantime, these races will settle and Republicans can take solace in their last convening with veto override assurances; there is a special legislative session coming up soon.

Read more here.

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