Election night 2016 did not go as planned for many. If you are (or were) an ardent follower of Nate Silver, you felt pretty durn confident you knew something others didn’t know. Clinton would be elected president, Ross would be North Carolina’s second female senator, and McCrory would hang onto the Governor’s mansion by a slim margin. Here’s hoping you didn’t bet the farm on those speculations because you would be needing to find a new place to live.
Donald Trump’s claim that he knew something about the electorate that the pollsters didn’t proved true, and in what has become a hallmark of his candidacy, Trump won despite pundits’ claims he would never make it past the primary. Senator Richard Burr soundly defeated Deborah Ross for North Carolina Senate, and Attorney General Roy Cooper will be moving to Blount Street come January.
It remains to be seen how a new president and governor will affect North Carolina, but it’s probably safe to say we should expect change. President-elect Trump campaigned on altering or eliminating existing trade agreements and doing away with H-1B visas—a staple in the RTP and Charlotte workforce. Both the change in trade agreements and visas could have major impacts on North Carolina.
Governor-elect Cooper campaigned on repealing HB2. Pundits identified the amount of money lost in North Carolina due to companies and organizations leaving the state in protest of the “bathroom bill” as the main factor in McCrory being a one term governor. Additionally, Charlotteans who had elected him as mayor seven times, were not happy with his stance on the I-77 toll road. McCrory lost his home county by 136,628 votes and the general election by nearly 10,000 votes.
In a surprising upset, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin lost his reelection bid to Mike Causey. North Carolina’s insurance commissioner oversees the Rate Bureau which sets rates for home, auto, and workers’ comp insurance (though not health insurance), oversees the office of the state fire marshal, and oversees bail bondsmen, among other responsibilities.
North Carolina’s Supreme Court will now have a Democratic majority. Mike Morgan defeated Bob Edmunds to become the next chief justice. And while it was expected that the Republican super-majority would be broken, Democrats only picked up one House seat and lost an additional Senate seat. So even with the surprising defeats of Republicans Gary Pendleton and Marilyn Avila, the makeup of the General Assembly will remain largely the same.
Not since Democratic Governor Bob Jordan and Republican Lt. Governor Jim Martin has North Carolina split parties between the two offices. So with a Democratic governor, Republican Lt. Governor, and majority Republican General Assembly, the next few years could be very interesting.