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REPORT: NC Legislature Races to Watch 2018

With Democrats in 170 legislative seats, Republicans in 169, and even Libertarians filing in 35 legislative districts, 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal legislative elections in North Carolina history. And with no race on the ballot above Supreme Court, these elections will get more attention than ever before.

This report combines an analysis of district voting data, national and state polling plus qualitative factors like local issues and relative candidate strength. In total, we think that 36 House races and 13 Senate races are shaping up to have competitive campaigns run by both of the major parties in districts that could conceivably go to either. We have also identified a handful of other races worth keeping an eye on for other reasons.

We’ll look at the 36 House races and 13 Senate races we think will be the most competitive in the fall and a handfull of other races we think will be interesting to watch for other reasons. 

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These 39 Republicans said they thought judges should be elected, rulings against their unconstitutional laws might have changed that

In 2012 Civitas asked candidates for office in NC if judges should continue to be elected by the voters. (2012 was the last time Civitas posted a survey.)

The answer from those that filled it out was a resounding yes.

27 current Republican members of the House said they agreed with the statement “Judges should continue to be elected by the voters.”

This included members such as Chris Malone, Debra Conrad, Ted Davis, and Jonathan Jordan.

Despite the widespread support for Judicial elections amongst the Republican caucus, rumors and even threats swirl that the Republican majorities in the legislature are considering moving to a legislative appointment process in the wake of several legal losses.

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A day late and a dollar short: Real Facts NC's step-by-step guide to remembering who sits on the committee you chair

After 13 years in the NC House of Representatives, even the simple tasks can apparently become confusing.

Just ask Representative Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), who, in yesterday’s House Appropriations Committee meeting, could hardly remember who belongs to the committee (of which he is the senior chairman) and who doesn’t.

After Representative Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) raised her hand to debate an amendment and said her name aloud when Dollar failed to identify her from the front of the room, he asked, “Representative Harrison, are you on this committee?” to which she answered, “I am.”

 

To prevent this from happening again, Real Facts NC has compiled a step-by-step manual to help Rep. Dollar and any other weary members of the General Assembly remember the names and positions of their own colleagues.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe, Watauga)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Rep. Jonathan Jordan, the Republican Representative from District 93. He was first elected in 2010 in a victory decided by fewer than 800 votes. He currently chairs the committees on Education, Homelessness, Foster Care and Dependency, the House Select Committee on Administrative Procedure Laws, and House Judiciary III. Jordan, an attorney, spent two years as the first research director at the conservative John Locke Foundation from 1997-1999, a 501(C)(3) research institute that espouses conservative ideals. He also served as the director for a tax-exempt pregnancy care center in Ashe County with the primary purpose of pseudo-science anti-abortion counseling. When he ran in 2010, Art Pope and outside groups flooded money into his campaign in a Koch-sponsored effort to flip the state legislature. Since his election, Jordan has pushed Pope ideals at the expensive of working people in North Carolina. Read more on Jordan here.

(NCFEP, Spending by Outside Groups in North Carolina General Assembly Races, 2010 Election Cycle, retrieved 6/21/12)
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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Chris Malone (R-Wake)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Rep. Chris Malone, the Republican representative from District 35 and Deputy Majority Whip for the 2017-2018 legislative session. He was first elected in 2012 and currently serves as the chair of the Wildlife Resources Committee and the Appropriations on Health and Human Services Committee and vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. Malone’s political career started over 15 years ago as a Wake Forest Town Commissioner in 2001. He was on the Wake County School Board in 2009 until his resignation in 2012. During his time on the school board, he was called a “hard-liner” who “served without distinction.” As a Representative, Malone has sponsored bills that aimed to restore partisan judicial elections and bar federal Medicaid expansion. After being delinquent at least 25 times paying them, Malone tried to repeal motor vehicle renewal and property taxes – while voting to raise sales taxes on working families. Read more here.

Summary

  • Since 2002, Malone has been delinquent on personal property taxes at least 25 times
  • During his time on the school board, he:
    • was accused of burglary following an alleged affair with another board member, supported private school vouchers
    • looked to install less expensive heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in schools
    • worked to replace diversified schools with neighborhood schools
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Legislator Profile: Scott Stone and Andy Dulin (R-Mecklenburg)

In the next two installments of Real Facts NC's series of legislator profiles we focus on Charlotte-area representatives Scott Stone and Andy Dulin. 

Stone was appointed to the District 105 seat by former Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term after winning the election in November. Before serving in the NC House, Stone had tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics: he ran for the Arlington County Board in 1996 and ran for Charlotte mayor in 2011 and 2015. Rep. Scott Stone did not think the NCGA should change HB2 until Charlotte changed its own ordinance, even though HB2 cost Charlotte at least $100 million and he opposed all parts of Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance, including protection for LGBT community. Stone claims he is concerned about education, but supported a Republican budget that shortchanges NC teachers and students. Read more on Stone here

Similarly, Dulin was elected to the District 104 seat in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term. Before serving in the NC House, Dulin tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics outside the Charlotte City Council. He ran for the Mecklenburg County Commission in 2004, ran for NC Senate in the 2008 primary, and Congress in 2012. Dulin is an out-of-touch member of Charlotte’s elite, putting his own advancement above the will of constituents and pushing the needs of corporations over students and teachers. Additionally, Dulin supported a measure that would make nondiscrimination ordinances subject to referendum less than a year after HB2 cost Charlotte millions. Read more on Dulin here

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Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford) says complaints about unconstitutional racial gerrymandering ‘tedious’

Rep. John Blust is starting to find complying with the Constitution to be “tedious.”

During last week’s judicial redistricting meeting, he seemed confused as to why there were race complaints in the redistricting process:

“I just believe that if we were sitting here and there were no districts that it looked like an African-American would be very very likely to win, you’d have some of the same people objecting to the bill on that ground. It seems a little bit disconcerting to sit here and hear what sound like complaints that there’s districts, my gosh there’s districts where African-Americans are very likely to win and knowing that if you didn’t have those districts, the same people would be complaining that you didn’t have them. And just going through this in redistricting, hearing these complaints over and over, it gets a little bit tedious.”

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Linda Hunt Williams (R-Wake)

Real Facts NC’s legislator profile series continues to examine key North Carolina legislators. This time we look at freshman Representative Linda Hunt Williams, going back to her days as a school choice advocate in Charlotte and as Deputy Director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. Williams was an early advocate for private school vouchers, spending state money to send kids to private schools. She was also an original “tea partier” advocating for less government and fewer taxes while working for the Koch-funded N.C. Citizens for a Sound Economy. Read the full profile here.

Summary:

Williams has always been a proponent of charter schools and vouchers, but voted to weaken N.C. public schools

  • She promised to improve schools if elected, but instead sponsored a bill that even NACSA, a national charter school advocacy group, advised against. 
  • H779 would allow charter schools to grow by 30 percent before changing their charter, would allow students enrolled in any NC charter school to receive priority enrollment at another charter school, would disaggregate performance data, and would allow charter schools to operate Pre-K programs with state funds.
  • Williams voted for the 2017 Republican budget that shortchanged teachers and allocated $45 million to the controversial school voucher program, despite promises to improve education as a member of the General Assembly.

 Williams got her political start with U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth, and later moved to Koch-funded N.C. Citizens for a Sound Economy

  • Williams has a history of advocating for conservative causes and was an original “tea partier” who organized Koch-funded protests at the NC General Assembly demanding fewer taxes and less government
  • Williams was the Deputy Director of N.C. Citizens for a Sound Economy between 2001 and 2002. During that time, the group unsuccessfully sued Gov. Mike Easley, faced criticism for lobbying for dropping antitrust action against Microsoft after accepting contributions from Microsoft, and protested at the General Assembly.
  • Williams’ support of the 2017 Republican budget highlights the hypocrisy of these groups. The budget cut taxes for corporations, but failed to re-establish the childcare income tax credit that would have helped over 200,000 families.
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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Ken Goodman (D-Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond, Robeson & Scotland)

Real Facts NC’s legislator profile series continues to examine key North Carolina legislators. Despite high unemployment and poverty in his district, Goodman supported policies that favored corporations over teachers, students and families. The 2017 budget lowered the corporate income tax rate, but failed to help low-income North Carolinians with things like a child care tax credit. Instead, tax cuts were prioritized over funding public schools and pre-K. Goodman has a history of votes that hurt education, helping Republicans erode teacher pay and per pupil spending in the state. While people in his district struggle to make ends meet, Goodman votes in favor of big corporations, not “main street.” Read the full profile here

"I voted conservative, and I'm pretty happy about that." -Rep. Ken Goodman

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: William Brisson (R-Bladen, Johnston, Sampson)

In a series of Real Facts NC reports examining key North Carolina legislators, we look at William Brisson, who has represented House District 22 since 2006. Rep. Brisson is the current vice-chairman of four House standing committees, including Agriculture and Appropriations. Brisson claims that he wants to protect and help those who cannot do so themselves, but his record tells a different story. Brisson has consistently voted to makes things worse for folks in his district, from cuts to education to ending tax credits for working families making less than $40,000 per year. Read the full report here.

In 2013, Brisson said, “It has been about the people and will always be about the people with me.” Despite Brisson’s assertion that it is about the people, his time in Raleigh has proven otherwise.

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