With the Republican supermajority broken in both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature following the 2018 election, 2020 will be a crucial election for both Democrats and Republicans. Republicans will be looking to hold onto their majorities, while Democrats will need to work hard to hold onto the gains they’ve made while expanding into new areas. In addition, despite their crucial role in post-census redistricting, legislative races will have to compete with Presidential, Gubernatorial, and US Senate races for attention.
Following is our initial look at the 28 House and 17 Senate districts we think will be crucial to the 2020 legislative elections. These districts were chosen based on analysis of 2018 election results and campaign finance reports, as well as long-term district data.
In the coming weeks, look for a full report with details on incumbents and their district with reports on Council of State and State Supreme Court races to follow.
These Races to Watch are an an initial look at the 2020 landscape. Redistricting litigation is ongoing at the state and federal levels and the Wake County House districts will need to be redrawn before the next election. Due to this and a number of other factors this list is likely to change as the election approaches.Read More
Senate Bill 86 creates opportunities for small businesses to provide health care for employees using Association Health Plans (AHPs) authorized under federal guidelines. The Trump administration rolled out AHPs in June 2018, claiming they would result in lower prices and more choices for employers and employees. S86 would require coverage for people with preexisting conditions and allow parents to keep children on up to age 26.
AHPs don’t have as many consumer protections as other health plans. Due to this, economists and experts say AHPs are risky and likened them to “running with scissors.”AHPs do not have to cover the ten “essential health benefits” required under the ACA and could exclude coverage for prescription drugs, for example, and smaller employers could skip maternity coverage requirements. Protections written into AHPs for people with preexisting conditions would be weakened by plans that make chronic care patients jump through more hoops or pay high deductibles.AHPs cannot discriminate against sick individuals, but do not offer complete protections for people with preexisting conditions who could face “roadblocks in finding affordable, comprehensive coverage.”
Read more analysis of S86 here.Read More
We are one year out from a new census and just one month past an election that saw an increase in candidates of color and female candidates. Using census information from 2000 and updated estimates, we’ve compiled some comparison graphs to see how diverse the General Assembly is compared to the population of the state.
As of 2000, the population of the state of North Carolina was 8,049,313. The latest population estimate from 2017 indicates that the state grew by a little over two million people over 17 years.
Though there were shifts toward better representation of NC’s population by its elected officials, there is still a lot of room to grow. For example, according to 2017 US Census Bureau estimates, Hispanic/Latinx people make up 9.5 percent of NC’s population, but there are no NCGA members who identify as Hispanic or Latinx. White people are still overrepresented in the state legislature as they occupy only 63.1 percent of the state’s population, per 2017 estimates, but more than 70 percent of both legislative bodies.Read More
Real Facts NC released a report today on key NC races in the 2018 midterm elections. Tuesday’s results included major victories with the election of Anita Earls to the NC Supreme Court, the defeat of the two “power grab” constitutional amendments, and the election of three Democrats to the NC Court of Appeals.
Democrats also broke the Republican supermajority in the NC House and, barring two potential recounts, look to have done the same in the NC Senate. Notably, first-time candidate Julie von Haefen beat long-time incumbent and chief budget writer Nelson Dollar. Democrats defeated almost all of the incumbent Wake and Mecklenburg Republicans and picked up two Western NC House seats.
Victories were dampened by the losses of close races in New Hanover County despite shifting tides in that region. Furthermore, four constitutional amendments passed, including the photo ID requirement to vote. A similar measure was previously ruled unconstitutional in 2016 for targeting African American voters “with almost surgical precision.” It is widely expected that Republican lawmakers will attempt to codify some of the same restrictions on acceptable IDs when they return to write the implementing legislation in late November. The right to hunt and fish and the victim’s rights amendments also require implementing legislation.
Some of Tuesday’s results made history, including the election of Pitt County’s first Black District Attorney Faris Dixon and first Black woman Sheriff Paula Dance. In Wake County, Gerald Baker overcame great odds to defeat four-term incumbent sheriff Donnie Harrison. John Arrowood became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to statewide office in NC and the south.
With an eye on potential recounts in Mecklenburg, the Triad, and Wilmington, here is a first look at the 2018 NC election results.Read More
2018 is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal legislative elections in North Carolina history. This report has been updated to reflect spending by candidates, parties, and outside groups as well as more recent polling data in districts. As we get closer to the election, there are the 22 House and six Senate districts we believe are most likely to change parties this cycle. This report combines an analysis of district voting data, national and state polling, and qualitative factors, such as local issues and relative candidate strength.
These are analyses not endorsements: we’ve looked for races that could be competitive in the general election, but this shouldn’t be taken as an indication of support of any one candidate over another.
In June 2018 Senate Republicans surprised the public with new portions of a school safety bill that would alter insurance laws.
The changes would allow membership groups and nonprofits to offer health insurance plans that were exempt from state oversight and from ACA regulations.
The changed law would have allowed these plans to exclude or charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions.
According to NC Health News, the plans offered in NC would be similar to some offered in Tennessee where ACA premiums have “climbed precipitously” due to these unregulated plans.
Senate Republicans voted in favor of allowing health insurance plans that cherry-pick healthy enrollees and leave sicker people in the market, causing everyone’s premiums to skyrocket.
Though the House rejected this change, days later the House Republicans again blocked Medicaid expansion that would keep health care out of reach for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.Read More
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 35 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 35 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. Read the House report here and the Senate report here.Read More
Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2018 were due at the end of April. Here, we've aggregated the information for the candidates we highlighted in our Races to Watch Report. We will be updating these tables as the last few reports are submitted. Be sure to subscribe to our feed for daily updates on campaign finance.
Find campaign finance information for NC House of Representatives candidates here.
Find campaign finance information for NC Senate candidates here.
A brief yet fraught moment during the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee joined the ongoing drumbeat of instances of sexual harassment in the workplace.
The committee meeting began with a presentation from “Schools that Lead,” a professional development opportunity for teachers. Three women presenters from the program offered their thoughts on student-centered approaches, data, and solving problems in the classroom. They then fielded an increasingly long list of questions and comments from legislators.
Yet despite the time constraints, one male legislator could not help but widen the scope of his question (more like an unsolicited comment) beyond programmatic details. Senator Tillman (R- Moore, Randolph) instead opted to use his question time to comment on the presenters’ appearance.Read More
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.Read More