Voters break Republican supermajority in legislature

Voters break Republican supermajority in legislature
November 08
04:00 2018

North Carolina voters were deciding Tuesday whether Gov. Roy Cooper and his Democratic colleagues will gain influence in the current Republican-dominated legislature for the next two years, and if GOP policy proposals should be etched in the state constitution.

The News and Observer reported that voters in the 2018 midterm election broke the Republican supermajority in the N.C. General Assembly.

The Associated Press reported that all 170 General Assembly seats were up for election, and Democrats needed to win four additional House seats or six more Senate seats to end the Republicans’ veto-proof control. The supermajorities have allowed Republicans to pass legislation at will since 2013, in particular those eroding the governor’s powers since Cooper was narrowly elected in 2016.

Voters also are choosing seats for the U.S. House, county offices and for state courts, including one on the state Supreme Court.

Democrat Anita Earls won the Supreme Court seat, unseating Associate Justice Barbara Jackson, a Republican. The Earls victory gives Democrats five of the seven seats on the court.

The News and Observer reportd that in the legislature, Democrats needed to flip four seats in the state House and six in the state Senate to break the Republican supermajority, which allows to the GOP to override vetoes issued by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Democrats broke through by flipping seats around Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro. Wake County Republicans Nelson Dollar, Chris Malone, John Adcock and Tamara Barringer all lost.

The N.C. Democratic Party leader Wayne Goodwin said the victories prove voters want legislators to “invest more in education, expand access to affordable health care and support working families.”

Voters defeated a pair of constitutional amendments on the ballot that would have swung authority over filling judicial vacancies and the elections board from the governor and toward the legislature. Voters approved a third that would mandate photo identification to vote in person. Republicans have been unsuccessful twice since 2011 in voter ID laws they passed – one was vetoed and the other struck down by federal judges.

Associated Press writer Tom Foreman Jr. contributed to this report from Mint Hill, North Carolina.

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