NCGA Week in Review: Spotlight on Newly Elected Officials

November 18, 2016

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County election staff have spent the past ten days sorting through over 60,000 provisional ballots and absentee ballots that were postmarked by Election Day. Today is supposed to be the canvassing deadline. Voters have filed protests over the results in 11 counties and a Federal court ruling during early voting required the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to create a new review process for voters who claim they registered or changed their address at the DMV. The Governor Pat McCrory’s campaign also announced that protests were going to be filed in 50 additional counties. Last night it was announced that, for these reasons, county election canvassing will be delayed. The State Board of Elections is scheduled to meet on November 29 for the statewide canvass. On election night, three council of state races remained undetermined: governor, attorney general and auditor. In any of the races, if the trailing candidate is behind by 10,000 votes or .5%, whichever is less, they can demand a recount.

The governor’s race is still to be determined. Currently, Governor Pat McCrory trails Cooper by less than 5,000 votes and it seems unlikely that the race will be determined today. Many questions exist in the race – in Bladen County more than 100-absentee ballots that favor Cooper have been called into question for potential voter fraud, and in Durham County the late tally of 94,000 early voting ballots has garnered a complaint from the Republican Party for malfeasance. There are a variety of potential scenarios to play out in coming days and weeks to determine this close race.

In the race for auditor, Democratic incumbent Beth Wood has a narrow 3,000 vote lead over Republican challenger Chuck Stuber. Stuber announced that he will seek a vote recount.

In the races for insurance commissioner and attorney general, the trailing candidate has yet to concede, but the difference in votes is not within the margin needed for a recount. Democrat Josh Stein is poised to win in his race against Republican Buck Newton for attorney general. Stein has a roughly 20,000 vote lead over Newton with 50.23% of the vote. In the race for insurance commissioner, Republican Mike Causey is positioned to defeat Democratic incumbent Wayne Goodwin with 50.44% of the vote, a lead of almost 39,000 votes.

Council of State

Attorney General

With 50.23% of the vote Democrat Josh Stein is positioned to defeat Republican Buck Newton in this open seat race, however, Newton has yet to concede.

In his early career, Stein taught English and economics abroad before earning his law degree. Stein served as Senior Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection from 2001 to 2008 under Attorney General Roy Cooper and served in the state Senate from 2009 to 2006. Stein currently works as an attorney at a private practice. 

State Treasurer

Republican Dale Folwell is NC’s next treasurer, defeating Democrat Dan Blue III with 52.7% of the vote. Folwell will fill the seat left open by Democrat Janet Colwell, who did not seek a third term. 

Folwell is a former Vice President and Registered Investment Advisor for Deutsche Bank. Folwell’s political career began in 1992 when he was elected to serve on the Forsyth County School Board, he served on the Board for eight years. In 2004, Folwell was elected to the NC House of Representatives, where he served four terms and was elected Speaker Pro Tempore for the 2011-2012 session. Most recently, Folwell was named head of the state’s Division of Employment Security in the administration of Governor Pat McCrory.

Commissioner of Insurance

Republican Mike Causey is positioned to defeat Democratic incumbent Wayne Goodwin with 50.44% of the vote, however, Goodwin has yet to concede to Causey.

Causey has 25 years of experience in the insurance industry and is a veteran of the US Army. Currently, Causey works in community development for the NC Department of Transportation. 

State Superintendent

With 50.63% of the vote Republican Mark Johnson upset 12-year incumbent Democrat June Atkinson.

Johnson began his career as a public school teacher with the Teach for America program before attending law school. He has said that his experiences with the program compelled him to work to improve public education opportunities. Johnson also serves on the Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County School Board and is a practicing attorney.

NC Senate

District 11 (Johnston, Nash, Wilson): Republican Rick Horner will fill the seat vacated by Sen. Buck Newton, who was the Republican candidate for attorney general. Horner’s professional career has included work in the securities industry and in commercial insurance. He also served on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education for fourteen years, four as chairman, and currently serves on the Wilson Community College Board of Trustees.

District 13 (Columbus, Robeson): Republican Danny Britt will defeated Democratic incumbent Jane Smith with 55.19% of the vote. Britt enlisted in the NC Army National Guard after graduating high school, where he continues to serve as a Major. Additionally, Britt is an attorney who has a private practice in Lumberton.

District 33 (Davidson, Montgomery): Republican Cathy Dunn will fill the seat vacated by Republican Sen. Stan Bingham. Dunn won 71.58% of the vote in her race against Democrat Jim Beall Graham. Dunn is a lifelong resident of Davidson County, where she grew up on a dairy farm. She now owns four area restaurants and serves as a Davidson County Commissioner.

District 36 (Cabarrus, Union): Republican Paul Newton has been elected to fill the seat vacated by Republican Sen. Fletcher Hartsell. Newton won against Democratic opponent Robert Brown with 62.62% of the vote. Newton was an attorney and executive at Duke Energy for 25 years. When he retired in 2015 he was the President of Duke Energy’s utility operations in the state.

District 39 (Mecklenburg): Republican Dan Bishop will fill the seat vacated by Republican Sen. Bob Rucho. Bishop received 56.8% of the vote in his race against Democrat Lloyd Scher. Bishop is new to the Senate, but served in the state House for one term. Bishop is an attorney in Charlotte where he focuses on business and local government litigation. Before representing Mecklenburg County in Raleigh, he served two terms as a Mecklenburg County Commissioner.

NC House of Representatives

District 6 (Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Washington): Republican Beverly Boswell will fill the seat vacated by unaffiliated Rep. Paul Tine after defeating Democratic challenger Warren Judge with 51.85% of the vote. Boswell is a nurse and Dare County Commissioner.

District 28 (Johnston): Republican Larry Strickland will fill the seat vacated by Republican Rep. James Langdon; Strickland defeated Democratic opponent Patricia Oliver with 70.66% of the vote. Strickland has served on the Johnston County School Board since 1998 and currently serves as chair of the Board. Strickland was a state employee for 25 years with the Department of Transportation.

District 30 (Durham): Democrat Phillip Lehman has been selected by the Durham County Democrats to fill the seat of Democrat Rep. Paul Luebke, who passed away several days before Election Day. Rep. Luebke won his reelection against Republican Elissa Fuchs with 73.85% of the vote. Lehman has previously served as assistant attorney general under Roy Cooper.

District 32 (Granville, Vance, Warren): Democrat Terry Garrison did not have opposition on the November ticket and will be filling the seat vacated by Democrat Rep. Nathan Baskerville. Garrison has served on the Vance County Board of Commissioners since 1988 with three terms as chair of the Board. He is the owner of a real estate company.


District 37 (Wake): Republican Linda Hunt-Williams will fill the seat vacated by Republican Rep. Paul Stam. Hunt-Williams won her election against Democrat Randy Barrow and Libertarian Robert Rose with 52.33% of the vote. Hunt-Williams is a veteran of the US Navy and is a current councilwoman for the Town of Holly Springs.

District 40 (Wake): Democrat Joe John ousted Republican incumbent Republican Marilyn Avila with 50.41% of the vote. John has served as a judge on the NC Court of Appeals, and was the Director of the State Crime Lab from 2010 to 2014. He is also a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

District 46 (Bladen, Columbus, Robeson): The Republicans successfully flipped this formerly Democratic seat held by Rep. Ken Waddell. With 60.41% of the vote Republican Brenden Jones won against both Democratic candidate Tim Benton and Libertarian Tom Howell, Jr. Jones’ background is in business, he is currently the owner of both an auto-body repair facility and car dealership. In the past, he served as the chairman of the Columbus County Board of Elections and served on the Rural Center Board.

District 49 (Wake): Democrats narrowly flipped this seat formerly held by Rep. Gary Pendleton. Cynthia Ball won against Rep. Pendleton and Libertarian David Ulmer with 48.72% of the vote. Ball has owned a mediation practice for 17 years. Though this is Ball’s first elected publically position, she has been a volunteer on local and statewide political campaigns and is currently serving her second term on the City of Raleigh Civil Service Commission.

District 51 (Harnett, Lee): Republican John Sauls will return to the legislature after defeating Democratic incumbent Rep. Brad Salmon with 55.68% of the vote. A Vietnam-era Veteran of the US Army, Sauls served in the state House from 2003 to 2006, as a County Commissioner in Lee County and had a twenty-year long career in business, he is now retired and serves as a pastor. Sauls is a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

District 58 (Guilford): Democrat Amos Quick ran unopposed in the general election after defeating Democratic incumbent Rep. Ralph Johnson in the primary. Quick is a pastor and has served on the Guilford County Board of Education since 2004, and as vice-chairman since 2005.

District 81 (Davidson):  Republican Larry Potts will fill the seat vacated by Republican Rep. Rayne Brown. Potts won his race against Democrat Andy Hedrick with 68.35% of the vote. Potts is a small business owner and US Air Force veteran. He currently serves as a Davidson County Commissioner. 

District 87 (Caldwell): Republican Destin Hall defeated Republican incumbent Rep. George Robinson in the primaries and ran unopposed in the general election. Hall is an attorney and serves as the Treasurer of the Caldwell County Republican Party.

District 88 (Mecklenburg): Democrat Mary Belk successfully flipped this seat which was previously held by Republican Rep. Rob Bryan. Belk won 50.61% of the vote in her race against the incumbent. Belk is a community activist, and has worked and volunteered with a number of organization over the past 50 years.

District 92 (Mecklenburg): With 54.39% of the vote, Democrat Chaz Beasley won against Republican opponent Beth Danae Caulfield to fill this seat formerly held by Republican Rep. Charles Jeter. Beasley is an attorney in the financial industry.

District 100 (Mecklenburg): Democrat John Autry ran unopposed in the general election and will fill the seat vacated by Democrat Rep. Tricia Cotham. Autry is a US Navy veteran and is in his third term serving for the Charlotte City Council. Autry is the chief technology officer for an emergency management company.

District 113 (Henderson, Polk, Transylvania): Republican Cody Henson defeated Democrat Maureen Mahan Copelof with 61.6% of the vote and will replace Republican Rep. Chris Whitmire. Henson is currently serving his fifth year in the US Marine Corps Reserve and works in marketing.

District 119 (Haywood, Jackson, Swain): Republican Mike Clampitt upset Democratic Rep. Joe Sam Queen with 50.42% of the vote. Clampitt is a retired Fire Captain and served as an assistant sergeant at arms in the NC House for two years.

District 120 (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon): Republican Kevin Corbin will replace the seat left vacant by Republican Rep. Roger West. Corbin won his election against Democratic opponent Randy Hogseed with 72.05% of the vote. Corbin has served on the Macon County Board of Commissioners for six years and as chairman of the Board for the last four. He is also the owner of two insurance agencies.