NCGA Week in Review

February 28, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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Super Tuesday is five days away which means North Carolina voters will soon make their way to the polls to cast their first ballots of the 2020 election. The March 3rd primary election will determine which Democratic candidates and which Republican candidates will face off in the general election this November. This year’s ballot includes candidates for state offices, including the Council of State, NC State Senate, and NC State House of Representatives as well as candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the President. 

With so many primary contests, including all 170 of North Carolina’s state legislative seats, taking place in just a few days, the McGuireWoods Consulting team will continue to keep you up to date on the races and results. We will wrap our series up with a special edition primary recap spotlight once the March 3rd results are in. This week, we will tell you what you need to know about the primary contests in the race for the NC State Senate and major Council of State races.

For more information on how to vote in North Carolina, click here. For a complete list of candidates on this year’s ballot, click here

NC Senate

Democrats will need to gain five seats in order to take control of the chamber in 2020. Currently, Republicans hold a 29-21 majority in the Senate. Senate Democrats remain hopeful that they will gain enough seats to change the balance of power in the upper chamber. Senate Republicans believe that traditionally red districts will hold up in their favor. All 50 Senate districts will be contested in this year’s general election. Here is a break down of what the state Senate races will look like this year:

 Three incumbent Senators will face primary challengers next week:

  • Sen. Mujtaba A. Mohammed (D-Mecklenburg, District 38) has two challengers Laura Anthony and Roderick Davis, in the District 38 Democratic primary.
  • Sen. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir, District 7)  will go up against challenger Bill Strickland in the District 7 Republican primary.
  • Sen. Eddie Gallimore (R- Davidson, District 29) will face current state Rep. Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson) in the District 29 Republican primary. 

There are seven current or former General Assembly members looking to make their return in a run for a Senate seat:

  • Former state Sen. Michael Lee (R) is running in Senate District 9 against current Sen. Harper Peterson (D- New Hanover). 
  • Current state Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes (R- Nash) is running in Senate District 11 against Patrick Harris and Dennis Nielsen in the Republican primary. In the District 11 Democratic primary, former state Sen. Allen Wellons will face Albert Pacer.  
  • Former Sen.Wesley Meredith (R) is challenging current Sen. Kirk DeViere (D-Cumberland) to take back his seat in Senate District 19.
  • Current state Rep. Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson) is running in Senate District 29, challenging current Sen. Eddie Gallimore (R-Davidson) in the primary.
  • Former state Rep. Mark Hollo (R) will face Dean Proctor (R) in the District 42 Republican primary, vying for the seat that will be left open by current Sen. Andy Wells (R-Catawba), who is leaving the Senate to run for Lt. Governor. The winner of that contest will face newcomer Tina Miles (D) in the general election.
  • Current state Rep. Kevin Corbin (R-Macon) is running in Senate District 50 to fill the vacant seat left by current Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon), who is leaving the NC Senate to run for Congress. Rep.Corbin will face Sarah Conway in the Republican primary. The winner of that race will face two opponents in the general, Democrat Victoria Fox and Libertarian Clifton Ingram.

Other notable primaries:

  • Senate District 6: Bob Williams (R) versus Michael Lazzara (R).
  • Senate District 7: Incumbent Sen. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir) versus Billy Strickland (R).
  • Senate District 8: Ethan Bickley (L) will face Anthony Mascolo (L).
  • Senate District 18: Angela Bridgman (D) will go up against Sarah Crawford (D) , and Scott McKaig (R) will face Larry Norman (R).
  • Senate District 20: Gray Ellis (D) versus both Pierce Freelon (D) and Natalie Murdock (D).
  • Senate District 33: Tarsha Ellis (D) will go up against Geoffrey Hoy (D).
  • Senate District 39: DeAndrea Salvador (D) faces off against Darrell Bonapart (D). 
  • Senate District 48: Najah Underwood (D) versus both Brian Caskey (D) and Cristal Figueroa (D). 
  • Senate District 49: Ben Scales (D) versus both Travis Smith (D) and Julie Mayfield (D).

Ten Senators are not seeking reelection in 2020 due to retirement or running for higher office: 

  • Sen. Erica D. Smith (D- Northampton, District 3), is running for U.S. Senate.
  • Sen. Floyd Mckissick (D-Durham, District 20), was appointed to the NC Utilities Commission. 
  • Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe, District 49), who is running for Lieutenant Governor.
  • Sen.Harry Brown (R-Onslow, District 6) declined to run for reelection.
  • Sen. Rick Horner (R-Nash, District 11) declined to run for reelection. 
  • Sen. John Alexander (R-Wake, District 18) declined to run for reelection.
  • Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance, District 24) declined to run for reelection. 
  • Sen. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg, District 37) declined to run for reelection. 
  • Sen. Andy Wells (R- Catawba, District 42), is running for Lieutenant Governor.
  • Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon, District 50), is running for U.S. House of Representatives.

Council of State

While the race for President has occupied the minds of many North Carolinians, there are a number of down-ballot races that stand to reshape the Council of State. In North Carolina, ten offices comprise the state’s executive branch and these races can shake up state policies from the top down.

Democratic Council of State Primaries

  • Commissioner of Agriculture: Jenna Wadsworth, Walter Smith, Donovan Alexander Watson
  • State Treasurer: Dimple Ajmera, Ronnie Chatterji, Matt Leatherman
  • NC Superintendent of Public Instruction: Jen Mangrum, Michael Maher, Constance (Lav) Johnson, James Barrett, Keith A. Sutton
  • State Auditor: Luis Toledo, Incumbent Beth Wood
  • Lieutenant Governor: Allen Thomas, Bill Toole, Sen. Terry Van Duyn (Buncombe),Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-Mecklenburg), Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley (Wake), Ron Newton

Republican Council of State Primaries 

  • Commissioner of Labor: Chuck Stanley, Rep. Josh Dobson (R-Avery), Pearl Burris Floyd 
  • Attorney General: Jim O’Neill, Sam Hayes, Christine Mumma
  • State Auditor: Tim Hoegemeyer, Anthony Wayne (Tony) Street
  • Secretary of State: E.C. Sykes, Chad Brown, Michael LaPaglia
  • Insurance Commissioner:Incumbent Mike Causey , Ronald Pierce
  • NC Superintendent of Public Instruction: Catherine Truitt, Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) 
  • Lieutenant Governor: John L. Ritter, Mark Robinson, Scott Stone, Sen. Andy Wells (Catawba),  Buddy Bengel, Deborah Cochran, former U.S. Rep.Renee Ellmers, Greg Gebhardt, current State Superintendent Mark Johnson

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
9:30 AM: Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance

Thursday, March 5, 2020
9:00 AM: Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee

9:00 AM: Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology

1:00 PM: Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee 

Friday, March 6, 2020
9:00 AM: Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government 

10:00 AM: Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee