RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democrats flipped two open U.S. House seats that they had been favored to win in North Carolina on Tuesday while Republicans defended two seats that had turned into competitive races, leaving the state’s congressional delegation with an 8-5 split in favor of the GOP.
The congressional races were among key down-ballot races that also included contests that were determining the power balance in the state’s legislature and the makeup of a group of key statewide offices.
The key presidential battleground also has a hotly contested U.S. Senate race. And Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper was reelected, defeating Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.
Below is a look at key down-ballot races for the U.S. House, state legislature, top statewide offices and the state Supreme Court.
Democrats flipped two U.S. House seats after the Republicans who currently hold those seats declined to run for reelection because the boundaries tilted left, while the GOP held onto two other seats in closely contested races.
Democrat Kathy Manning beat Republican Joseph Lee Haywood in the Greensboro-area 6th Congressional District, and Deborah Ross defeated Republican Alan Swain in the Raleigh-area 2nd Congressional District.
The two seats had previously been in GOP hands before district boundaries were redrawn in 2019 as part of court-mandated redistricting.
Meanwhile, two other closely contested races went in the GOP’s favor.
Republican Madison Cawthorn won the 11th District in western North Carolina, a seat vacated by Mark Meadows, who became President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
In the 8th District, which runs along several counties in the southern part of the state, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson defeated Democratic challenger Patricia Timmons-Goodson, who previously served on the state Supreme Court.
Both of those districts had been considered Republican-leaning, but the races proved to be close.
Meanwhile, nine incumbents who were favored also retained their seats. Incumbent U.S. Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield were reelected, and U.S. Rep. Alma Adams ran unopposed.
Republican U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry, Ted Budd, Dan Bishop, Virginia Foxx, David Rouzer and Greg Murphy — all who had been favored to win — were reelected.
Fifteen closely contested races in the North Carolina General Assembly are likely to determine whether Democrats or Republicans will control the legislature.
Republicans have held both chambers since 2011. Democrats would need to win six additional seats to flip the House and five more Senate seats to ensure a majority in that chamber. Democrats could also flip the Senate by winning four more seats if the party’s nominee is elected lieutenant governor, because that office holds the right to cast tie-breaking votes in the 50-seat chamber.
Democrats won enough seats in 2018 so that Republican margins were no longer veto-proof.
Democrats and Republicans have poured millions of dollars into the races this cycle. Democrats say expanding Medicaid would be their top priority if they were brought to power. Republicans are seeking to preserve their conservative policies of the past decade.
COUNCIL OF STATE
In a slate of other top statewide contests, Republican Mark Robinson was elected lieutenant governor, becoming the first African American to hold that position.
Robinson, a Greensboro resident who earned notice following a viral video of a gun rights speech he gave, defeated Democrat Yvonne Holley, a state legislator.
Longtime Republican Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, a Republican, was reelected. And state Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican, was also reelected.
All 10 offices that comprise the group of top elected officials known as the Council of State were being decided in the general election.
STATE SUPREME COURT
Three of the seven seats on North Carolina’s highest court are being contested. Republicans are hoping to erode Democrats’ six-seat majority on the court.
The balance of power on the court could help determine the outcome of looming battles over Republican voter identification initiatives, how capital punishment is applied and a taxpayer-funded scholarship program for K-12 children to attend private schools.
The state’s first Black female chief justice, Cheri Beasley, is being challenged for the chief’s spot by fellow Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, a Republican.
Current state Court of Appeals judges Democrat Lucy Inman and Republican Phil Berger Jr. are running to fill the seat that Newby currently holds.
Current Associate Justice Mark Davis, a Democrat, is running for reelection against Republican Tamara Barringer, a lawyer and former state senator.
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