This was a strong election for North Carolina Republicans, but not as strong as their congressional victories might indicate. Those were largely a product of masterful political engineering.
Currently, seven of the state’s 13 U.S. House members are Democrats; six are Republicans. That will flip to nine Republicans and four Democrats, a huge gain of four seats for Republicans.
Republicans carried the day in other races, but not by that kind of margin. Gov.-elect Pat McCrory won close to 55 percent of the vote, but Mitt Romney and Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Forest barely nudged over the 50 percent mark. And five Democrats won contested, statewide races for Council of State offices with as much as 54 percent of the vote. Democrats were not buried under landslides. So how could they lose nine out of 13 congressional seats, as well as a disproportionate numbers of seats in the state House and Senate?
Yesterday’s editorial was a message for newly-elected Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips: Back off, dude:
Phillips’ victory, as well as victories for Republicans Jerry Alan Branson (District 4) and Hank Henning (District 6), now shifts the board, shaved from 11 members to nine during redistricting last year, to a Republican majority. Branson and Henning are avowed conservatives. But Phillips seems to toe a harder line and has sometimes pushed his rhetoric to the fringe with conspiracy theories.
But he shouldn’t see the election results as a mandate. Phil-lips won in a new district whose voters tend to favor Republicans, but barely prevailed…..This means Phillips shouldn’t expect to start re-engineering county government before he’s barely warmed his seat.
All fair enough. In fact, JLF president John Hood saw it coming back in 2010 and offered up a plan for redistricting reform. Still, as someone who found himself in Brad Miller’s 13th District for several years, I’m having a little trouble mustering sympathy.
A footnote — a commenter on Doug Clark’s post noted that more Democrats voted straight ticket both in Guilford County and statewide, leading him to argue “Republicans were less partisan and a more informed voter than the Democrats in vote selecting…”
I don’t vote straight ticket, because I realize there are still some Democrats out there who haven’t gone far left — I’d count ousted commissioners Paul Gibson and Kirk Perkins among that group. I’ll dare say there are a lot of Democrats out there who won’t give the same benefit of the doubt. As evidence, I asked a liberal friend if he voted a straight Democrat ticket, and indeed he did. He then went on to call Mitt Romney all kinds of vile names.
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