When former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory is inaugurated in January as North Carolina’s 74th governor, he’ll take the reins of a state that has become overwhelmingly conservative, with a Republican supermajority in the House and a controlling majority in the Senate. Most likely, the veto stamp in the Governor’s office will go untouched for at least the next two years.
By picking up nine new House seats and at increasing their lead in the Senate by at least one, the General Assembly is now set to pursue an ambitious agenda of tax, regulatory and education reform — and a Republican governor will pave the way for passage of pro-business legislation that could vastly improve North Carolina’s economic competitiveness in the next few years. Real estate industry priorities, such as limits on local aesthetic controls on residential construction and a streamlined permit process at DENR, are also expected to move to the front burner in the 2013 legislative session.
Here’s how the General Assembly races went down in Mecklenburg County:
Senators Dan Clodfelter (D), Malcolm Graham (D) and Bob Rucho (R) will all be returning to Raleigh next January, each having won re-election by comfortable margins. Joining them will be Joel Ford (D), who takes the seat of the retiring Charlie Dannelly (D), and Cornelius mayor Jeff Tarte (R), who won the county’s new Senate seat without opposition in the general election. With the exception of Senator Graham, all were endorsed or supported by SPPACE, the real estate industry’s political action committee.
In the State House, only two Mecklenburg County races were contested in yesterday’s election. In District 88, political newcomer Rob Bryan (R), a real estate attorney backed by SPPACE and other industry PACs, defeated 10-term incumbent Martha Alexander (D) by a comfortable 10-point margin. And in District 92, Huntersville town councilman Charlie Jeter (R) edged Democratic opponent Robin Bradford to represent a district that stretches from Cornelius to Steele Creek. The remainder of the Meck delegation, including House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) and Majority Whip Ruth Samuelson (R), will all return to Raleigh after winning re-election unopposed.
But yesterday’s biggest win may ultimately be the re-election of Associate Justice Paul Newby to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Newby faced a tough challenge from Superior Court Judge Sam “Jimmy” Ervin IV, but thanks to the support of SPPACE and other pro-business PACs, he’ll be returning to the bench on the state’s highest court. Newby’s re-election is particularly important following his concurrence in the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to invalidate the Cabarrus County APFO ordinance and reestablish strict guidelines on the authority of local governments.
The real estate industry has good reason to be pleased with the outcome of yesterday’s state-level elections, and optimistic about the prospects for many of our key issues in Raleigh next year. A pro-business legislative agenda, supported by pro-business leadership in the State House, State Senate and Governor’s office, sets the stage for progress in both fiscal and regulatory and reform that will grow the economy in the Charlotte region and across the Tarheel state for years to come.