House Speaker Thom Tillis and his son Ryan celebrate his election to the U.S. Senate Tuesday night at the Omni Hotel in Uptown.
More than 2.7 million North Carolinians cast votes in the 2014 General Election — a new record for the Old North State. But aside from sending a new U.S. Senator to Washington, the election will change little in the political landscape, particularly where Mecklenburg County is concerned.
The biggest change in North Carolina’s congressional delegation will be, of course, the arrival of former State House Speaker and Cornelius Town councilman Thom Tillis in Washington as our state’s junior Senator. Democrat Kay Hagan departs after just one term, following a $100 million race that helped give Republicans control of the U.S. Senate.
The majority of North Carolina’s House incumbents will be going back to Washington for another 2-year term, including congressmen Richard Hudson of Concord and Robert Pittenger of Charlotte. In the race to succeed former Congressman Mel Watt in the 12th District, Democratic State Representative Alma Adams easily defeated her Republican challenger, former Charlotte news anchor Vince Coakley. Adams’ election means Uptown and its surrounding neighborhoods will be represented by someone from outside of Charlotte for the first time since the 12th District was created in 1993.
North Carolina General Assembly:
In Raleigh, Republicans in the North Carolina House and Senate kept their veto-proof majority, with the Senate gaining a seat and the House losing only a net of three. While none of Mecklenburg County’s state legislators lost their seats, a few other big names, like Republicans Tim Moffitt (Buncombe) and Tom Murry (Wake), suffered defeat and won’t be returning to Jones Street in January.
All of our Mecklenburg County SPPACE-supported General Assembly candidates won their races Tuesday night, including newcomers Dan Bishop, who replaces the retiring Ruth Samuelson in House District 104, and REALTOR® John Bradford, who will take the District 98 House seat previously held by U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis. Bishop and Bradford will join other local legislators with strong backgrounds in the real estate and housing industries, including Senator Joel Ford, and Representatives Bill Brawley and Rob Bryan.
Mecklenburg County Commission:
Democrats will continue to hold the majority on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, after sweeping the three At-Large seats for the second straight election. Commissioner Pat Cotham claimed the highest number of votes (24%), followed by former city councilwoman Ella Scarborough (21%) and current Commission Chair Trevor Fuller (20.4%). Cotham and Fuller were both supported and endorsed by SPPACE, along with Republican candidate Emily Zuyus, who came in fourth with just under 18% of the votes.
In District 1, former commissioner Jim Puckett, a Republican, defeated Democrat Leonard Richardson by nearly 10 points, and will replace the retiring Karen Bentley in December. District 5 Republican Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour won easily in the only other contested Board race, and will return for a second two-year term. Both Puckett and Ridenhour were endorsed by SPPACE.
Voters endorsed a trio of Charlotte Bond packages by wide margins Tuesday, approving nearly $146 million in public spending for streets, housing and neighborhood improvements. REBIC, the Charlotte Regional REALTOR® Association, and the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of REALTORS® joined other industry and business groups in supporting the bond campaign. A separate referendum for a half-cent increase in the county sales tax (for schools, libraries, and the arts) failed to gain approval.