November 08, 2012
North Carolina and Guilford County took a sharp right turn while the nation continued on a leftward course on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with the reelection of President Barack Hussein Obama.
Republican Mitt Romney won North Carolina with 50.45 percent of the vote, much closer than many pundits predicted. Romney won the state without much effort but nationally lost both the Electoral College vote and the popular vote. It was a clear and decisive victory for Obama, who won despite economic conditions that would be impossible for most presidents to overcome.
Unlike Sen. John McCain in 2008, Romney ran a smart campaign and seemed to do a good job of focusing on the big issue, which was the economy. In the end the American people decided they would rather stick with the president they knew, and knew was taking the country left, than to try something different.
North Carolina went the other way. The state elected Republican Pat McCrory governor, Republican Dan Forest as lieutenant governor, solid Republican majorities in both the North Carolina state House and state Senate, and preserved the Republican majority on the nominally nonpartisan state Supreme Court. So Republicans will control all three branches of state government.
Also the North Carolina delegation to the US House picked up at least three Republican seats (with an additional race headed for a recount) and Guilford County for the first time will send a legislative delegation to Raleigh with a Republican majority. Guilford County also elected a Republican majority to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners for the first time since 1996.
The state House and State Senate races in Guilford County were not close. City Councilmember and Republican District 27 state Sen. Elect Trudy Wade won with 58 percent of the vote over Democrat Myra Slone with 42 percent, and that was the closest race in Guilford County for a legislative seat. A 16 point win is far from close and neither Wade nor Slone ran the kind of campaign one sees in a competitive race.
Wade was not out celebrating her victory Tuesday night because she was in the hospital with a virus, but Wednesday she said she was feeling better and planned to be back home soon. Wade's victory will result in an open seat on the Greensboro City Council, which the council fills by a majority vote. Wade gets to vote for her successor but she only gets one vote, and it will take five votes to appoint a new District 5 councilmember. It will be interesting to see how much deference Mayor Robbie Perkins and the rest of the City Council, which is all to the left of Wade, give Wade in this appointment.
As Perkins tightens the reins on the Perkinettes, 8-to-1 votes, with Wade casting the lone vote, have become more and more common. With Wade gone there may not be much reason to hold council meetings, since there will be no one to even challenge Perkins or ask for explanations from staff.
The next closest state legislative race was in state Senate District 26, where Republican state Sen. Phil Berger, who is president pro-tem of the state Senate, won with 61 percent over Democrat Bobby Stanley, with 38 percent. President pro-tem of the state Senate is the state Senate's equivalent to speaker of the house, which means Berger is one of the top three most powerful politicians in state government, and his district is in Guilford and Rockingham counties. Berger in the state Senate gives Greensboro far more clout than it has had in the past.
Next in line was House District 61, where Republican state Rep. John Faircloth won reelection to a second term with 64 percent of the vote over Democrat Ron Weatherford with 36 percent. Faircloth ran a fairly active campaign though it never appeared he was in danger of losing his seat.
Republican District 62 state Rep. John Blust won reelection with 76 percent of the vote over Libertarian Kent Wilsey with 24 percent.
In District 58 Democrat state House Rep. Alma Adams with 80 percent of the vote once again defeated Republican Olga Morgan Wright with 20 percent.
Then there were a bunch of state legislative candidates with no opponents who received 100 percent of the vote. It's what happens when the districts are gerrymandered, and they were. Democrat District 28 state Sen. Gladys Robinson won with no competition, as did Democrat District 57 state House Rep. Pricey Harrison, and Democrat District 60 state House Rep. Marcus Brandon.
Republican Jon Hardister was unopposed in state House District 59 and won with 100 percent of the vote. Two years ago Hardister lost a hard fought campaign against Harrison. This time they both coasted to victories in different districts. Harrison said she had been going door to door, but it was to help other Democrats not because she was worried about her own election. She also said it was a good way to get to know her new district.
Sixth District Congressman Howard Coble was running in a newly drawn district where he was not nearly as well known as he was in the old Sixth District, which was largely south of Greensboro. The new district is mainly north of Greensboro stretching from Granville and Durham counties in the east to Surry County in the west. Coble is famous for knowing the mascots of all the high schools in his district and has noted that his Republican friends who did the redistricting gave him a whole new slate of mascots to learn.
There was never much doubt that Coble – who is popular with Democrats as well as Republicans and is known far and wide for superb constituent services – would win over challenger Tony Foriest. The question was by how much. It turned out Coble, who campaigned hard in his new district won, with 61 percent of the vote over 39 percent for Foriest.
Coble is 81 and has been representing the Sixth District since 1984. There was a great deal of speculation about whether or not Coble would run in the newly drawn district, but once Coble committed to run for another term he ran full bore. However, the speculation has already started about whether or not this will be his last term in Congress.
Democrat 12th District Congressman Mel Watt won with 80 percent of the vote over Republican Jack Brosch with 20 percent. Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, who did not run for reelection, said he wouldn't rule out running for the 12th District seat if it was open in two years. He did indicate that there was a strong possibility that he would be running for something in two years but refused to narrow it down, except he did say that he doubted if he would run for sheriff.
Although Romney won North Carolina with 50.46 percent of the statewide vote to 48.29 percent for President Obama, Romney did not win Guilford County. In Guilford County, Obama had 58 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Romney. The Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 1 percent of the statewide vote and 0.83 percent in Guilford County.
The Democrats also had 63 percent vote straight party in Guilford County compared to 36 percent for Republicans....continued on page 2