N.C. Senate 38: Ford on track to reclaim seat

State Sen. Joel Ford was on track for a big win against challenger Richard Rivette, reclaiming his seat in the state legislature.

Ford, a Democrat, was ahead with almost 80 percent of the votes, while Rivette, a Republican, had more than 20 percent.

Twenty-eight of 34 precincts in the district, which stretches across much of north and west Charlotte, had reported by late Tuesday.

The contest was a rematch: Rivette also ran against Ford in 2012. The district heavily favors Democrats, who make up almost two-thirds of registered voters.

Ford also won by a large margin two years ago but ended up decidedly in the minority at the statehouse. A technology consultant, Ford was one of 17 Democrats in the 50-member N.C. Senate. He said Tuesday that he plans to work with Republicans in the legislature.

“I’ve cultivated some relationships in the Republican Party and want to continue to work to represent the biz interests in Charlotte, as well as the state,” said Ford, also a former Mecklenburg County Democratic chairman and former chair of the Charlotte Housing Authority.

He first won election to the state House in 2012, succeeding longtime Democratic incumbent Charlie Dannelly. Ford said funding education and ensuring there’s enough money to pay for teacher raises will be some of his top priorities.

“We’ve got to look at the tax code,” Ford said. “We’ve got to look at ways to be able to expand other revenue sources.”

Rivette, a marketing consultant and self-described “constitutional conservative,” said that despite being defeated, he considered his campaign “a victory for common sense” and an important way to show incumbents they can’t run unopposed.

“What is the point of several hundred people in Mecklenburg going out to vote when there’s no choice?”