The shift in seats wasn’t enough Tuesday to change Republican control of the General Assembly.
The legislative races likely won’t have a major effect on the power dynamic in the General Assembly. Both the House and Senate have had veto-proof Republican majorities for the past two years.
Democrats needed to pick up five seats in the House and four in the Senate to end the GOP supermajority. In the House, early results indicated the party would take no more than four, in part because Republicans were poised to pick up two seats held by Democrats.
While all legislators were up for re-election this year, 78 seats didn’t even draw a challenger – likely a result of legislative districts drawn to favor a particular party. Only 20 House seats and 12 Senate seats were even considered competitive races.
In dozens of other districts, two candidates were on the ballot, but voter registration numbers so heavily favored one party or the other that the districts weren’t considered up for grabs – and the early results followed those predictions.
The supermajority has allowed Republicans in the legislature to override several vetoes from Gov. Pat McCrory during his first two years in office. With results indicating the supermajority will remain, the governor could struggle to wield influence in the legislative branch.
Democrats had hoped that ending the supermajorities would help moderate Republican lawmakers, who are more likely to compromise.
Democrats did, however, get good news from the Asheville area.
On the western side of the state, Democrat Brian Turner pulled off an upset over incumbent Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt. Moffitt had been named as a possible successor to Thom Tillis as House speaker, but he received only 48.11 percent of the vote Tuesday.
Near Moffitt’s district, Republican Rep. Nathan Ramsey lost his seat to Democrat John Ager by a margin of about 500 votes.