North Carolina’s 2014 Political Preview Happy New Year! January 3, 2014 Vol. VII, No. 1 11:13 am Hagan Race to Decide U.S Senate Majority and President Obama’s Legacy Imagine waking up the morning after General Election Day 2014 with a Republican Governor, a Republican majority state Senate and House, a Republican majority state Supreme
North Carolina’s 2014 Political Preview
Happy New Year!
January 3, 2014 Vol. VII, No. 1 11:13 am
Hagan Race to Decide U.S Senate Majority and President Obama’s Legacy
Imagine waking up the morning after General Election Day 2014 with a Republican Governor, a Republican majority state Senate and House, a Republican majority state Supreme Court, a Republican majority Court of Appeals, a 10-3 Republican U.S. House delegation and two Republican U.S. Senators joining Republican majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House in Washington, DC. If you are a member of the GOP, or if you prefer conservative solutions to problems, nothing could be finer. If you are a Democrat … ummmm, need I say more?
It could happen.
GOP Governor Pat McCrory will be governor. Check. As maps plus money equal the majority, Republicans will have solid majorities in the state Senate and House (although they could lose their veto-proof super majorities). Check. The 4-3 Republican majority state Supreme Court could be 5-2 Republican with a Republican Chief Justice (Mark Martin), as three of the four seats on the ballot this fall are the three held by Democratic Justices. Three former Democratic Chief Justices are supporting Martin, Jim Exum, Henry Frye and Burley Mitchell, along with Rhoda Billings and I. Beverly Lake Jr., two former Republican Chief Justices. Check.
The 15-member North Carolina Court of Appeals is currently 9-6 Democratic, with two of the three seats on the ballot this fall held by Democratic judges. Democrats would have to lose both of those seats while the GOP held the one Republican seat in order for the court to shift to an 8-7 Republican majority. Not a probability, but a possibility. Check.
What is probable is that David Rouzer, a former state Senator from Johnston County who almost defeated incumbent Robeson County Democrat Congressman Mike McIntyre in 2012, will achieve his goal of representing the 7th Congressional District with a 2014 win. The other 9 Republican held districts will stay in the hands of Republicans, giving the GOP a total of 10 of the 13 North Carolina congressional districts. Check.
Rouser will almost certainly join a Republican majority U.S. House of Representatives, as the 233-201 GOP advantage will be too great a challenge for Democrats during a mid-term election year. The party in the White House has lost an average of 30 seats in the U.S. House over the past 21 midterm elections, and an average of 4 seats in the U.S. Senate. Furthermore, the congressional districts are drawn to an all-time high degree of partisan predictability, leaving very few vulnerable Republicans and even fewer swing seat opportunities for Democrats. GOP U.S. House. Check.
What about the U.S. Senate? Republicans need to net 6 wins to get to 51 Senators.
Well, according to the nation’s leading political prognosticators, if Republicans defeat North Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, they are likely to have a 51-seat majority in the U.S. Senate. Republicans will then be in a position to thwart the president’s administrative and judicial picks with a simple majority vote (except for Supreme Court) thanks to the extreme “nuclear option” (simple majority decides; no longer need 60 votes) change in the Senate rules instituted last November by Democrats.
This is how important North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race is in 2014. The winner will likely determine the majority of the U.S. Senate and thus President Obama’s legacy. If Hagan does lose and Republicans do take over the U.S. Senate, look for the GOP to follow the “nuclear option” precedent set by Democrats and expand its reach to include legislation. If they do, they will be able to repeal controversial elements of the Affordable Care Act and other prized liberal programs and regulations with a simple majority vote.
Next week I will handicap North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, offering the keys to a Hagan win as well as what it will take for the GOP to pull off the most far-reaching upset in the nation.
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John N. Davis, Editor