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DGR Legislative Update

Friday, November 11, 2016
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Duke University Health and State Government Relations

Post-Election Report

FEDERAL

Donald Trump will become the nation’s 45th president, defeating Hillary Clinton to retake the White House for Republicans. For the first time since 2010, there will be a single party controlling two branches of the government as Republicans also maintained their majorities in the House and Senate.  Trump ran on a platform of change, and spoke regularly of the need to “clean up Washington.” Trump will now begin the task of naming a cabinet and other key administration officials. 

Duke has been monitoring the Trump campaign and their transition team and has several relationships with a number of potential administration officials. Republicans retain their majority in the House of Representatives by a margin of 238-193, with four races still undecided. The new total represents a shift for the moment of a net six seats for Democrats. In the Senate, Republicans retain a majority with a margin of 51-46 (plus two Democratic-leaning Independents), with one still undecided. This represents a loss of two for Republicans.
Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr won a third term Tuesday by defeating Democratic challenger Deborah Ross. Burr led Ross, a former state legislator from Raleigh, by about 6 percentage points.

The U.S. House of Representatives welcomes back twelve NC Representatives: G.K. Butterfield (D), George Holding (R), Walter Jones (R), David Price (D), Virginia Foxx (R), Mark Walker (R), David Rouzer (R), Richard Hudson (R), Robert Pittenger (R), Patrick McHenry (R), Mark Meadows (R) and Alma Adams (D). As a result of 2016 redistricting, NC lost Renee Ellmers (R) but gained Ted Budd (R), who is now representing District 13.

STATE

It appears that Governor McCrory may have lost his re-election bid to Roy Cooper by less than 5,000 votes. However, even though Roy Cooper declared victory Tuesday, Governor McCrory has yet to concede. That is because there are still in excess of 50,000 provisional ballots that have yet to be counted statewide. Counties will have 10 days from Wednesday to count the provisional ballots and certify their election results to the State Board of Elections. It will then take the State Board of Elections up to 10 additional days to certify the election and declare a winner. Depending on the size of the certified margin of victory, the loser can then demand a recount. This all means that it might be several weeks before North Carolinians know for sure who will be the next Governor.

In the race for Attorney General, Josh Stein defeated Buck Newton, who was the primary proponent of HB2 in the NC Senate, with a late night last minute surge mainly from Durham County. Other Democratic candidates won two additional Council of State races (Auditor and Secretary of State), while the Republican candidates were victorious in the races for Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Commissioners of Agriculture, Insurance and Labor. Given the margin of victory in some of these races, the same canvassing and certification process that will take place for the Governor’s race may be necessary before a winner can be formally declared.

In the NC Senate, Republicans picked up one seat to increase their majority to 35-15. Despite early predictions of significant losses, House Republicans also maintained their super-majority (74-46). There are a couple of legislative contests that were so close in terms of the difference in vote count that the projected loser may call for a recount. Regardless, a recount that changes a projected outcome will not change the fact Republicans maintain super-majorities in both chambers and will control the legislative agenda in North Carolina for the next two years.
 
Durham County
Durham County welcomes back three NC Representatives, Larry Hall (D), Henry Michaux (D) and Graig Meyer (D) and two NC Senators, Floyd McKissick (D) and Mike Woodard (D). Just weeks prior to the election, Durham lost an important leader and friend, Representative Paul Luebke (D) who passed away from cancer. Representative Luebke’s name remained on the ballot and won reelection. The Democratic Party will be appointing someone to serve his two-year term. An announcement should be made within weeks.
 
Wake County
Wake County will have 8 returning Representatives: Duane Hall (D), Rosa Gill (D), Grier Martin (D), Chris Malone (R), Yvonne Holley (D), Darren Jackson (D), Gale Adcock (D) and Nelson Dollar (R). Three new Representatives will be joining the delegation: Cynthia Ball (D), Joe John (D) and Linda Hunt-Williams (R). Cynthia Ball and Joe John defeated incumbent republicans Gary Pendleton and Marilyn Avila, while Linda Hunt Williams replaced the retiring Paul “Skip” Stam. The five Senators representing Wake County remain unchanged: John Alexander (R), Tamara Barringer (R), Dan Blue (D), Jay Chaudhuri (D) and Chad Barefoot (R).