Under the Dome

Dome: League of Conservation Voters looks on bright side

November 7, 2012 

Republicans weren’t the only ones in the state rejoicing Wednesday morning. Perhaps surprisingly, the N.C. League of Conservation Voters says Tuesday was a successful Election Day for candidates it endorsed.

Of the 18 state Senate candidates it endorsed, 11 won. On the House side, 32 of the 50 hopefuls who received an NCLCV nod were victorious.

“Overall it was a successful night,” Dan Crawford, the organization’s governmental relations director, said in a statement. “We welcome these newly elected members and look forward to educating them on environmental issues.”

All of the candidates receiving the green nod were Democrats in safe districts except for two: Republican Sen. Neal Hunt of Wake County and Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady of Henderson County.

Triangle winners were Sens. Dan Blue and Josh Stein of Wake and Ellie Kinnaird of Orange; and Reps. Rosa Gill, Deborah Ross, Darren Jackson, the newly elected Yvonne Lewis Holley and Duane Hall, who ran unopposed, of Wake; Larry Hall, Paul Luebke and Mickey Michaux of Durham; and Verla Insko and the newly elected Valerie Foushee of Orange.

But with Republicans securing an overwhelming majority in the House and an edge in the Senate, we’ll see how long the optimism lasts. Most of the state’s environmental groups said the 2011-12 session was dreadful. NCLCV itself acknowledges that environmental issues were seldom mentioned on the campaign trail.

The biggest loser from N.C.

One of the biggest losers Tuesday was Eastern North Carolina native Linda E. McMahon, who has spent $97 million losing Senate races in Connecticut.

McMahon, 64, grew up Linda Edwards in New Bern and graduated from East Carolina University, later making a fortune with her husband promoting professional wrestling. She is a former executive of World Wrestling Entertainment.

She lost Tuesday to Democratic congressman Christopher Murphy. In 2010, she lost to Democrat Richard Blumenthal. Over the races she spent almost $100 million – most of it her own money.

GOP governors group grows

Pat McCrory was the only new Republican governor elected Tuesday – winning in counties where President Obama claimed victory, but not in the one where he grew up.

McCrory acknowledged his outlier win as he thanked his team during a press conference Wednesday. “I think they ran one of the best campaigns ever in North Carolina history and in this nation,” he said. “Our campaign strategy worked, and it was obviously … quite unique in the outcome as compared to the rest of the nation.”

Democrats fended off challengers in Missouri, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Delaware and Vermont – and appeared headed to a win in Washington. Republicans kept the governor’s office in North Dakota, Indiana and Utah, The Associated Press reported. The Republican Governors Association spent big money to elect McCrory, and only late in the game diverted dollars to other states as the race in North Carolina looked solidly Republican.

Even though Mitt Romney took North Carolina, McCrory won in his own right, pulling in 172,000 more votes than the presidential candidate.

McCrory also claimed victory in six counties that Obama won: Chatham, Forsyth, Granville, Mecklenburg, Nash, Richmond and Wake.

McCrory received the majority of votes in the county where he lives but not where he grew up. Guilford County favored Obama and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton. McCrory mentioned his affinity for his home county and hometown of Jamestown at every stop – and even in his victory speech, apparently unaware that he had lost there.

Silver wrong on Wake

One thing Nate Silver got wrong on election night: Wake County.

“Almost all of Mr. Romney’s advantage can be explained by one county, Wake County, in North Carolina’s Research Triangle,” Nate Silver, the New York Times’ superstar statistician, wrote at 9:59 p.m. Tuesday.

The problem: Silver apparently didn’t notice that the Wake County Board of Elections still hadn’t posted early voting results hours after the polls closed.

When the county finally did, the extra 260,000 votes pushed Wake County to a decisive win for Barack Obama – not Romney, who took the overall vote in North Carolina.

Even so, Obama did find less support here, with his share of the Wake County vote falling by 4 percentage points compared to 2008. Voter turnout in the county topped 80 percent – a significant gain over the last presidential election.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis, Rob Christensen, John Frank and Andy Kenney

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