Under the Dome

Bill to place governor and lieutenant governor on same ticket fails

After extended debate, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have required each political party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run on a single ticket failed to gain the supermajority vote needed to pass the measure in the House Wednesday.

The vote was 60-58 in favor of the idea. A three-fifths majority was needed for it to pass.

Currently North Carolina voters elect those candidates separately.

“The lieutenant governor is a heartbeat away from the governor’s mansion,” said Rep. Bert Jones, a Republican from Reidsville, a primary sponsor of the bill. “Those two should be working together and they should be doing so in such a way that, Lord forbid, if something were to happen to the governor, the lieutenant governor makes a smooth transition into that office.”

Those opposed to the bill were concerned it could cause more issues than it would fix.

“Part of the reason for having an independent lieutenant governor, even if they’re the same party, is to limit the power of the governor, the influence and the control that he might exercise over the Senate through someone who was maybe, for lack of a better word, his lackey,” said Rep. Larry Pittman, a Republican from Concord.

Many in opposition were particularly concerned about unaffiliated candidates who wouldn’t be able to run unless they formed a two-candidate ticket. Others in favor of the bill thought it would give unaffiliated candidates a better chance to get on the ballot since a two-candidate ticket would only need one petition for the both of them instead of each needing a separate petition as they do now.