The presidential race has overshadowed contests lower on the North Carolina ballot, but those races also have intense drama this Election Day. And that has put intense pressure on North Carolina voters. How Tar Heels decide will determine a lot within the state and the nation.
On the presidential level, North Carolina could close Donald Trump’s path to the presidency by going for Hillary Clinton. At the U.S. Senate level, the contest between Republican incumbent Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Deborah Ross could decide which party controls the Senate – and the ideological balance of the Supreme Court.
The balance of the North Carolina Supreme Court is also at issue. Republican-leaning justices now hold a 4-3 majority that has given an extra margin of operation for the Republican-dominated General Assembly. Who wins the race between incumbent Associate Justice Bob Edmunds and Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan will determine whether the court continues to lean conservative, or swings to a more liberal majority.
The governor’s race, one of the most hotly contested in the nation, offers a referendum on Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and his shift toward right-wing politics. But his Democratic challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper, has also made it a referendum on House Bill 2. Finally, we’ll get to see where the majority of North Carolina voters stand on the disputed law.
Tonight’s results will also show how deeply HB2 affected General Assembly races. Can Triangle lawmakers who supported the law survive a referendum on it?
There’s plenty to disagree about on the 2016 NC ballot, but both sides can agree that it offers real choices.