by Mary Hopper
Mecklenburg voters helped to drastically reshape the delegation that will represent us in Raleigh. And their vote helped break the super majority that made current legislative actions veto proof. While there was hope breaking the super majority might happen in one house, both the state house and senate became veto proof.
Dig deeper and you will see that Mecklenburg is sending a strong mix of women newcomers and incumbents to Raleigh. Incumbents include Mary Belk, Becky Carney, Carla Cunningham, and Joyce Waddell who will be joined by newly elected Carolyn Logan, Christy Clark, Natasha Marcus and, now also Rachel Hunt.
Joining them are five incumbent men (Kelly Alexander, Jeff Jackson, Dan Bishop, John Autry and Chaz Beasley), and newcomers, Mujtaba Mohammend , Brandon Lofton, Nasif Majeed, and Wesley Harris. The only remaining Republican is Dan Bishop.
Of Mecklenburg’s 17 member delegation 8 are African American and 8 are female.
The trade-off is that Mecklenburg and other urban areas that experienced similar delegation turnovers will lose clout in both houses where Republicans still hold the majority and thereby control both chairmanships and what bills move to the floor.
Democrats should take no victory laps about this outcome. Post election analysis seems to indicate that, instead of preferring Democrats, the outcome was a repudiation of what was seen by many as legislative overreach.
That perceived overreach caused a growing number of unaffiliated voters, as well as some Republicans, to vote for Democratic candidates. Add to that the momentum that women candidates saw across the board and the strong women on the local ballot and you had what is seen as a pink wave within the blue wave. Mecklenburg was also fortunate to have strong African Americans on the ballot.
The challenge moving forward will be that Democrats understand that what got them in the General Assembly could just as easily sweep them back out in 2020.
They need to learn from mistakes made and not overplay the hand they’ve been dealt.
In the meantime, the current members return for a short session on Nov 27 when, in addition to hurricane relief, legislators try to clarify how the four amendments that passed are implemented. Of special interest is what will be required in the way of voter ID. Pay special attention as lame duck legislators may try to exact revenge.