Mary Curtis: 2018 Midterm Takeaways

Lessons from Tuesday's Midterm Election -- in North Carolina and beyond

CHARLOTTE. NC —  North Carolina may not have had a senator or governor’s race on the ballot, but there was no shortage of drama in contests that determined GOP super-majorities in the state legislature, controversial amendments to the state constitution, Charlotte bond issues and judicial races. Several U.S. Congressional contests in North Carolina also drew national attention. (Mary Curtis)

WCCB political contributor, Mary C. Curtis offers more context on key local and national takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections.

–The national scene. As expected, Democrats flipped control of the U.S. House, perhaps because voters were looking for more checks and balances in a divided government while Republicans retained control of the Senate, flipping some states that Donald Trump overwhelmingly won from Democrats.

The country is increasingly dug into blue and red camps, with urban and suburban areas trending Democratic and more rural areas trending Republican.

In North Carolina, in a closely watched House race, Mark Harris declared victory in a race that remained too close to call for much of the evening.

–National firsts. They included the first Native American congresswoman, first Somali-American in Congress, many more female candidates.

–The Trump effect, both a positive and negative. The president helped in state-wide Senate races, getting his base to turn out, but may have turned off suburban women in close House races. His power was most seen in pushing GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis over the top in Florida.

Did his divisive rhetoric that help turn out his base turn off the suburban women that helped flip the House?

–N.C. amendments. Perhaps swayed by the former governors who came out against them, voters rejected two amendments that would have reduced the governor’s power on filling judicial vacancies and appointments on the state board of elections, while approving a controversial one on voter ID.

–Charlotte bonds. Voters approved bonds on housing, transportation and road and neighborhood improvements.

–Courts. In a watched race, Democrat Anita Earls defeated incumbent Republican Barbara Jackson for a set on the N.C. Supreme Court.