Tillis Wins, Meck Sales Tax Hike Loses Big
The State Board of Elections says it may order a recount of the Supreme Court race between Cheri Beasley and Mike Robinson. The margin between Beasley and Robinson is just over 5,000 votes. State law allows for an automatic right to a recount in statewide races when the margin is under 0.5 percent or 10,000 votes, whichever is lower. Robinson will have to submit a written demand to the State Board before noon on November 18 if he wants a recount.
Mark Martin, Sam Ervin and Robin Hudson were the winners of the State's Supreme Court tonight.
Thom Tillis delivers his victory speech at the Omni Hotel in uptown Charlotte, 15 minutes after Senator Kay Hagan concedes at midnight in Greensboro.
Democrats have held on to their lead in the Mecklenburg County Commission At-Large race. With 91 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Pat Cotham leads with 135,022 votes or 23.9%, followed by former Charlotte City Councilwoman Ella Scarborough, with 117,704 votes or 20.84%. Commission Chairman Trevor Fuller trails with 114,250 votes or 20.23%. Republicans Emily Zyuys and Scott Carlisle lost their challenge bids. Democrat Kim Ratliff's bid for a second at-large term ended when she lost in the May primary. Republicans have held onto the District 1 seat, held by outgoing Commissioner Karen Bentley. Voters in that district elected Republican and former Commissioner Jim Puckett with more than 54% of the vote. Republican Matthew Ridenhour was re-elected in District 5, defeating Democrat Art Cardenas. The remaining 4 commissioners ran unopposed and will serve another two-year term. That means the composition of the Mecklenburg County Commission will not change in this election. Democrats hold 6 seats; Republicans hold 3.
Both NPR and the AP project Republican Thom Tillis will be North Carolina's next U.S. Senator. With more than 97 percent of precincts reporting, Tillis holds about a 50,000 vote edge over incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan, 48.93% to 47.16%. Libertarian Sean Haugh has received just over 100,00 votes, less than 4 percent.
Republicans will likely pick up a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina. State House Speaker Thom Tillis is poised to defeat incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan by a narrow margin. With 95.85% of precincts reporting, Tillis holds a 50,854 vote lead over the one-term Democratic incumbent. Tillis has 48.95% of the vote to Hagan’s 47.13%. Libertarian Sean Haugh has 104,122 votes, or 3.73%. The race was among the most closely watched in the country. It was also the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history. Outside groups spent more than $100 million on the campaign.
The North Carolina Board of Elections says voter turnout set a new record tonight. According to a release at 10:34 p.m., 2,717,920 voters had cast ballots. In 2010, turnout was 2,700,393.
Eight percent of precincts were unreported as of 10:34PM.
The Mecklenburg County sales tax referendum will likely be defeated. Advocates for the sales tax said they believed it would not pass. With about 60 percent of precincts reporting, 61 percent of voters have voted against the tax increase, and 39 percent voted in favor.
If the referendum had passed, Mecklenburg County’s sales tax would have increased a quarter cent to 7.5 percent. Most of the increase would have been used to increase teacher pay, fund libraries, Central Piedmont Community College and the Arts and Science Council.
With 60 percent of precincts reporting in Mecklenburg County, Democrats are in the lead for three at-large county commission seats, including one open seat. Commissioner Pat Cotham leads with 103,182, or 24.01%, followed by Democrat Ella Scarborough, with 90,160 or 20.98%, and Chairman Trevor Fuller, with 87,490 or 20.36%. The other open seat on the commission is District 1, formerly represented by Republican Karen Bentley. Republican Jim Puckett, who has previously served on the commission, holds a narrow lead over Democrat Leonard Richardson 53.85% to 46.15%.
Republicans have picked up a seat in North Carolina's Congressional delegation. The AP projects David Rouzer, a former state legislator, will defeat Jonathan Barfield, a New Hanover County Commissioner. Rouzer will replace Rep. Mike McIntyre (D), who chose not to run again. The 7th District includes most of Southeastern North Carolina. The district was redrawn by Republicans in 2010 to include more GOP voters. In 2012, McIntyre defeated Rouzer by less than 700 votes.
The AP predicts Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R) will win re-election over singer Clay Aiken. The U.S. Senate race between Kay Hagan (D) and Thom Tillis (R) still too close to call.
The AP predicts N.C. Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford) will win the 12th District Congressional race to replace former Congressman Mel Watt. Adams will also win a special election on today's ballot to fill the remainder of Watt's term. The seat has been empty since Watt resigned in January 2014, after he was confirmed to be head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Here's more detail on tonight's N.C. Board of Elections emergency meeting. The Board called the meeting to discuss problems at a few polling places in Robeson, Johnston and Lincoln counties. (Lincoln is about 35 miles northwest of Charlotte.)
One polling site in Robeson County was closed for 45 minutes because it didn’t have enough ballots. A state board member pointed out that Robeson is the largest county in the state in terms of land area, so that's why it took so long to get the additional ballots there. To make up for that time, the state board voted unanimously to extend the time that one site will be open tonight by 45 minutes to 8:15.
There were two problems in Johnston County. One precinct opened an hour and a half late because of issues with the electronic poll book. There was also some voter confusion at another precinct because of a photo of the wrong place on the state board's website. (It showed an incorrect church as the polling place.) The local board in Johnston said it's a close-knit community and word got out to correct the problems. The local board voted unanimously not to extend the hours. The state board's three Republican members agreed, outvoting the board's two Democratic members who wanted to extend the hours.
In Lincoln County near Charlotte, a power outage this morning caused a polling place to open 15 or 20 minutes late. Two voters complained, but there was no formal request that the state board extend hours. The state board voted not to extend that site by another 15 minutes, again with three Republicans outvoting two Democrats.
The North Carolina Board of Elections ruled to keep one Robeson County precinct open until 8:15, because that precinct ran out of ballots. The Board denied requests to extend voting hours at precincts in Johnston and Lincoln Counties.
The Associated Press predicts, based on exit polls, that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) will win a second term. The AP also projects U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R) will win a third term. In addition, the AP predicts that U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R), who was appointed to replace former Senator Jim DeMint (R), will be elected to fill out the remainder of his term.
The State Board of Elections is holding a public teleconference now. Polls in Robeson County will be open till 8:15 p.m. because the county ran out of ballots this afternoon. The Board also plans to rule on whether to extend voting hours in Lincoln and Johnston counties.
Here's a link to the Mecklenburg County Board of Election results.
Tonight's results will start to come in as soon as polls close this evening. That's at 7:30 p.m. in North Carolina and at 7 p.m. in South Carolina. Here are some of the races we'll be keeping an eye on:
U.S. Senate - North Carolina:
Incumbent one-term Senator Kay Hagan (D) is facing a tough challenge from N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg). Polls have the two at a statistical dead heat. Outside groups have spent more than $100 million in this race, making it the most expensive U.S. Senate contest ever.
North Carolina Legislature:
Republicans are looking to keep control of both the House and Senate. All seats (120 in the House and 50 in the Senate) are up for election this year.
Mecklenburg County Commission:
There are two open seats on the nine-member board; one at-large and District 1. Commissioners Trevor Fuller (Chairman-D-At Large), Pat Cotham (D-At Large), Vilma Leake (D-District 2), George Dunlap (D-District 3), Dumont Clarke (D-District 4), Matthew Ridenhour (R-District 5), and Bill James (R-District 6) are running for re-election.
U.S. House of Representatives:
All 13 congressional districts are on the ballot this election. In the 9th congressional district, Republican Robert Pittenger is running unopposed. In the 12th congressional district, Democrat Alma Adams is likely to win the seat. She would replace former Congressman Mel Watt.
South Carolina Governor:
Incumbent Republican Nikki Haley is running for a second term. She's being challenged by S.C. Senator Vincent Shaheen (D-Kershaw). Former Republican State Representative Tom Ervin, a Greenville attorney, petitioned his way onto the ballot as an independent. But last week, Ervin dropped out and endorsed Shaheen. Haley has a double-digit lead in most polls.
Check back here for updates.