NC Republicans fall one seat short of supermajority in General Assembly
North Carolina Republicans will return to Raleigh with a supermajority in the N.C. Senate but not the N.C. House next year, according to final but unofficial voting results Wednesday, as Democrats hang onto Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto power by a single seat in the House.
Republicans picked up enough seats in the state Senate to override Cooper’s veto going forward. To reach the required 60% threshold, Republicans needed to pick up two Senate seats, which they did, reaching the magic number of 30.
N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, a Rockingham Republican, said the return of a Republican supermajority to the state Senate is "a barometer for where voters want their state and country to go."
But Republicans also needed to flip three N.C. House seats to reach 72, the number required for a supermajority in that chamber. With almost all votes counted statewide, Republicans had 71 seats in the House — one seat short.
That means Cooper would still be able to veto Republican-backed bills, but that veto would hinge on holding every Democrat in the House together.
We stopped a GOP supermajority tonight when North Carolinians voted for balance and progress. I’ll continue to work with this legislature to support a growing economy, more clean energy, better health care and strong public schools. - RC— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) November 9, 2022
North Carolina Democrats celebrated their narrow win.
"Today, North Carolina voters have rejected the attempts of North Carolina Republicans to consolidate power and take our state backwards," North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Bobbie Richardson said in a statement. "North Carolinians see a stronger future for our state when Democrats have a seat at the decision-making table."
Republicans have held simple majorities in the state legislature for more than a decade. But Cooper has used his veto power freely, exerting influence on the legislature in spite of the Republican control of both houses. Vetoing more than 70 bills, Cooper blocked more legislation than any previous North Carolina governor.
Republicans held supermajorities in the state legislature for the first two years of Cooper’s first term, before Democrats won enough seats to break the supermajorities in 2018. Since then, Cooper has been able to veto bills without being overridden.
Republicans hoped to regain supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature. That could enable them to pass policies such as further restrictions on abortion, stricter requirements for voter ID and looser gun laws.
And a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court could give the state legislature much broader power to control redistricting without judicial oversight. Democrats have been able to use Cooper’s veto as a dam to hold these policies back.