According to unofficial results, Republicans are one seat shy of retaking a supermajority in the N.C. General Assembly, which would have given them the power to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
Republicans flipped two seats in the N.C. House and two in the N.C. Senate, meaning they would fall one seat short of a supermajority in the state House. Republicans needed 72 to gain this veto-proof power, but only appeared to win 71.
The two flipped Senate seats were in the eastern part of the state. N.C. Senate District 3, currently held by N.C. Sen. Ernestine Bazemore (D-Beaufort, Bertie, Martin, Northampton, Vance, Warren), was won by Republican Bobby Hanig by about 5 percent of the vote. N.C. Senate District 4, the other flipped seat, is currently held by N.C. Sen. Toby Fitch (D-Edgecombe, Halifax, Wilson), who lost his reelection bid to Republican Buck Newton by a wide margin.
One of the flipped House seats was held by N.C. Rep. Ricky Hurtado (D-Alamance), the first Hispanic member of the state legislature. Hurtado lost his race to Republican Stephen Ross by 658 votes in one of the closest races of the night. The two also faced off in 2020 in a race that Hurtado won by just 477 votes.
House District 32 was the other flipped seat in the House, and it is currently held by N.C. Rep. Terry Garrison (D-Granville, Vance, Warren). Garrison lost his reelection bid to Republican Frank Sossamon by less than 3 percent of the vote.
With a veto-proof supermajority, Republicans would have been able to push through any legislation without the support of any Democrats.
"We stopped a GOP supermajority tonight when North Carolinians voted for balance and progress," Cooper said in a Tweet. "I’ll continue to work with this legislature to support a growing economy, more clean energy, better health care and strong public schools."
Cooper has already vetoed dozens of bills since he took office in 2017, including a bill titled the "Election Day Integrity Act" in December 2021 that would have added extra requirements to be able to vote.
Dan Pelletier, a 63-year-old Chapel Hill voter, noted his distaste with former President Donald Trump's rhetoric surrounding voter fraud and election integrity.
"He's willing to lie and lie and lie and lie repeatedly. That tells me that this is a man lacking in character and lacking a moral compass," he said. "And that has unfortunately spread throughout a huge chunk of the Republican Party."
Republicans would have also been able to pass increased restrictions on abortion more easily if they had gained the supermajority.
Mia Ferrari, a student at UNC, said she voted on Election Day to protect abortion rights.
"I thought that it was really important that I come out as a woman and vote, especially with everything surrounding abortion," she said. "And I mean, that's really why I'm here today — to just kind of secure those rights for women."
Republicans previously had a supermajority in the 2017-18 session, during which they overturned 23 of Cooper's vetoes. Some of the legislation passed via veto overrides included the 2017 and 2018 budgets and the proposal of a constitutional amendment to require voter ID at the polls.
The voter ID requirement was later struck down by a court for targeting Black voters.
Olivia Gschwind and Gowri Abhinanda contributed reporting to this story.
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