Democrat Renée Price will represent District 50 in the North Carolina House of Representatives according to unofficial results on Tuesday.
The seat was previously held by N.C. House Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Caswell, Orange), who is set to represent District 23 in the N.C. Senate.
Price defeated Republican Charles Lopez by a wide margin. She finished with 19,349 votes, winning 64.61 percent of the vote. While Lopez finished with 10,597 votes, 35.39 percent. Lopez congratulated Price on her victory.
Price has served on the Orange County Board of Commissioners since 2012. She was the board’s vice chairperson from 2018-2020 and has been its chairperson since 2020.
According to her website, Price’s priorities are funding schools, infrastructure, justice, climate, voting rights and health care and human services. She said she is also particularly focused on increasing access to broadband in North Carolina so homes and businesses can connect to the Internet.
Price told The Daily Tar Heel that she supports abortion rights, especially in cases of rape and incest.
“Women should be able to choose when they want to have a family, when they want to have children,” she said.
Voters at the polls in Orange County, including 33-year-old Chapel Hill resident Charlotte Barry, expressed support of abortion rights and their concerns in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization.
“It is important to me that ideally, Democrats retain control of the Senate especially because of Roe v. Wade being overturned,” Barry said.
Price said that while she is happy with her and Valerie Foushee’s wins, she is disappointed by losses of Democrat judicial and Senate candidates. Democrats will keep fighting, she said.
Price said that if Republicans win a supermajority, she hopes legislators will be able to put partisanship aside and do what is best for North Carolinians. Unofficial results indicate that Republicans will fall one seat short of a supermajority in the N.C. House.
Her experience has enabled her to work with Republicans, Libertarians and unaffiliated people and she hopes other lawmakers will be willing to look at the issues instead of political affiliations, Price said.
“I was hoping to be able to support the governor's veto,” Price said. “But hopefully we can somehow work together.”
Price also told The DTH that she supports more gun regulation and background checks to curb gun violence in North Carolina and doesn’t see a need for civilians to have access to military-grade weapons. She added that marijuana, especially medical marijuana, should be decriminalized in the state and supports criminal justice reform.
According to Price’s website, North Carolina and the United States are in dire need of criminal justice reform because many of the laws, policies and procedures in place at the state and federal level are founded on racial discrimination, gender prejudice and punishment for poverty.
“She's been in the community for 30 something years,” Lopez said. “She's an awesome person. We just have different views.”
Price thanked Lopez for running a civil race, which she said is the way that bridges are built and the community is helped. She said that they connected on the campaign trail, had nice conversations and she met his wife and children.
Lopez said he and his family are here for the long run and will continue to support the community through the Charlie & Friends Foundation.
“We're gonna make sure we serve as our community that way,” he said. “I don’t need a political office to do that.”
Caroline Horne contributed reporting to this story.
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