At the top of the ticket, Republican gains are marred by a state Supreme Court loss and a close race for governor.
As of press time, Donald Trump was on his way to becoming the 45th president of the United States.
God help us all.
Donald Trump was winning North Carolina by almost 4 points at press time, garnering more than 2.3 million votes against Hillary’s 2.1 million.
Trump won by big margins in the rural counties — in Carteret he garnered 70 percent of the vote. In Graham County, in the west, he got 78 percent of the vote.
Clinton’s Democratic strongholds in the urban precincts came through. In Guilford, where Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012 by more than 16 points, gave Clinton a win of almost 20 points.
Barack Obama won Forsyth County in 2012 by 7 points, about the same margin that Clinton secured this year by more than 10 points. Huge victories in Mecklenburg, the northeast quadrant and the Triangle — Clinton got more than 77 percent of the vote in Durham County — were not enough to turn North Carolina blue.
At press time, Trump had secured 244 of the necessary 270 Electoral votes to win the race, with leads in the key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona.
NC Senate race
In a decisive victory that covered all but the most urban counties in the state and a small cluster east of Raleigh, Sen. Richard Burr was able keep his Senate seat for a third term. Going against the conventional wisdom that says early voting favors Democrats, Burr took a slim lead in early and one-stop voting totals. His gap widened on Election Day, finalizing with a 6-point lead.
Burr lost both Guilford and Forsyth counties, though, trailing challenger Deborah Ross in Guilford County by more than 16 points. In Forsyth, Ross enjoyed a 5-point lead.
When his victory was confirmed, Burr was introduced by Thom Tillis, the junior senator from North Carolina, at Forsyth County Country Club in Winston-Salem around 10:30 p.m.
Burr’s victory speech took a sentimental turn, reflecting on his children growing up during his time in Washington, the loss of both parents in the intervening years after his first election to the Senate in 2004 and the birth of a grandchild. The words prompted tears from Burr’s wife, Brooke.
On winning a third term to the Senate, Burr said, “I’m also reminded tonight that with this special privilege that only two senators being elected — not appointed — will have served more terms than I have, that being Jesse Helms and Sam Ervin.”
With his victory, Burr helps maintain the Republican majority in the Senate.
As his victory was announced at the Shriner’s Club in Greensboro Tuesday night, the loudest cheer of the evening went up.
“You know what that means?” said Fred Starr of Sedgefield. “It means we got the Senate!”
NC Governor’s race
A tight race that lasted into the night seems to have fallen in favor of outgoing Attorney General Roy Cooper, who led Gov. Pat McCrory at press time by a mere 3,000 votes with just two precincts left to report.
The issue at the heart of the race was HB 2, the so-called “bathroom bill” that cost McCrory much of his political capital after high-profile music acts, sporting events, films and businesses began pulling out of the state. Cooper kept a low profile during much of the campaign, allowing McCrory to play defense for the last six months.
McCrory’s message about the Carolina Comeback resonated in the rural counties, many of which he won by more than 20 points. But he was unable to claim Mecklenburg County, where he lived when he was mayor of Charlotte, or Guilford County, where he grew up.
McCrory lost Guilford by 24 points. By contrast, he was losing Forsyth County by just 15 points as of press time.
NC Supreme Court race
In the biggest of the judicial races, incumbent Bob Edmunds, appointed by Gov. McCrory, fell to Mike Morgan, flipping the balance of power in favor of Democrats 4-3. State GOP leaders tried to solidify Edmunds’ hold on the seat by staging a retention election — in effect cancelling the primary and allowing Edmunds to run against himself in November — until the law providing for it was decreed unconstitutional. Morgan won by about 8 points, ceding just a thin belt of counties running westward from Johnston to Mitchell, with a few outliers on the coast and the western Virginia border.
Morgan won both Guilford and Forsyth counties handily, taking Guilford by 11 points and Forsyth by 9.