Nov 6, 2018 - News

Blue wave hits Charlotte elections

For months, Democrats had hoped for a wave election that would propel them to victory across the country. The blue wave didn’t hit everywhere in the U.S. — but in Charlotte, it was more like a tsunami.

Democrats dominated Mecklenburg County races from top to bottom, ousting nearly a half-dozen Republican incumbents in the General Assembly and likely giving the party unanimous control of the Board of County Commissioners.

Largely on those results, Democrats broke the GOP supermajority in the N.C. House of Representatives, giving them the power to sustain a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Only three local Republicans appear to have survived the flood: N.C. Sen. Dan Bishop was re-elected by a much tighter margin than he’s accustomed to. And Charlotte pastor Mark Harris was elected to Congress over Democrat Dan McCready.

When this was published, several races were separated by razor-thin margins. Not every vote is counted on Election Day, so there is a small chance the results could change. A few candidates could also call for recounts.

U.S. House

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams handily won re-election with about three-quarters of the vote in the 12th Congressional District, which covers most of metro Charlotte. Her House race was one of the first called in the entire country.

The race for the 9th Congressional District was much more closely contested.

This seat was unexpectedly open after Mark Harris defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary. He faced Charlotte energy entrepreneur Dan McCready, a U.S. Marine veteran and Harvard Business School grad, in a race national Democrats targeted as a potential pickup.

McCready won Mecklenburg County by a sizable margin, but couldn’t gain enough ground on Union County voters.

Harris appears to have won the seat with 49.5 percent, by about 2,000 votes. However, he’s set to join a U.S. House with a new Democratic majority.

McCready declined to give a concession speech Tuesday night, declaring the race too close to call.

Mark Harris

General Assembly

Democrats scored major wins in both N.C. House and N.C. Senate races in Mecklenburg County.

Incumbent Republicans Sen. Jeff Tarte, Rep. John Bradford, Rep. Andy Dulin and Rep. Scott Stone all appeared to have lost their races. That would send Natasha Marcus, Christy Clark, Wesley Harris and Brandon Lofton to Raleigh for the first time.

Rep. Bill Brawley was ahead of Democrat Rachel Hunt in his Matthews-area district race by only the slimmest of margins. The difference was only about 50 votes and could go to a recount.

Only one Republican clearly survived: Sen. Dan Bishop. He beat tech founder Chad Stachowicz with about 53 percent of the vote.

N.C. legislative building

County Commissioner

The blue wave even continued into Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners races. All three incumbent Republicans likely lost their races, which would give Democrats a 9-0 advantage on the board.

Commissioner Bill James appears to have lost his re-election campaign after winning the previous 11 races for the southern Mecklenburg County district.

Republican commissioner Jim Puckett lost his northern Mecklenburg district to Elaine Powell by a wide margin, and Matthew Ridenhour likely lost narrowly to Susan Harden in south Charlotte.

Three Democratic incumbents again swept the at-large seats on the county board: Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and Ella Scarborough.


All three city of Charlotte bond referendums passed easily. The closest was the $50 million affordable housing bond, which was approved with more than 68 percent of the vote.


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