Republicans lose veto-proof majority in NC House

Republicans lose veto-proof majority in NC House
North Carolina Democrats have won enough state House seats to end the Republicans' veto-proof control, handing Gov. Roy Cooper more leverage to fight right-leaning policies and press his agenda.

RALEIGH (AP) - The Latest on the general election in North Carolina (all times local):

11:55 p.m.

North Carolina Democrats have won enough state House seats to end the Republicans' veto-proof control, handing Gov. Roy Cooper more leverage to fight right-leaning policies and press his agenda.

Democrats won at least 49 of 120 House seats on Tuesday — one more than was needed to end the GOP’s supermajority in the chamber. The supermajority had allowed Republicans to override Cooper vetoes at will.

Democrats needed to pick up at least four House seats to help the Democratic governor, who's been hamstrung by the General Assembly since he was elected in 2016. Republican lawmakers have eroded his powers and avoided his proposals on teacher pay, expanding Medicaid and blocking recent tax cuts.

Democrats could strengthen their hand further if they pick up enough Senate seats to end the GOP's supermajority there.

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11:45 p.m.

U.S. Rep. George Holding has won a fourth term, defeating a former Democratic state lawmaker in North Carolina's 2nd District.

Holding defeated Linda Coleman in the district that includes all or parts of six counties in central and eastern North Carolina.

During an October debate, Holding emphasized his support of tax cuts, while Coleman stressed the importance of keeping drug costs low and making sure people with pre-existing conditions can find health insurance.

The 50-year-old Holding is a former U.S. attorney whose website lists his successful prosecutions of several politicians.

The 69-year-old Coleman previously had lost two races for lieutenant governor. Her website listed health care, education, jobs, the environment, gun safety and fair elections as her priorities.

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11:10 p.m.

North Carolina voters have approved constitutional amendments that will lock in recent state income tax cuts, expand crime victims' rights and affirm so-called "traditional" methods of hunting and fishing.

An amendment to the state constitution approved on Tuesday caps the maximum state income tax at 7 percent, down from 10 percent. Critics said the result could mean that a recession could lead legislators to raise sales or property taxes or impose cutbacks on education, safety and other government services.

A constitutional change that would expand guarantees to crime victims was approved in exchange for a predicted cost of about $11 million per year.

North Carolinians also approved enshrining hunting and fishing with undefined "traditional methods," but also limited those rights to take wildlife to laws the General Assembly adopts.

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10:55 p.m.

A new constitutional amendment will require North Carolina voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to cast ballots, but legislators will decide later what will count as valid and what won't.

A change to North Carolina's constitution approved Tuesday adds the state to the handful in the country that strictly require showing a photo ID to a poll worker when voting.

Some of the states allow exceptions to the law if people have religious objections to being photographed, are poor, or are granted special confidentiality as domestic abuse or stalking victims. North Carolina lawmakers aren't required to make any exceptions.

Legislators haven't detailed how voters could get the photo ID needed to vote or how much it would cost the state.

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10:55 p.m.

One-term Republican Congressman Ted Budd of North Carolina has retained his seat, defeating the Democratic challenger in a close race that drew President Donald Trump's attention.

The 47-year-old gun store owner defeated Democrat Kathy Manning Tuesday in the 13th District, which stretches from Greensboro to the northern suburbs of Charlotte.

Budd had won comfortably in 2016, but found himself in a tight race against the lawyer and community fundraiser.

Trump came to Budd’s aid in a district the president won in 2016 by a margin of 9.2 points.

Budd appeared in late October at a Charlotte rally where Trump praised him for his stance on protecting the border and gun rights. It was part of the president's rally blitz to help vulnerable Republicans. Trump also appeared at a fundraiser for Budd and another congressional candidate in August.

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10:40 p.m.

Democrat Anita Earls has unseated an incumbent to join the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The longtime civil rights lawyer from Durham defeated Associate Justice Barbara Jackson and Raleigh lawyer Chris Anglin on Tuesday.

Earls' victory means Democrats now hold five of the seven seats on the state's highest court. In 2016, Republicans held a 4-3 advantage.

Earls led the Southern Coalition for Social Justice when she helped sue over legislative and congressional districts and challenged a voter ID law.

Jackson and Anglin both ran as Republicans in the officially partisan election, but legislators cancelled party primaries this year, leading to multiple candidates.

Anglin was a registered Democrat but switched parties just before filing. Unhappy GOP lawmakers passed a last-minute law to keep Anglin’s Republican label off ballots, but courts threw it out.

9:50 p.m.

North Carolina has rejected a constitutional amendment that would have permanently given state lawmakers more power over the makeup of a state board that decides election and ethics disputes.

The amendment rejected Tuesday by voters was designed by Republican legislators to create an eight-member Board of Elections and Ethics divided along party lines. Appointments to the board were traditionally overseen by the state's governors before lawmakers began taking steps in the past two years to reduce the governor's role in the process.

The amendment was opposed by all living governors, both Republican and Democrat.

Tuesday's vote came after a legal battle between Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over the board. The state Supreme Court struck down a 2017 law establishing a politically divided eight-member board because it took executive authority from governors.

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9:45 p.m.

A Republican congressman has won his fourth term in office as voters selected him over a Democratic challenger and small business owner to represent North Carolina's 8th District.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson won re-election Tuesday over Frank McNeill to represent the district that stretches southeast from Concord to Fayetteville.

The 47-year-old Hudson stressed his opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act that became law under the Obama administration and his support of gun rights. His campaign website said he was invited to speak at this year’s National Rifle Association convention, along with President Donald Trump.

On his campaign website, McNeill stressed his support of affordable health care, along with public schools and the environment. The 62-year-old McNeill owns his family's business, McNeill Oil and Propane, and is the former mayor of Aberdeen.

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9:40 p.m.

Voters have punched tickets for several North Carolina congressional incumbents to return to Washington in January.

All three Democrats in the delegation won re-election Tuesday. That includes G.K. Butterfield in the 1st District, David Price in the 4th and Alma Adams in the 12th. Price was first elected to Congress in 1986. Butterfield is the former Congressional Black Caucus chairman.

Republican members in favorable GOP districts also are getting additional two-year terms. They include Virginia Foxx in the 5th District, Mark Walker in the 6th, David Rouzer in the 7th, Patrick McHenry in the 10th and Mark Meadows in the 11th. Meadows leads the House Freedom Caucus. McHenry is the Republicans' chief deputy whip.

Third District GOP Rep. Walter Jones faced no ballot opposition Tuesday.

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9:15 p.m.

North Carolina voters are dumping a drive by state legislators to gain the dominant role in picking judges when seats are vacant, a move that would have undercut a governor's powers.

Voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to change the state constitution in ways that would have diminished the governor's authority to fill judicial vacancies.

The amendment was opposed by all living governors, both Republican and Democrat.

The amendment also would have allowed replacement judges to stay in their appointed jobs for four years and get established. Judges who fill vacant seats now can serve only until the next election, meaning two years or less.

The change also could have weakened gubernatorial powers because governors wouldn’t be able to veto legislation filling a judicial vacancy, giving lawmakers a way to push through new issues.

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