by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This year’s election had record voter turnout. With more people casting ballots than in any other year in recent memory, more North Carolinians voiced their opinions at the ballot box. North Carolina is a unique state, being much more comfortable with divided government than other states. As reporters Martha Quillin and T. Keung Hui recently wrote for the Greensboro News & Record:
It’s not unusual for North Carolina voters to support a Republican for president and a Democrat for governor. Since 1972, Republican presidential candidates have won the state in all but two elections, and Democrats have been elected governor in all but three.
That is just what happened this year, with current Republican President Donald Trump winning the popular vote in the state alongside current Democrat Governor Roy Cooper. Despite Gov. Cooper’s re-election, much of the other statewide races went to Republican candidates. Carolina Journal’s John Trump reports on the outcome of the Council of State races:
[Republicans] keep control of the N.C. Council of State, 6-4, albeit with narrow margins in all the races…
Republican Mark Robinson, a political newcomer from Greensboro with strong traditionally conservative views, has beaten Yvonne Lewis Holley, a Wake County Democrat who has served in the N.C. House since 2012. The gap was about four percentage points…
[Catherine] Truitt, a Republican and chancellor of West Governors University N.C., got about 51% of the vote in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Truitt will have an especially precarious situation on her hands given the competing pressures of keeping students and teachers safe while combatting the accelerated learning loss many students are facing in the pandemic. Reporters Quillin and Hui quote the John Locke Foundation’s Dr. Terry Stoops:
Stoops said Truitt benefitted from how voters went for Republicans in most of the other Council of State races. But now that she’s elected, Stoops said Truitt will have to deal with problems such as state budget challenges, a possible resurgence of COVID-19 spread and academic learning loss from not having in-person instruction.
“All of these issues are going to be piling up on her desk as soon as she walks through the door,” Stoops said. “I think she’s prepared to deal with the challenges and work with lawmakers to develop a Department of Public Instruction that’s responsive to meet the needs of families.”