Oct 2, 2020
North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review
North Carolina will move into Phase 3 of easing coronavirus restrictions Friday, October 2 at 5:00PM as announced by Governor Roy Cooper earlier this week. Cooper signed Executive Order 169 Wednesday, allowing bars to open for outdoor service only at 30% capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less, as well as movie theaters and conference centers at 30% capacity. Phase 3 of reopening will also allow large outdoor venues to open at 7% capacity, smaller outdoor venues at 30% capacity, and outdoor amusement parks at 30% capacity. The order keeps the mass gathering limits at 25 people indoors, 50 outdoors, and extends the current 11:00PM alcohol sales curfew. Phase 3 will remain in effect for three weeks, through October 23 at 5:00PM.
As of Thursday morning, in the state of North Carolina, there were 212,909 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 3,058,541 completed tests, 3,579 deaths, and 939 current hospitalizations. As we all continue to feel the effects of the global pandemic and adjust to a new normal, we want to highlight a few ways our clients across North Carolina have worked to support residents and make this time a little easier for those throughout the state. Read more about what our clients are doing to help by clicking here.
For more information on COVID-19 in North Carolina, click here to visit the Department of Health and Human Services website, and be sure to stay up to date on the latest federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by clicking here.
North Carolina’s largest school district will soon see their students back in the classroom. This week, the Wake County School Board unanimously voted to approve a reopening plan. The plan would bring students grades PreK-3, as well as K-12 special education programs, back for in-person instruction on a rotating basis. Students would receive one week of in-person instruction followed by two weeks of remote instruction, starting Monday, October 26. The plan is to bring these students back into the classroom every day beginning Monday, November 16. Starting in November, grades 4-8 will return for in-person instruction on three-week rotations through the end of the semester.
High school students grades 9-12 will continue to operate with remote instruction only through the end of the first semester. Those students and families that chose to enroll in the county’s virtual academy will continue their remote learning at least through the end of the semester. Students may remain enrolled in the virtual academy for the entire school year, unless they choose to opt out and return to in-person instruction.
The decision comes after Governor Cooper’s September 17 announcement that public elementary schools will be allowed to choose to operate under plan A, or completely in-person instruction. Only students in grades K-5 are able to return to the classroom under the plan A option, while grades 6-12 must continue to operate under either plan B or C. The plan A option includes safety protocols that schools must follow, such as everyone in the building being required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Wake County also announced this week that employees may be fired and students may be required to continue their instruction online if they consistently do not wear a mask.
With just 32 days to go before voters across the country cast their ballots for who they would like to serve as their elected officials, McGuireWoods Consulting is bringing you a comprehensive 2020 election website - your one-stop resource for this year's presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, attorneys general, and state legislative races. Complete with concise information about how elections are shaping up around the country - including snapshots of primary results and hot-button ballot initiatives - our site provides a landscape view of our nation's political scene and insights on potential shifts in the tide. Click here to visit MWC's 2020 election website.
Interested in even more election insight? Over the last few weeks, our team has highlighted races happening in November from around North Carolina, along with other election resources to keep everyone informed not just on what's happening in Raleigh, but all over the state, region by region. For more information on how to register or how to vote in North Carolina, click here or here for national registration and voting information.
To catch up on all of the races happening in North Carolina, you can check out some of our recent editions of Week In Review. For an overview of North Carolina's US Senate and Council of State Races also happening this year, click here. For races taking place in the Western part of the state, click here, for Central North Carolina races, click here, and for US House and Eastern North Carolina races, click here.
House Races To Watch
This week, we breakdown some of the most competitive races for the North Carolina state House of Representatives based on campaign intel, knowledge of candidates, state house reporting, and the partisan district index (PDI) put together by our friends at the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation (NC FREE). NC FREE calculates PDI by taking the results of statewide elections over the last ten years to determine the state’s lean and comparing it the results of the most recent elections in each district. Below are some of the most competitive House races ahead of the November election. Check out our overview from last week on some of the most competitive state Senate races by clicking here.
House District 7 (Franklin, Nash)
Partisan Index: R +2
Matthew Winslow (R)
Winslow, a native North Carolinian, is the Republican candidate in this open race as current state Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes (R) is seeking election to the state Senate. Winslow previously worked as a county planning and inspections director, using what he learned to begin his career in home building and development. Winslow serves on the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Master Layout Planning Committee for the Triangle North Regional Airport and the Comprehensive Development Plan Steering Committee.
If elected, Winslow’s top priorities as a lawmaker would include investing in education, specifically in various trade professions, funding infrastructure throughout the state with a focus on providing broadband to rural communities, and providing forgiveness loans to healthcare providers that practice in underserved areas.
Phil Stover (D)
Stover has served as a primary care physician for 38 years and specializing in opioid addiction management and chronic pain care. Prior to moving to Franklin County, Stover served 6 years as a medic in the Army Reserve and remains a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol. Stover has also served as the Acting Medical Director for the North Carolina Division of Prisons, Vice Chair of the Franklin County Airport Advisory Committee, and Co-author of the Franklin County Strategic Plan.
If elected, Stover would focus on making healthcare affordable to all North Carolinians starting with Medicaid expansion, expanding opportunities for business and the agriculture industry, providing broadband to rural communities, and improving the quality of college and trades training systems.
House District 9 (Pitt)
Partisan Index: D +4
Rep. Perrin Jones (R)
Incumbent Rep. Jones was appointed to this seat during the 2019 session to fill the seat of now-Congressman Greg Murphy. Rep. Jones has worked as an anesthesiologist and practiced medicine in Pitt County for almost 20 years. While he has not served a full term in the House yet, Rep. Jones quickly gained attention as a medical professional during the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as the co-chair of the House’s COVID-19 Healthcare Working Group.
If reelected, Rep. Jones would focus his next term on continuing to work with members of both parties, raising public school teacher pay, expanding Medicaid in a responsible way, revamping the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, and advocating for a mental health court in Pitt County.
Brian Farkas (D)
Farkas grew up in Pitt County where he now works for his family’s small business, and architecture firm. Previously, Farkas specialized in emergency management for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and worked for the U.S. Attorney’s office. Farkas serves as a member of the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Issues Committee, the Governor’s Appointee on the Disciplinary Hearing Commission of the North Carolina State Bar, and as a voting member of the Greenville-ENC Alliance Interim Board of Directors. Former Governor Jim Hunt (D) and former president Barack Obama (D) have endorsed Farkas’ campaign for the House District 9 seat.
If elected, some of Farkas’ top priorities as a legislator would include raising teacher pay, freezing college tuition, expanding Medicaid, receiving funding for a new Brody School of Medicine facility, and helping formerly incarcerated people re-enter society and obtain economic security through good paying jobs.
House District 12 (Lenior, Pitt)
Partisan Index: D +2
Rep. Chris Humphrey (R)
Incumbent Rep. Humphrey is a North Carolina native serving as the House Majority Freshman Caucus Whip. Rep. Humphrey previously served on the La Grange Town Council for three years and served eight years as a Lenoir County Commissioner. Rep. Humphrey was appointed to the Lenoir Community College Board of Trustees by then-Governor Pay McCrory and has served on the school’s Foundation Board Finance Committee for 15 years. In 2018, Rep. Humphrey unseated longtime incumbent Rep. George Graham (D), who served in the NC House since 2013, with 56.1% of the vote.
If reelected, Rep. Humphrey’s top priorities for his next term would include providing government incentives to businesses in rural communities rather than large cities or counties, keeping corporate taxes low, and allowing parents and local education experts control how best to meet the educational needs of children, be it college prep or vocational training.
Virginia Cox-Daugherty (D)
Cox-Daugherty is native North Carolinian and has worked as an educator in both public and private school systems, a principal, director, and grant writer. Cox-Daugherty obtained two doctorate degrees – a Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University and another Doctorate of Theology in Biblical Studies from Manna College of Theology. In 2019, Cox-Daugherty was elected to the Lenoir County Board of Elections.
House District 37 (Wake)
Partisan Index: D +4
Rep. Sydney Batch (D)
Rep. Batch served as a family law attorney and social worker for over a decade and owns a small business. Rep. Batch attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her undergraduate studies, Juris Doctorate, and Masters of Social Work. Since being elected to the General Assembly in 2018, Rep. Batch was awarded the Wake Woman of the Year Award and the 2020 Lillian’s List Jan Allen Courage Award. Her campaign has received national attention and fundraising efforts, especially after being endorsed by former presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg and former President Barack Obama.
If reelected, Rep. Batch would focus on increasing teacher pay and school funding, providing additional support to small businesses, establishing a nonpartisan redistricting process, and expanding Medicaid.
Erin Pare (R)
Pare is a small business owner, mother of two, and is competing in one of the most competitive races this year. Winning this seat is one of the best changes for Republicans to regain a seat in the House. Pare is the founder and director of a non-profit organization that supports music arts programs and has established a youth orchestra in Wake County. Before moving to North Carolina, Pare and her husband spent over a decade as a military family.
If elected, some of Pare’s top priorities include reducing regulation on small businesses, supporting education, specifically school choice and educational freedom, and applying free market principals to health care to help reduce the cost of care. This would include repealing certificate of need, supporting scope of practice reform, and supporting association health plans.
House District 43 (Cumberland)
Partisan Index: D +2
Diane Wheatley (R)
Wheatley previously worked as registered nurse at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Orange Memorial Hospital, and the Fayetteville Children’s Clinic and now owns a small business with her husband. Wheatley served three terms on the Cumberland County Board of Education and was elected as a county commissioner in 2004.
If elected to office, Wheatley would focus on supporting police departments and first responders, ensuring access to affordable, sustainable healthcare, keeping taxes and regulations to a minimum, and building a strong economy and skilled workforce to help the state recover from the pandemic.
Kimberly Hardy (D)
Dr. Hardy obtained degrees in social work from Morgan State and the Ohio State University before beginning her career as a school social worker. Currently, Dr. Hardy is a social work professor at Fayette State University and is an expert in her field on the role of religion and spirituality. Dr. Hardy surprised many after successfully defeating six-term incumbent, Rep. Elmer Floyd (D), in the March primary by 743 votes.
If elected, some of Dr. Hardy’s top priorities would include establishing universal pre-K, expanding Medicaid, providing every public school throughout the state with a school nurse, and expanding the state’s rail infrastructure as well as local solar power production.
House District 45 (Cumberland)
Partisan Index: D +3
Rep. John Szoka (R)
Incumbent Rep. Szoka is currently serving is fourth term in the North Carolina and serves as the influential House Finance Committee Chair and House Rules Committee Vice Chair. Rep. Szoka is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Army and small business owner. After his election in 2012, Rep. Szoka ran unopposed in both primary and general elections until the most recent 2018 election where he defeated his challenger with 58.4% of the vote.
If reelected, Rep. Szoka would spend his next term focusing on attracting more business investment to North Carolina by streamlining tax codes, developing renewable energy practices to create a cleaner environment and provide jobs, and assisting the soldiers retiring from Fort Bragg with finding employment as civilians.
Frances Vinell Jackson (D)
Dr. Jackson was born and raised in North Carolina where she obtained her B.S. in Transportation and Economics from North Carolina A&T State University, Master of Arts in Political Science from Fayetteville State University, and Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. Dr. Jackson has spent her career in state and local government, including as transportation and community planner at the Cumberland County planning department, Transportation Director for Hoke County, and transit analyst for the City of Fayetteville,
If elected, some of Dr. Jackson’s top priorities would include expanding access to health insurance, expanding local education and workforce programs to grow rural economies, and increasing pay for both teachers and school support staff.
House District 46 (Columbus, Robeson)
Partisan Index: D +2
Rep. Brenden Jones (R)
Incumbent Rep. Jones is a Columbus County native and small business owner serving his second term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Rep. Jones also serves as the House Deputy Majority Leader. Rep. Jones was elected in 2016 with 60.34% of the vote and again in 2018 with 63.4% of the vote. HD 46 is a pivot county, meaning that the county voted for President Donald Trump (R) in 2016 after voting for former president Barack Obama (D) in both 2008 and 2012.
If reelected, Rep. Jones would spend his next term focusing on providing additional relief to southeastern North Carolina as recovery from Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence continues, continuing to provide support for school safety measures, and fighting against anti-gun legislation.
Tim Heath (D)
Heath grew up in Winston-Salem and attended Fayetteville State University to play football before becoming an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Education. Heath worked on the 1994 Leandro Case in which the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that every child is guaranteed the right to a sound, basic education under the state constitution. Heath also served on the first commission in the state to establish what qualified as a sound and basic education for rural communities.
If elected, some of Heath’s top priorities include expanding Medicaid and affordable healthcare, increasing school funding, providing resources to startups to grow and sustain the small business community, providing flood insurance, and ensuring residents displaced after a disaster have access to long-term housing.
House District 51 (Harnett, Lee)
Partisan Index: R +3
Rep. John Sauls (R)
Incumbent Rep. Sauls is currently serving his fourth term in the North Carolina House and serves as a Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Education Committee. After retiring from business, Rep. Sauls served as Senior Pastor of Crossroads Ministries and was elected as a county commissioner. In 2013, Rep. Sauls was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and in 2014, Sanford Mayor Chet Mann declared October 19, 2014 as “John Sauls Day.” In 2016, Rep. Sauls defeated incumbent Rep. Brad Salmon (D) with 55.66% of the vote.
If reelected, Rep. Sauls would focus his next term on raising teacher pay, increasing state funding for School Resource Officers, increasing salaries for community college teachers and staff, and continuing to push for fiscal responsibility and supports for businesses throughout the state.
Jason Cain (D)
Cain is a United States Army veteran and was stationed at Fort Bragg for the 10-years that he served. After serving in the Army, Cain helped to launch a national nonprofit organization, Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic (S.A.F.E. Project) in light of the opioid crisis. This nonprofit helped to expand federal, state and local law enforcement pre-arrest deflection programs across the country, including in North Carolina.
If elected, Cain would work to expand Medicaid, lower prescription drug costs, ensure rural hospitals receive adequate funding, provide the necessary resources to keep North Carolina’s community college and university system strong to boost the state’s workforce, set the corporate tax rate around 5%, and establish a nonpartisan redistricting commission.
House District 55 (Anson, Union)
Partisan Index: R +2
Rep. Mark Brody (R)
Rep. Brody has served in the North Carolina House of Representatives for 6 years. Prior to joining the House, Rep. Brody worked as a construction entrepreneur and served as a Naval reservist.
If reelected, Rep. Brody would work to defend 2nd amendment rights, provide relief to small businesses, ensure the state practices fiscal responsibility, and strive for bi-partisanship when possible.
Gloria Harrington Overcash (D)
Overcash grew up on a family farm in Anson County and graduated from Wingate College. Overcash spent 30 years as a judicial employee, working as a victim/witness advocate and trial court coordinator for the superior court.
If elected, Overcash’s top priorities would include creating new jobs while supporting a job-ready workforce, developing the infrastructure needed to support growing towns, providing small businesses the support needed to continue growing, and recruiting and retaining high quality teachers.
House District 59 (Guilford)
Partisan Index: R +3
Rep. Jon Hardister (R)
Rep. Hardister is currently serving his fourth term in the state House and serves as the NC House Majority Whip. Rep. Hardister grew up in Greensboro and began his career as the Vice President for Marketing at First Carolina Mortgage, his family’s business.
If reelected, Rep. Hardister would focus on keeping taxes low, preventing government over-regulation, balancing the state’s budget, allocating tax dollars wisely, establishing rigorous education standards without over-testing, and increase funding for mental health treatment.
Nicole Quick (D)
Quick grew up in North Carolina and previously worked in Greensboro managing a segment of Guilford Mills as well as sales forces for Guilford’s furniture and home fashions businesses. Quick lives in Guildford County with her husband and son, who was diagnosed with autism, which lead to her work with teachers focusing on working with children with autism in the classroom.
If elected, Quick would focus on providing teachers with competitive wages and benefits to help recruit and maintain quality teachers, training workers for emerging technologies and transitioning industries, and creating an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission.
House District 63 (Alamance)
Partisan Index: D +1
Rep. Stephen Ross (R)
Financial advisor and incumbent Rep. Ross is currently servicing his fourth term in the General Assembly. Previously, Rep. Ross served on the Burlington City Council, the Elon Board of Visitors, and had a stint as Mayor of Burlington. Rep. Ross was also appointed to the North Carolina League of Municipalities’ Tax and Finance Committee and served as the Chair of the Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Governments.
If reelected, Rep. Ross would spend his next term focusing on continuing to provide COVID-19 relief, securing funding for continued renovation projects throughout his district, and maintaining a balanced state budget.
Ricky Hurtado (D)
Hurtado grew up in North Carolina, obtaining his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before attending graduate school at Princeton University. Currently, Hurtado works as an instructor at UNC Chapel Hill and is the executive director of an education initiative that supports first-generation college students and immigrant families. Hurtado serves as a Commissioner for MyFutureNC, is a member of Governor Cooper’s DRIVE Task Force, and is the former Vice-Chair of the Board of Director for NC Child. Recently, former president Barack Obama endorsed Hurtado’s run for NC House District 63.
If elected, Hurtado would focus on expanding Medicaid, increasing access to early childhood education, creating incentives to recruit and retain diverse educators and investing in public higher education.
House District 103 (Mecklenburg)
Partisan Index: D +0
Rep. Rachel Hunt (D)
Incumbent Rep. Hunt, daughter of a former North Carolina teacher and Governor, is serving her first time as a state representative. Rep. Hunt owns and operates two educational consulting businesses in the Charlotte area and is also a lawyer. In 2018, Rep. Hunt unseated incumbent Rep. Bill Brawley in an extremely close race, defeating her opponent with 50.1% of the vote.
If reelected, Rep. Hunt would spend her next term focusing on bettering the public schools throughout the state by improving facilities and providing more skills training and job programs, expanding Medicaid, focusing the state’s tax policy on the middle class, and ensuring environmental regulations are enforced.
Bill Brawley (R)
Brawley is a North Carolina native and former state representative in the NC House before current Rep. Rachel Hunt unseated him in the 2016 election. Brawley served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1972 before retiring.
If elected, Brawley would focus on creating new jobs and building an attractive business environment, continuing to grow the state’s rainy day fund, advocating for law enforcement training to help officers identify human trafficking, increasing teacher pay, and advocating for community control over schools.
House District 104 (Mecklenburg)
Partisan Index: R +0
Rep. Brandon Lofton (D)
Incumbent Rep. Lofton is serving his first term in the North Carolina House. Before joining the General Assembly, Rep. Lofton served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board, revised the city’s small business program, and chaired the city of Charlotte’s Disparity Study Advisory Committee. Rep. Lofton continues to practice law as a partner at Robinson Bradshaw with a focus on public finance. In 2018, Rep. Lofton defeated incumbent Rep. Andy Dulin (R) with 51.8% of the vote.
If reelected, Rep. Lofton would focus on continuing to work across the aisle with all members of the General Assembly, making per pupil sending a priority, expanding vocational education programs and apprenticeships, expanding healthcare, and supporting infrastructure improvements.
Don Pomeroy (R)
Pomeroy previously worked as a CPA at a Big 4 accounting firm before becoming an executive in two of the state’s largest manufacturing companies.
If elected, Pomeroy would focus his first term as a legislator on expanding transportation and public safety infrastructure, investing in education, specifically community colleges, and watching for bad actors but ensuring that the state does not over regulate good actors.
House District 119 (Haywood, Jackson, Swain)
Partisan Index: R +3
Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D)
Incumbent Rep. Joe Sam Queen is an architect, receiving his BA and MA in Architecture from North Carolina State University. Before running for the House in 2012, Rep. Queen served three terms in the state Senate. This will be the fifth time that incumbent Rep. Queen and former Rep. Clampitt faceoff in an election. In 2012, Rep. Queen defeated Clampitt with 51.7% of the vote and again in 2014 with 52.6% of the vote. After being unseated by Clampitt in 2016, Rep. Queen defeated the then incumbent with 52.3% of the vote.
If reelected, Rep. Queen would focus his next term on continuing to be advocate for citizens of the mountains, investing in education, specifically access to computers and high-speed internet, investing in the community college system, supporting equity built housing and quality development, and expanding Medicaid.
Mike Clampitt (R)
Clampitt was elected to serve in the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2016 after unseating incumbent Rep. Queen with 50.39% of the vote, but was then unseated in 2018 by Rep. Queen. Clampitt is Swain County native, serving as a firefighter and, eventually fire captain, for the Charlotte Fire Department.
If elected, Calampitt would focus on building strong public-private partnerships, investing in education, and building a strong medical community with cooperative partnerships with the federal and state government.