The 2016 elections in NC and SC brought a few new faces but didn’t change the support level or opposition on many concrete issues.  The CRMCA Legislative Committees focused on campaign contributions this year with an emphasis in North Carolina on Coal Ash, Streets & Local Roads, Mill Tax Issues and LCCA.  In South Carolina the group focused on Road Funding, Business Licensing Fees, LCCA and more. Below you will find some election highlights and insight from CRMCA NC Lobbyist Connie Wilson and CRMCA SC Lobbyist Ben Homeyer:

Impact of Election Results on CRMCA in North Carolina – Connie Wilson, CRMCA NC Lobbyist

From a legislative perspective Nov. 8th didn’t change the support level or opposition on concrete issues. All co-chairs of House and Senate Finance along with their counterparts on Transportation Committees won their elections and both chambers maintain a super majority of Republicans.  Rep. Nelson Dollar who has been a good supporter on coal ash and life cycle cost was able to keep his seat with tough opposition.

If Attorney General Roy Cooper’s lead holds after the recount, then we will see personnel changes at agencies that impact concrete which include NCDOT, DEQ and Revenue with new Secretaries and political appointees being made.

With the flip of the NC Supreme Court from Republican to Democrat there may be a challenge to the medical malpractice and tort reform laws that were passed in 2011.  The new composition will also play heavily into legislative redistricting, which will occur again this long session.

NC Election Results:

General Assembly   All of the political analysts seemed to have conceded that Democrats would gain seats in the House and Senate and that the Republican veto-proof “supermajority” was in jeopardy, but that didn’t happen.  The Republicans have preserved their supermajorities in both the House and Senate.  House Republicans lost four races in Charlotte and Raleigh, but won three seats in more rural areas of the state.  Senate Republicans picked up one seat.

Governor   AG Cooper currently has a small  lead over incumbent Governor McCrory in the Governor’s race.    There are still provisional, mail and overseas ballots to count, so due to the current slim margin, this election has not been officially “called” at this point.  HB2 is touted as the reason Gov. McCrory fell short, but the I-77 toll road issue cost him tens of thousands of votes in an area where he ran strong in 2012.

Attorney General   In another tight race, Democrat Josh Stein appears to have won the election for Attorney General over the Republican candidate, Buck Newton.  This race seesawed back and forth, but Stein edged ahead in the final tally by some 21,000 votes.

Council of State races   In other Council of State races, Democrat incumbents were defeated in the Commissioner of Insurance and Superintendent of Public Instruction races, and – in a race for an open seat – the Republican candidate for Treasurer was elected.  Showing the votes are willing to split tickets down the ballot, Democratic incumbents were re-elected for State Auditor and Secretary of State.

N.C. Supreme Court  State Supreme Court race, incumbent Republican Justice (Bob Edmunds) was defeated by the Democratic candidate (Mike Morgan).   This result changes the balance from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority.  These are technically non-partisan races, but in recent years politically charged matters such as election challenges have tended to break down on partisan lines.  Voters may have thought Judge Mike Morgan was a Republican in nonpartisan Supreme Court race because GOP had top billing in other partisan contests, analyst suggests.

Congress    In the Senate race, incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr defeated Democrat Deborah Ross.   This race was much closer than expected at the outset of the race, but in the end Burr won by some 270,000 votes.  On the House side, all of the incumbent candidates “held serve” (some of them in new districts, however, due to the court-mandated redistricting) and the Republican candidate won in the new 13th district.   As a result the current Republican majority delegation (10-3) remains in place.

Before Election After Election
NC House* Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
NC Senate** 74 45 73 46
NC Council of State 34 16 35 15
NC Supreme Court 4 6 6 4
4 3 3 4
Federal – NC House
Federal – NC Senate 10 3 10 3
2 0 2 0

House supermajority is 72 votes and Sentate supermajority is 30 votes

CRMCA NC PAC Contribution Results

NC House:

All but one of the House members who received donations from the CRMCA NC PAC won their races. In an upset, Rep. Gary Pendleton (R) of Wake lost his highly contested seat by a mere 1.5% after serving only one term. Rep. Dean Arp (R) of Union, Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R) of Burke, Rep. Bill Brawley (R) of Mecklenburg, Rep. Dana Bumgardner (R) of Gaston, and Rep. Phil Shepard (R) of Onslow all won their races and will be returning to Raleigh in January.

Rep. John Szoka (R) of Cumberland, Rep. John Torbett (R) of Gaston, Rep. Chuck McGrady (R) of Henderson, Rep. Ken Goodman (D) of Richmond, Rep. Becky Carney (D) of Mecklenburg, Rep. Jason Saine (R) of Lincoln, and Rep. Mitchell Setzer (R) of Catawba will all be returning to the NC House after running unopposed.

NC Senate:

All Senators who received CRMCA NC PAC checks were successful in the election. Sen. Rick Gunn (R) of Alamance, Sen. Wesley Meredith (R) of Cumberland, and Sen. Mike Woodard (D) of Durham all won their bids for re-election. Sen. Chad Barefoot (R) of Wake had a tight race that many thought might turn blue this year, but he escaped the election unscathed and will be returning to Raleigh in January.

Sen. Harry Brown (R) of Onslow, Sen. Brent Jackson (R) of Sampson, Sen. Tommy Tucker (R) of Union, and Sen. Andrew Brock (R) of Davie will all be returning to the legislature in 2017 after running unopposed.

Impact of Election Results on CRMCA in South Carolina – Ben Homeyer, CRMCA SC Lobbyist

South Carolina did not have many surprises on election night. As expected, Donald Trump took all of South Carolina’s nine electoral votes, and the congressional delegation remained unchanged after a solid night for the GOP in South Carolina.

Sen. Tim Scott (R) was elected to his first full term. Sen. Scott was first appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to fill the seat held by former Sen. Jim DeMint, who resigned in 2012.

Every member of the US House of Representatives with a challenger won re-election in convincing fashion.

At the SC State House

The 2017-2018 session of the South Carolina legislature will welcome many new legislators to the State House in January after several retirements and incumbent upsets in the June primaries. Republicans retained their majorities in both the Senate and the House and picked up two seats in the House to now hold an 80-44 majority.  The Senate maintained the current balance with a 28-18 republican majority.

Notable SC State House Upsets:

Republican primary upsets, mostly in upstate districts, were a recurring theme for the 2016 election cycle. Two that could most effect the CRMCA are:

Sen. Larry Martin (R-Pickens, District 2) lost to former Rep. Rex Rice (R) in a primary runoff in June. Sen. Martin was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rice, who previously served in the South Carolina House from 1995 to 2010, faced no opposition in the general election.  Senator Rice has been a long standing advocate for the construction industry in his previous stint in the SC House of Representatives.

Sen. Wes Hayes (R-York, District 15) lost to Wes Climer (R) in a primary. Sen. Hayes was the chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. Climer, who did not face November opposition, is a financial advisor with the Climer Group of Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C., and previously served as chairman of the York County Republican Party. Mr. Climer has stated on numerous occasions that he is committed to being a resource for the business community in the State.  With the departure of Senator Hayes Senator Cromer has moved up to become the Chairman of Banking and Insurance.

The SC Senate had a turnover rate at just under 20% and the House was right at 15%.    

Of the nine new Senators for 2017 seven are republican and two are democrats.  Of those elected three have construction and development backgrounds.  Two were former members of the House of Representatives and were always very friendly towards the construction industry.

The Chairman that CRMCA typically deals with will return for 2017.  In the House Brian White – Ways and Means, Bill Sandifer – LCI (Although will face a challenger on Dec. 6 for the spot) and Rita Allison – Transportation.  In the Senate CRMCA issues have had dealings across more committees between the mining bills, road bills, and items like life cycle costing and safety issues.  Senate Chairman we deal with include Hugh Leatherman – finance, Luke Rankin – Judiciary, Danny Verdin – Agriculture, Ronnie Cromer for insurance, Larry Grooms – Transportation, and Thomas Alexander for LCI.

CRMCA looks forward to the 2017 legislative session in both states and will continue to fight for the ready mixed concrete industry and our issues!