Election 2012 saw victories on both sides

Nov. 08, 2012 @ 07:58 AM

The election picture was unclear until late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
As the dust settled, North Carolina elected its first Republican governor since 1988. U.S. Congressional Districts 8 and 9 elected Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives. Though there were some changes on the national level, the Senate maintained a Democratic majority, the U.S. House of Representatives maintained a Republican majority and President Barack Obama, a Democrat, was re-elected.
Governor-elect Pat McCrory enters the governor's mansion with a Republican-owned senate and house.
"I think, in terms of Republicans, they're very happy about this," Joseph Ellis, an associate professor of political science at Wingate University, said. "I think McCrory winning gave a lot of evidence to the Republicans that they're doing something right, in North Carolina at least."
It is too soon to tell what the transition of power will mean for the state.
"It looks to be some change for North Carolina," Ellis said. "I don't know what those changes will look like."
McCrory defeated Democratic candidate Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton.
The eighth congressional district also saw a transfer of power, with Republican candidate Richard Hudson defeating incumbent Larry Kissell.
"It's a weird scenario," Ellis said. "It's a new district and there wasn't a lot of polling about it."
Ellis said that while there was an assumption that it would be a close race, many people who studied the race disagreed.
"I think it's a big deal for Republicans, but I also think it wasn't that shocking that it happened," Ellis said. "Hudson's win was basically the story of all the Republicans. Basically, every single Republican in North Carolina appeared to do better than they had (in the past)."
Ellis also credited the victory with Hudson's campaign.
"I think Hudson had a very good organization," he said.
Ellis said he could tell that Hudson had a background in grassroots politicking.
"I think his ground game was very good," Ellis said.
The ninth congressional district has been a Republican stronghold. On Tuesday, Republican candidate Robert Pittenger beat Democratic candidate Jennifer Roberts.
"(There) was never any thought that Roberts could win that race," Ellis said. "It's going to be especially hard for a Democrat to win that seat."
He added that it would be especially hard against someone with as much money and support as Pittenger.
The redistricting in 2010 created new districts and changed the landscape of existing ones.
"It's only a guess, but it appears now to be pretty favorable for the Republicans, at least now at the state level," Ellis said.
When Obama and Perdue won in 2008, Republicans were shocked and trying to figure out if something needed to be changed or if it was a fluke, Ellis said.
"I think they worked very hard to re-capture the state," Ellis said. "(They) worked really hard to get their folks out."
The work showed, according to Ellis.
"The margins were all favorable towards Republicans," Ellis said.
In the Union County races, Kenneth Baker was the only Democrat to run. He challenged incumbent Craig Horn, R-68, who won reelection.
"Union County is a growing county, every single election cycle it's going to see some new demographic challenges," Ellis said. "If you're a Democrat in Union County, I think you have to be concerned about what your field operation is."
"It's a growing county, it's a changing county, I think it's a bit of a guessing game," Ellis said.
There were wide margins for Hudson, Romney and McCrory in Union County Tuesday.
"I would suspect that trend grows, but again, Union County was a special case," Ellis said.
With regard to partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C., Ellis does not see that going away.
"There will still be gridlock," Ellis said. "There's still divided government."
"President Obama has two years to, I think, really lay out what he wants to do and try to accomplish those things," Ellis said.
In the last two years, he faces the "lame duck" challenge.
"These next two years will be very, very important for Obama in terms of laying out his agenda," Ellis said.
Some of his immediate challenges will include healthcare and taxes.
"(A) cloud over all of this is foreign policy issues, the Iran issue, what becomes of that in the next few years," Ellis said.
The upcoming "fiscal cliff" will also require attention.

"As they say, a day of reckoning will come on that issue," Ellis said. "The fiscal cliff issue is something beyond the parties, beyond the president."