In this fourth installment of NC Family Election Insights, we look at the most competitive State House races in North Carolina. Similar to our recent reports on federal races and State Senate races (and don’t forget our report on Judicial Races), we begin by reviewing an analysis of the new State House map, which was redrawn after the original map passed by the State Legislature was rejected by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The 2022 Civitas Partisan Index (CPI) produced by our friends at the John Locke Foundation provides a baseline “partisan rating” of North Carolina’s 120 State House districts based on voter demographics and past voting performance. According to the CPI, North Carolina starts out with 52 seats that are either “Safe Republican” or “Likely Republican.” Three additional seats in “Leaning Republican” territory are held by GOP incumbents and are uncontested, meaning that Republicans are strongly favored to win at least 55 seats. The CPI also rates 43 districts as either “Safe Democratic” or “Likely Democratic.”
This means that the remaining 22 seats, which are listed below, are considered to be particularly competitive. For Republicans to gain a veto-proof supermajority in the State House and gain the ability to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto, they would have to win 72 of the 120 House seats. The GOP currently holds 69 seats. It is possible to get to 72, but that means the GOP would have to hold all 55 seats in “Safe,” “Likely,” and uncontested Republican territory and then hold or capture 17 of the 22 competitive districts listed below.
As we pointed out in the State Senate report, “It is important to note that historically in recent mid-term elections, the party of the sitting president typically loses seats. Considering high gas prices, low investment yields, the general economy, and other factors, Republicans could enjoy a measurable tailwind heading into the November 8 General Election. On the other hand, Democrats are attempting to use the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs ruling—which overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the issue of abortion back to the states—to scare independent voters and try to turn them away from Republican candidates.” Other factors can also influence the ultimate outcome of elections like candidate performance, voter turnout, campaign advertising, and the spending of “outside money” by interest groups and Super PACs.
Be sure to visit NCFamilyVoter.com to see the candidate’s responses to NC Family’s 2022 Voter Guide candidate questionnaire and to find links to their campaign websites.
NC House District 5—Incumbent Democrat Howard Hunter, III faces Republican challenger Bill Ward in this slightly “Leaning Democratic” district in northeastern North Carolina encompassing Camden, Gates, Hertford, and Pasquotank counties. Hunter, a funeral home owner, is in his fourth term in the House. Ward is a retired law enforcement professional.
NC House District 9—Incumbent Democrat Brian Farkas is being challenged by Republican Timothy Reeder in this “Leaning Democratic” district in the southern half of Pitt County. Farkas is a director of development and client relations for an architecture firm and is serving in his first term in the House. Reeder is an emergency physician.
NC House District 12—Incumbent Republican Chris Humphrey faces Democratic challenger Lillie Williams in this “Leaning Republican” district taking in Greene, Jones, and Lenoir counties. Humphrey, an insurance agent, is serving his second term in the House. Williams is a retired educator.
NC House District 20—Incumbent Republican Ted Davis is being challenged by Democrat Amy Block DeLoach in this “Toss-Up” district in New Hanover County. Davis, an attorney, has served over five terms in the House. DeLoach has served as a volunteer with a variety of local organizations.
NC House District 24—Incumbent Democrat Linda Cooper-Suggs faces Republican Ken Fontenot in this slightly “Leaning Democratic” district encompassing Wilson County and a small portion of Nash County. Cooper-Suggs, a retired educator, is serving in her second term in the House. Fontenot is a local pastor.
NC House District 25—Incumbent Democrat James Gailliard is being challenged by Republican Allen Chesser and Libertarian Nick Taylor in this “Leaning Democratic” district in Nash County. Gailliard, a pastor, is serving his second term in the House. Chesser is an Army veteran and police officer. Taylor is a high school teacher.
NC House District 35—Incumbent Democrat Terence Everitt faces Republican Fred Von Canon and Libertarian Joseph Serio in this slightly “Leaning Democratic” district in northern Wake County. Everitt, an attorney, is serving his second term in the House. Von Canon is a Navy veteran and business owner. We were unable to find definitive information about Serio.
NC House District 37—Republican Incumbent Erin Paré is being challenged by Democrat Christine Kelly and Libertarian Christopher Robinson in this slightly “Leaning Republican” district in southern Wake County. Paré is a small business owner serving in her first term in the House. Kelly is a former Holly Springs Town Councilwoman. Robinson is a supply chain manager.
NC House District 40—Incumbent Democrat Joe John faces former Republican State House member Marilyn Avila and Libertarian Michael Nelson in this “Leaning Democratic” district in northern Wake County. John is an attorney and former judge serving in his third term in the House. Avila, a former chemist and business owner, previously served in the State House for 10 years from 2007 to 2017. Nelson is a client success manager at IBM.
NC House District 43—Incumbent Republican Diane Wheatley is being challenged by former Democratic State House member Elmer Floyd in this “Toss-Up” district in Cumberland County. Wheatley, a registered nurse, is serving in her first term in the House. Floyd, an Army veteran and former human relations director, previously served six terms in the House.
NC House District 47—Republican Jarrod Lowery faces Democrat Charles Townsend in this open-seat “Toss-Up” district in Robeson County. Lowrey is a Marine veteran and community relations manager. Townsend is an insurance agency owner and associate minister.
NC House District 48—Incumbent Democrat Garland Pierce is being challenged by Republican Melissa Swarbrick in this “Leaning Democratic” district in Hoke and Scotland counties. Pierce, a minister, is serving in his ninth term in the House. Swarbrick recently received a Master of Public Administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
NC House District 54—Incumbent Democrat Robert Reives faces Republican Walter Petty in this “Leaning Democratic” district encompassing Chatham County and a portion of eastern Randolph County. Reives, an attorney, serves as House Minority Leader and is in his fifth term in the House. Petty, a businessman, served on the Chatham County Board of Commissioners for 12 years.
NC House District 59—Incumbent Republican Jon Hardister is being challenged by Democrat Sherrie Young in this slightly “Democratic Leaning” district in eastern Guilford County. Hardister, a marketing professional, is in his fifth term in the House and serves as House Majority Whip. Young is a recruiter for a local truck driver training school.
NC House District 62—Incumbent Republican John Faircloth faces Democratic challenger Brandon Gray is this “Toss-Up” district in western Guilford County. Faircloth, a real estate broker and former law enforcement officer, is serving in his sixth term in the House. Gray is a small business owner.
NC House District 63—Incumbent Democrat Ricky Hurtado is being challenged by Republican former State House member Stephen Ross in this slightly “Leaning Democratic” district in northern Alamance County. Hurtado, an educator and non-profit director, is serving in his first term in the House. Ross, a financial adviser and businessman, previously served four terms in the House. This is a rematch of the 2020 race, which Hurtado won by only 477 votes.
NC House District 73—Republican Brian Echevarria is facing Democrat Diamond Staton-Williams in this open-seat “Leaning Democratic” district in Cabarrus County. Echevarria is a financial advisor, building contractor, and small business owner. Staton-Williams is a registered nurse and a member of the Harrisburg Town Council.
NC House District 74—Incumbent Republican Jeff Zenger is being challenged by Democrat Carla Catalan Day in this “Toss-Up” district in western Forsyth County. Zenger, a general contractor and developer, is serving his first term in the House. Day works in environmental health consulting.
NC House District 98—Incumbent Republican John Bradford is facing a challenge by Democratic former State House member Christy Clark in this “Toss-Up” district in northern Mecklenburg County. Bradford, a small business owner, is serving in his third term in the House. Clark is a public school educator who previously served one term in the House.
NC House District 103—Republican former State House member Bill Brawley is facing off against Democrat Laura Budd in this slightly “Leaning Democratic” open-seat district in southern Mecklenburg County. Brawley, an Army veteran and real estate broker, previously served four terms in the House. Budd is an attorney.
NC House District 104—Incumbent Democrat Brandon Lofton is being challenged by Republican Don Pomeroy in this “Leaning Democratic” district in southern Mecklenburg County. Lofton, an attorney, is serving in his second term in the House. Pomeroy is a retired business executive.
NC House District 119—Incumbent Republican Mike Clampitt is facing Democratic challenger Al Platt in this “Leaning Republican” district in Jackson, Swain, and Transylvania counties in western North Carolina. Clampitt is a retired fire captain and is serving in his second term in the House. Platt is an architect. With an “R+5” rating, this is the most Republican-leaning district of those listed in this report.