Late last night, the Forsyth County Board of Elections finally reported its results to the state, completing a statewide recount in the race for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. According to the State Board of Elections, current Associate Justice Paul Newby unofficially bested current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley by 401 votes out of 5,391,501 ballots cast. Newby’s tentative victory caps a conservative sweep of state appellate court races in North Carolina, where Republicans appear to have won three-out-of-three State Supreme Court races and five-out-of-five State Court of Appeals races.
Not unexpectedly, Beasley’s campaign has called for a “hand-to-eye” recount, which is a “second recount on a hand-to-eye basis in a sample of precincts” according to state law. If this random sample of three percent of precincts in each county of the state yields a result that could change the overall outcome of the race, then a statewide hand-to-eye recount could be ordered by the State Board of Elections. This means an ultimate and official result in this race could be weeks in coming.
In the other Supreme Court races, Republican Phil Berger, Jr. defeated Democrat Lucy Inman. Both judges currently serve on the State Court of Appeals, where Inman will continue to serve, as judicial candidates in North Carolina do not have to give up their judgeships to run for another statewide judicial seat. Additionally, former GOP State Senator Tamara Barringer unseated incumbent Associate Justice Mark Davis. Assuming the Newby victory holds after the second recount, Democrats will have a 4-3 seat majority over Republicans on the state’s highest court.
On the State Court of Appeals, incumbent Republican Judge Chris Dillon won re-election against Democratic challenger Gray Styers. Dillon’s nearly 4 percent margin of victory (51.95% to 48.05%) was the largest of all the statewide appellate court races. Additionally, incumbent Democratic Court of Appeals Judges Christopher Brook and Reuben F. Young were unseated by Republican challengers Jefferson Griffin and Jeff Carpenter, respectively. Finally, Republican Fred Gore defeated Democrat Lora Christine Cubbage, and GOP candidate April Wood was victorious over Democrat Tricia Shields.
Stay tuned to NC Family for updates on the race for Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court.