RALEIGH — Among a wave of historic firsts across the nation, North Carolina has turned back to its traditional blue after more than three decades of consistent support for Republican presidential candidates.
Sen. Barack Obama captured North Carolina with tight 49.67% lead over Sen. John McCain’s 49.40%. Separated by close to 12,000 votes, most news agencies remain cautious on whether to call North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes for Obama.
Voters chose Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue as the state’s next governor. When she takes office she will be the state’s first female governor. Her 50.18%-46.94% victory came after a long and hard-fought campaign with Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. State Sen. Kay Hagan becomes the first Democratic candidate to take over the old Senate seat of the late Sen. Jesse Helms.
In state races, North Carolina Democrats lost one seat in the State Senate and maintained their balance of power in the House. State Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover), North Carolina’s only openly gay legislator, kept her seat in a 51.65%-48.35 lead over Republican challenger Michael Lee. Boseman had been coming under scrutiny after details of the breakup with her partner became public. Members of the African-American community have also accused Boseman of being racist after a claim she used a derogatory racial slur. The senator has denied making such remarks.
Incumbent Republican U.S. House Rep. Robin Hayes lost his reelection bid for his District 8 seat. Democratic challenger Larry Kissell, who came just a few hundred votes short of ousting Hayes in the 2006 election, won with a lead of more than 30,000 votes.
Democratic challenger Daniel Johnson showed a strong but ultimately losing showing against incumbent Republican U.S. House Rep. Patrick McHenry in the Tenth District.