The last statewide race of the 2020 election has finally been decided.
North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby has won election to chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has conceded.
Beasley was appointed chief justice by Gov. Roy Cooper, so this was her first run for chief justice.
Newby, originally from Jamestown and a graduate of Ragsdale High School, won by 406 votes after the initial count. With over 5.3 million votes cast in that race a recount was required. After a recount, Newby was up by 401 votes and Beasly requested a hand recount. After 99 counties had completed that hand recount Beasley conceded, despite the fact that some election challenges by both candidates are still pending.
The Newby win means that Republicans won all eight statewide judicial races – three for the North Carolina Supreme Court, including chief justice, and five for the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Despite the Republican sweep in 2020, the Democrats have a 4-to-3 majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court. Newby is currently the only Republican member of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and by winning the race for chief justice, Newby simply moves over to the middle seat and that race doesn’t change the partisan makeup of the court.
However, the win by Newby does make the totals in North Carolina somewhat perplexing. In North Carolina Republican Donald Trump won the presidential race and Republican Thom Tillis was reelected to the Senate, but Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper was also reelected. Republican Mark Robinson running for the first time was elected lieutenant governor and Republicans won a majority of seats on the Council of State.
Add to that the fact that Republicans have won all of the statewide judicial races and held on to majorities in the state House and state Senate and it would appear that with the notable exception of governor, North Carolinians prefer Republicans over Democrats for national and state offices.