NCGA Week in Review January 2019

by McGuireWoods Consulting

Legislators returned to Raleigh this Wednesday for the opening day of the 2019-2020 session. This ceremonial day allowed members to bring their families to Jones Street to see them in action on the House and Senate floors. It also provided an opportunity to show family and friends their offices and meet some of their colleagues.

With Republicans losing the veto-proof super majorities they previously held in both chambers, this session will likely be lengthy and complex. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will be able to truly wield his veto power for the first time and Republican leadership in the House and Senate will have to work closely with their Democrat colleagues in order to pass major pieces of legislation. The House and Senate will reconvene later this month on Wednesday, January 30.

New Faces

Politicos may need flashcards to keep up with all the new faces around the legislature this year. The House will see 26 new (or mostly new) members while the Senate will have 13 new faces joining them this year.

NC House:

  • Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes, R-Nash, who defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Bobbie Richardson in one of the state’s newly redrawn districts.
  • Rep. Sydney Batch, D-Wake, who defeated Republican John Adcock.
  • Rep. Jerry Carter, R-Rockingham, is filling the former seat of Republican Rep. Bert Jones, who did not run for another term.
  • Rep. Christy Clark, D-Mecklenburg, who narrowly defeated Republican incumbent John Ray Bradford.
  • Rep. Ashton Clemmons, D-Guilford, who will represent a newly-drawn district that did not have an incumbent. 
  • Rep. Allison Dahle, D-Wake, who defeated incumbent Rep. Duane Hall during the 2018 primary.
  • Rep. Terence Everitt, D-Wake, who defeated Republican incumbent Chris Malone in the general election. 
  • Rep. James Gailliard, D-Nash, who won the open seat after former Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, retired. 
  • Rep. Wesley Harris, D-Mecklenburg, who defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Stone.
  • Rep. Zack Hawkins, D-Durham, who replaces retiring Rep. Mickey Michaux, who was the longest serving member of the General Assembly. 
  • Rep. Rachel Hunt, D-Mecklenburg, daughter of former Gov. James Hunt, who defeated Republican incumbent Bill Brawley by less than 100 votes.
  • Rep. Ed Goodwin, R-Chowan, will be filling the former seat of Bob Steinburg, who will be serving his first term in the NC Senate this year.
  • Rep. Julie von Haefen, D-Wake, who defeated incumbent and Senior Appropriations Chair Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, in the general election.
  • Rep. Bobby Hanig, R-Currituck, who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Beverly Boswell in the 2018 primary. 
  • Rep. Chris Humphrey, R-Lenoir, who defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. George Graham in another one of the state’s redrawn districts.
  • Rep. Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson, who is replacing Rep. Sam Watford, who gave up his House seat in an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the NC Senate.
  • Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, will represent a new district with no incumbent.
  • Rep. Kandie Smith, D-Pitt, who won a newly drawn district.
  • Rep. Brandon Lofton, D-Mecklenburg, who defeated Republican Rep. Andy Dulin.
  • Rep. Carolyn Logan, D-Mecklenburg, who won a seat left open when Democratic Rep. Beverly Earle retired.
  • Rep. Nasif Majeed, who defeated incumbent Rep. Rodney Moore in the Democratic primary.
  • Rep. Raymond Smith, D-Wayne, who is filing the seat following the retirement of Rep. Larry Bell, D-Sampson.
  • Rep. Ray Russell, D-Watauga, who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Jonathan Jordan.
  • Rep. Wayne Sasser, R-Cabarrus, who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Justin Burr in last year's primary.
  • Rep. Carson Smith, R-Pender, who is replacing Republican Rep. Bob Muller, who decided not to seek re-election.
  • Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Haywood, who has previously served in both the NC House and NC Senate, reclaimed his seat when he defeated Republican Rep. Mike Clampitt.

NC Senate:

  • Sen. Ted Alexander, R-Cleveland, who defeated Sen. David Curtis in last year's primary.
  • Sen. Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, who is replacing Republican Sen. Ronald Rabin, who retired.
  • Sen. Kirk deViere, D-Cumberland, who defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Wesley Meredith.
  • Sen. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, is a former three-term House member who ran for Senate after newly re-drawn district maps had him double-bunked in the same district with Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus.
  • Sen. Eddie Gallimore, R-Davidson, who defeated Rep. Sam Watford, R-Davidson in last year's primary.
  • Sen. Michael Garrett, D-Guilford, who defeated Republican Sen. Trudy Wade.
  • Sen. Todd Johnson, R-Union, who is replacing Sen. Tommy Tucker, who retired.
  • Sen. Natasha Marcus, D-Mecklenburg, who defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Jeff Tarte.
  • Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed, D-Mecklenburg, who defeated Sen. Joel Ford in last year's Democratic primary.
  • Sen. Wiley Nickel, D-Wake, who is filling a newly drawn district with no incumbent.
  • Sen. Harper Peterson, D-New Hanover, who narrowly defeated Republican Sen. Michael Lee.
  • Sen. Sam Searcy, D-Wake, who defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer.

Sen. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, left his seat in the NC House to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Bill Cook.

Leadership Elections

Both chambers held leadership elections this week, with Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, both holding on to their top posts as President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House, respectively. Other leadership positions include:


  • Sen. Ralph Hise, Senate Deputy President Pro Tempore
  • Sen. Harry Brown, Majority Leader
  • Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, Senate Democratic Whip
  • Sen. Dan Blue, Senate Democratic Leader
  • Sen. Ben Clark, Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary


  • Rep. Sarah Stevens, Speaker Pro Tempore
  • Rep. John Bell, Majority Leader
  • Rep. John Hardister, Majority Whip
  • Rep. Darren Jackson, Democratic Leader
  • Rep. Robert Rieves, Deputy Democratic Leader
  • Rep. Ashton Clemmons, Democratic Caucus Freshman Leader

Committee Membership

Committee membership assignments are in the early stages, but Wednesday offered an early glimpse at some key chairmanships in House committees. Former Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, who served as the long-time senior budget writer of the NC House, lost his bid for reelection in November, causing some shuffling around amongst the House Appropriations and Finance committees. The rest of the chairs and membership of House and Senate standing committees will be announced in the coming weeks. Here are the gavels that have been given out so far:

House Appropriations:

  • Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, Senior Chair
  • Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, Senior Chair
  • Rep. Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus, Senior Chair
  • Rep. Dean Arp, R-Union, Chair
  • Rep. Josh Dobson, R-McDowell, Chair
  • Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, Chair
  • Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, Chair
  • Rep. William Brisson, R-Bladen, Chair

House Finance:

  • Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, Senior Chair
  • Rep. Mitchel Setzer, R-Catawba, Chair
  • Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, Chair

Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House:

  • Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, Chair

Contribution Limit

The $5,200 campaign donation limit has been changed this week by the State Board of Elections. Donors may now give up to $5,400 to candidate committees that are restricted by legal limits. The change comes mostly as a result of inflation and is effective immediately.

This Week Ahead

Wednesday, January 16

10:00AM Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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