2022 is set to be one of the most pivotal legislative elections in North Carolina history. In the wake of the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the fate of safe, legal abortion access is in the hands of the state courts and state legislature. Based on this precedent, candidates elected to the state legislature will be poised to dictate the law on a number of issues previously enforced at the federal level.
Republicans currently control both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly. However, since 2018 Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has had the ability to veto legislation and there are enough Democratic members in the legislature to block Republicans from overriding a veto.
The stakes are incredibly high in this year’s legislative elections and a handful of races could decide the future of our state. In the state Senate, the following seats are considered races to watch this fall based on a number of factors including historical electoral performance, candidate profile, and demographic information.
Note- these are analyses, not endorsements. This report shouldn’t be taken as an indication of support for any one candidate.
Senate District 3 (Warren, Halifax, Martin, Bertie, Northampton, Hertford, Gates, Camden, Currituck, Tyrrell)
In Senate District 3, Democrat Valerie Jordan will face Republican Representative Bobby Hanig for the open seat previously occupied by Democratic Senator Ernestine Bazemore. Jordan is a business leader and a member of the North Carolina Board of Transportation. Representative Bobby Hanig has served two terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives and is a leader in the far-right Freedom Caucus.
Senate District 7 (New Hanover)
In Senate District 7, Democrat Marcia Morgan will face incumbent Republican Senator Michael Lee. Morgan is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and educator. Senator Michael Lee is a commercial land use and real estate attorney and has served in the North Carolina Senate 2014-2018 and 2020-present.
Senate District 17 (Wake)
In Senate District 17, incumbent Democratic Senator Sydney Batch is running against Republican nominee Mark Cavaliero. Senator Batch is a small business owner and previously served one term in the North Carolina House of Representatives before she was appointed to the North Carolina Senate in early 2021. Republican candidate Mark Cavaliero is a retired Marine Colonel and businessman.
Senate District 18 (Wake, Granville)
In Senate District 18, Democrat Mary Wills Bode is running against Republican nominee E.C. Skyes for the seat previously held by Democratic Senator Sarah Crawford. Bode is an attorney and non-profit executive, Sykes is a business leader and a former Republican candidate for NC Secretary of State.
Senate District 42 (Mecklenburg)In Senate District 42, Representative Rachel Hunt, a Democrat, will face Republican nominee Cheryl Russo. Hunt, an education advocate, lawyer, and community leader who is the daughter of former four-term Governor Jim Hunt, has served two terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Republican candidate Cheryl Russo is a cardiologist in Charlotte.