Raleigh, N.C. — After months as a purple state, North Carolina tipped into the red column Tuesday night.
While the numbers were close, Donald Trump pulled ahead with 50 percent of the vote, but those Trump supporters did not necessarily vote Republican down the ballot.
Voters in North Carolina sent Republican Richard Burr back to Washington for his third term in the U.S. Senate, and Republican Dan Forest will return as lieutenant governor.
Democrat Roy Cooper won all of the counties Hillary Clinton won, plus four extra counties that voted for Donald Trump. Cooper’s home county of Nash, plus Granville, Jackson and New Hanover, which was hit hard by the end of film incentives and House Bill 2, all cast ballots for the Democrat.
Republican Pat McCrory with 2,276,850 votes got a few less votes than Trump in many counties – 62,902 votes statewide – while Cooper got a few more votes than Clinton in most counties – 119,072 statewide.
Those numbers mean some Trump voters split their ticket and voted for Cooper.
Mac McCorkle of Duke University said in the past, North Carolinians voted split tickets, but that has not been the case lately.
“In historic terms, the split apparently toward Cooper was not that great,” McCorkle said. “But it is that great compared to current conditions where the votes are so ideologically polarized.”
Democratic Supreme Court candidate Mike Morgan defeated Republican Bob Edmunds statewide by nearly 10 points, while all five court of appeals seats went to the GOP.
“How a split ticket happened there – it may have been ballot position, I don’t know,” McCorkle said. “That one is probably the biggest stumper of the night.”
On the council of state, Republicans beat two sitting Democrats, but two other sitting Democrats kept their seats.
“There was some very creative split ticket voting on the margins here that is going to be very perplexing for anybody to completely understand,” McCorkle said.
The county votes counts will not be finalized until Nov. 18.
A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.