Wake County, N.C. – Last week,the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) published preliminary information on the 2020 County Commissioner election results and county referenda on the general election ballot. All recent data gathered by NCACC is considered unofficial until the North Carolina State Board of Elections certifies the election results.
During this year’s general election, 308 county commissioner seats were up for election, and about one-third of those seats were already decided by primary elections and appointments before Election Day. According to the unofficial results, 105 of all 587 county commissioners will be new, making up about 18% of the total seats. Among the 100 Boards of County Commissioners, 61 will be led by a Republican majority and 37 will be led by a Democratic majority, with each party representing approximately one-half of the state’s population.
Majority control will flip in six counties including Caswell County (from Democrat to Republican), Franklin County (from Democrat to Republican), Guilford County (from Republican to Democrat), Lee County (from Democrat to Republican), Montgomery County (from Democrat to Republican), and Richmond County (from Democrat to Republican). Two boards are split evenly between political parties. Representation by an Unaffiliated or other party candidate has held steady at 1% of the county commissioner seats for the past ten years.
Women now hold 22% of the seats, up from 17% two years ago. Durham County elected an all-female county board, likely a first in North Carolina history. County commissioner boards are becoming slightly more diverse, with more Black, Latino, and Asian commissioners elected.
Voters in 21 counties considered referenda on the general election ballot. Alleghany, Carteret, Chowan, Guilford, and Yadkin counties considered a referendum to levy an additional quarter-cent local option sales & use tax (authorized under Article 46 of GS Chapter 105), which did not pass in any of the counties. Voters in Camden, Carteret, Guilford, Jackson, and Lee counties approved bonds for schools and parks and recreation. Voters also approved public housing, transportation, and improvement bonds in Raleigh and Charlotte.
Voters also elected several former county commissioners to the North Carolina General Assembly, bringing the total percentage of all state legislators with experience as a county commissioner to 20%. Newly elected members of the “County Caucus” include:
- Bertie County Comm. Ernestine Bazemore (N.C. Senate, District 3)
- Alamance County Comm. Amy Galey (N.C. Senate, District 24)
- Former Craven County Comm. Steve Tyson (N.C. House, District 3)
- Former Wake County Comm. Abe Jones (N.C. House, District 38)
- Former Cumberland County Comm. Diane Wheatley (N.C. House, District 43)
- Harnett County Comm. Howard Penny (N.C. House, District 53)
- Richmond County Comm. Ben Moss (N.C. House, District 66)
- Former Davidson County Comm. Sam Watford (N.C. House, District 80)
- Former Buncombe County Comm. Tim Moffitt (N.C. House, District 117)
- Haywood County Comm. Mark Pless (N.C. House, District 118)
- Macon County Comm. Karl Gillespie (N.C. House, District 120)
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners(NCACC) is a non-partisan organization, which represents the official voice of all 100 counties on issues considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.