NCAJ Political Action Committee 2022 Post-Election Report

November 15, 2022   |   Jason Orndoff

The NCAJ PAC made endorsements in statewide judicial races as well as contributions in state legislative races. PAC-supported legislative candidates fared better than PAC-endorsed judicial candidates.

The PAC made its decisions to support and endorse candidates after a thorough process that included input from NCAJ members, interviews of every judicial candidate, a written analysis of appellate judicial records and several other factors, as described in the NCAJ Advocacy Strategic Plan.

This report summarizes the results of the election with regard to PAC-supported candidates.

In the 2022 election, 3,745,547 ballots were cast in North Carolina. This represents 50.53% voter turnout as North Carolina has 7,412,050 registered voters. This is slightly down from the 52.98% voter turnout in the previous mid-term election of 2018. The vote totals discussed in this report are based on unofficial results. The North Carolina Board of Elections will certify results of the Nov. 8 election on Nov. 29.

Appellate Courts

North Carolina Supreme Court  

The NCAJ PAC endorsed Sam J. Ervin IV and Lucy Inman in the two Supreme Court seats on the ballot.

  • In Seat 3, Richard Dietz defeated Lucy Inman by 192,050 votes, winning the race 52.59% to 47.41%.
  • In Seat 5, Trey Allen defeated Sam J. Ervin IV by 177,482 votes, winning the race 52.39% to 47.61%.

Following the 2022 election, the political party composition of the Supreme Court is five Republicans and two Democrats. Prior to the 2022 election, Democrats held a 4-3 majority. 

North Carolina Court of Appeals 

The NCAJ PAC endorsed Carolyn Jennings ThompsonDonna StroudGale Murray Adams and Darren Jackson in the four open Court of Appeals seats on the ballot.

  • In Seat 8, Julee Tate Flood defeated Carolyn Jennings Thompson by 193,618 votes, winning the race 52.62% to 47.38%.
  • In Seat 9, Donna Stroud defeated Brad Salmon by 338,823 votes, winning the race 54.60% to 45.40%.
  • In Seat 10, John Tyson defeated Gale Murray Adams by 217,377 votes, winning the race 52.95% to 47.05%.
  • In Seat 11, Michael Stading defeated Darren Jackson by 225,085 votes, winning the race 53.06% to 46.94%.

Following the 2022 election, the political party composition of the Court of Appeals is 12 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Prior to the 2022 election, Republicans held a 10-5 majority.

General Assembly

Prior to the 2022 election, Republicans held a 28-to-22 majority in the Senate and a 69-to-51 majority in the House of Representatives. All 50 Senate seats and 120 House of Representative seats were on the ballot this November.

Following the 2022 election, Republicans hold a 30-to-20 majority in the Senate as well as a 71-to-49 majority in the House of Representatives.

Of significant interest was the possibility that Republicans might gain supermajorities in the Senate and/or House of Representatives, which would allow override of any veto by Gov. Roy Cooper (D). As a result of the 2022 election, Republicans will control 30 seats in the Senate but fell shy by one seat of gaining a supermajority in the House of Representatives.

In the 2022 election, the NCAJ PAC provided bipartisan support to a total of 24 candidates across both houses of the legislature, including seven NCAJ member candidates. Of those 24 candidates, 22 won their election representing a 92% winning percentage for PAC-supported candidates. 

All seven (100%) NCAJ member candidates won their races, with four successful Senate candidates and three successful House of Representatives candidates. They are:

  • Sen. Sydney Batch (D)
  • Sen. Jay J. Chaudhuri (D)
  • Sen. Danny Earl Britt, Jr. (R)
  • Sen. Mujtaba A. Mohammed (D)
  • Rep. Destin Hall (R)
  • Rep. Terence Everitt (D)
  • Rep. Robert T. Reives (D)

Closing Comments

Modern day elections, particularly at the statewide judicial level, are increasingly subject to massive expenditures by interests inside and outside of North Carolina.

By way of example, an AP report that examined campaign finance reports and other filings made with the Board of Elections just prior to Nov. 8 revealed at least $15 million dollars had been spent by the four Supreme Court candidates combined.

Perhaps most importantly, statewide judicial races remain partisan contests with political party affiliation undoubtedly being a main driver of votes cast.

The outcomes of the judicial races are, without question, disappointing as only one statewide PAC-endorsed judicial candidate, Donna Stroud, won election. It was not for lack of effort. The sections, divisions and caucuses (SDCs) of NCAJ responded to the call to promote PAC-supported statewide judicial candidates to clients, friends and family.

Based upon reports from SDC leaders, more than 100,000 potential voters were reached through a combination of emails, social media posts, letters, flyers and in-person communication. Our significant efforts were not enough to overcome the overall political environment, mid-term year factor, and a number of other factors involved this cycle.

In contrast to the statewide judicial races, as stated above PAC-supported candidates had a 92% success rate in the 2022 election. PAC believes that the deliberate, strategic and bipartisan support PAC provided in the 2022 election will provide meaningful benefit in the upcoming two-year legislative cycle.

In closing, I wish to thank two extremely important groups within NCAJ:

First, thank you to all members who make contributions to the NCAJ PAC. Without your generous and steadfast support, PAC would not have had the resources to provide key, strategic and important support in state legislative candidates.

Second, thank you to all of you who supported the PAC-endorsed statewide judicial candidates. A great number of you answered the call. It was another reminder to me of the strength of our combined efforts and made me proud, for my 22nd year, to be a fellow NCAJ member.