GOPAC’s Top Races to Watch: North Carolina State Senate

With the Democratic National Convention taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week we highlight Republican candidates in the Top Races to Watch in the North Carolina State Senate.

In the historic election of 2010, Republicans earned a majority in the North Carolina Senate and House for the first time in over 140 years. Since then they have balanced the budget without increasing taxes, turned a historic deficit into a surplus, achieved regulatory reform and passed a number of business-friendly laws. Republicans in the senate, led by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, hold a strong 31-19 majority, but Democrats are pulling off all the stops this year to take it back.

Several key races will play a role in helping Republicans maintain this majority. Here is a look at the top five most competitive races for the North Carolina State Senate this November:

Tamara Barringer (R) vs Erv Portman (D)

  • District 17, suburban Raleigh
  • Voter make-up: high percentage of unaffiliated voters, moderate Republicans

GOPACRepublican Tamara Barringer faces opponent Democrat Erv Portman in a race for the open seat vacated by GOP Senator Richard Stevens after he retires this year. This suburban district in the Raleigh market has a high percentage of unaffiliated voters and moderate Republicans.

Having spent the past 25 years as a small business owner, lawyer and college professor, Tamara Barringer is running on a platform focused on growing jobs and the economy as well as education reform.

She believes that over-regulation is one of the most destructive challenges to business success, and that we must return respect and professionalism to education in order to empower our teachers and students.

Support Tamara Barringer.


Senator Neal Hunt (R) vs Sig Hutchinson (D)

  • District 15, suburban Raleigh
  • Voter make-up: high percentage of unaffiliated voters, moderate Republicans

GOPACRepublican Senator Neal Hunt has served Senate District 15 since 2004. This year he faces Democrat Sig Hutchinson, a long-time community activist in North Carolina.

As a former city council member who was raised in Raleigh and owned a successful business in town for over 30 years, Hunt is a dedicated public servant who has helped enact the necessary reforms to get North Carolina moving in the right direction.

In Senator Hunt’s own words, “Over the Governor’s objections we accomplished the monumental task of passing a budget that balanced our revenues with expenses without a tax increase. Instead of getting caught in a partisan fight, we crafted a balanced bipartisan plan that cut taxes, reduced spending, and reformed and improved public education — all while closing a $2.5 billion deficit.”

Support Senator Neal Hunt.


Senator Thom Goolsby (R) vs Deb Butler (D)

  • District 9, New Hanover
  • Voter make-up: moderate

GOPACRepublican Senator Thom Goolsby is running for re-election in North Carolina’s 9th district against his opponent Democrat Deb Butler. Goolsby’s high name ID and strong record as a business-minded conservative are an advantage in this moderate district.

He has been endorsed by the NC Chamber of Commerce, the State Employees Association of North Carolina, and the NC Right to Life PAC.

In addition to serving in the State Senate, Goolsby is also a father, attorney and former officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He received the “Defender of Liberty” award from the American Conservative Union for his voting record during his first term in office, and the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation gave Senator Goolsby a perfect score for his voting record in support of business and job creation.

Support Senator Thom Goolsby.


Chad Barefoot (R) vs Senator Doug Berger (D)

  • District 18, Franklin County
  • Voter make-up: increasingly Republican

GOPACRepublican Chad Barefoot is running against incumbent Democratic Senator Doug Berger in one of the only target races against an incumbent legislator.

Democrat Doug Berger, one of the most liberal members of the North Carolina State Senate, draws a helpful contrast with Republican Chad Barefoot, a director of business development who is 100% pro-life, and who is running to reduce taxes, support farmers and gun rights, and oppose Obamacare.

Governor Mitt Romney and gubernatorial candidate and former Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory — both Republicans — are expected to win this district handily. In this increasingly Republican district, the contrast between conservative Barefoot and liberal Berger could help Barefoot overcome the challenge of unseating an incumbent.

Support Chad Barefoot.


Senator Wesley Meredith (R) vs George Tatum (D)

  • District 19, Cumberland County
  • Voter make-up: high percentage of Democrats, unaffiliated voters

GOPACFirst-term Republican State Senator Wesley Meredith faces Democrat George Tatum in District 19 this November.
A small business owner for more than two decades, Senator Meredith is running for re-election to decrease taxes and regulations to spur job creation, stop foolish spending, and reform education to give teachers and students the resources they need. Meredith is one of several legislators endorsed by the North Carolina Chamber PAC just last week.

His opponent, Democrat George Tatum, resigned amid scandal from his previous post as DMV Commissioner following numerous unethical offenses revealed by local newspapers.

In a recent post on his website entitled My Promise, Senator Meredith pledged, “I have always voted against tax increases and I will continue to do so. The hardworking people of North Carolina deserve better. They deserve a leader who will fight for them.”

Support Senator Wesley Meredith.