The 20 Most Flippable NC House Districts in 2018
***Update August 10, 2018: Exciting news! Due to the outstanding performance of Democratic candidates Martha Shafer and Terri LeGrand, we have added NC-H62 and NC-H74 as potentially flippable districts in November. Read more about the districts and candidates below.***
Under the court-appointed Special Master's new maps, Democrats have a fantastic opportunity to break the supermajority in the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) in 2018. With strong candidates and a big enough Democratic wave, Dems could even take back the NC House altogether. Here’s how.
There are 120 NC House districts and 50 NC Senate districts in the NCGA. Due to extreme gerrymandering, Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers (75 to 45 in the NC House and 35 to 15 in the NC Senate).
Our best opportunity to break the supermajority and restore the governor's veto power is to focus on the NC House, where Democrats need a net gain of 4 seats to break the supermajority and 15 seats to pull even.
The Easy Pickups
1. NC-H61 - Guilford County (Greensboro), D+52
Roy Cooper would have won this newly drawn district 75%-23%, so it should be an easy pickup for Dems. The district was re-drawn by the Special Master to address severe racial gerrymandering in Guilford County created by the Republican mapmakers.
The Democratic candidate in this district, Mary Price “Pricey” Harrison, has served seven terms in the House. Her district has been redrawn to NC-H61. She is a former communications law attorney and volunteer environmental advocate and activist.
She wants to continue the work of improving the local economy and public schools, defending voting rights, and protecting the state’s natural resources.
2. NC-H8 - Pitt County (Greenville), D+30
Republicans essentially conceded this district when they re-drew the maps; they didn’t even bother to make sure current incumbent Rep. Susan Martin’s home fell within the new district boundaries. Both Roy Cooper and Hillary Clinton easily won this newly drawn district 64%-34%. The GOP sacrificed NC-H8 to make other nearby districts safer.
Kandie Smith, the Democratic candidate in this district, was the first African-American female mayor of Greenville. She is currently serving her fourth term on the city council.
Winning in Wake and Mecklenburg
3. NC-H35 - Wake County (Wake Forest), D-1
4. NC-H36 - Wake County (Apex/Cary), D-2
5. NC-H37 - Wake County (Holly Springs/Fuquay Varina), D-2
6. NC-H98 - Mecklenburg County (Davidson/Huntersville), D-1
7. NC-H104 - Mecklenburg County (Charlotte - Myers Park area), D+3
8. NC-H105 - Mecklenburg County (Charlotte - Ballantyne area), D-1
Six of the most flippable districts have a remarkably similar profile. All six lie in rapidly growing suburban parts of Mecklenburg and Wake counties; all six have been trending more Democratic over recent elections; and Roy Cooper lost by the slimmest of margins in these (newly-drawn) districts in 2016. With strong Democratic candidates, these districts have an excellent chance of changing hands in 2018 and bringing an end to the GOP supermajority in the NCGA.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H35, Terence Everitt, ran against the incumbent, Chris Malone, in 2016 and lost by fewer than 3,000 votes. A husband and father of two, he is an attorney who specializes in helping small businesses. He’s also a member of the board of directors for the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at terenceeveritt.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H36 from 2016 was planning to run again. But then, she was drawn out of this district at the beginning of the year following a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Enter Julie Von Haefen. A former attorney and guardian ad litem, she’s best known for her work in education. The mother of three children who attend Wake County public schools, Julie is the Wake County PTA president.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at juliefornc.com.
Sydney Batch, the Democratic candidate in NC-H37, is a family law attorney, social worker, and fierce advocate for children. A native North Carolinian, she runs a law practice with her husband.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at sydneybatch.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H98, Christy Clark, works as an intellectual property and business law paralegal at a law firm founded by her husband. Her public service experience includes serving as the North Carolina chapter leader for Moms Demand Action for the past two years.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at christyclarknc.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H104, Brandon Lofton, is an attorney with an outstanding record of public and community service. He currently serves on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board, which works to end and prevent homelessness, and recently served as board president for the Council for Children’s Rights, which advocates on behalf of children in the Charlotte area.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at loftonfornc.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H105, Wesley Harris, has a PhD in economics, focusing on political economy and public finance. He is an adjunct professor of economics at UNC-Charlotte and a member of the Charlotte Economics Club, the Mecklenburg County Young Democrats, and the Arts and Science Council Young Donors Society. Plus, Wesley and his sister have started a nonprofit that helps small businesses and nonprofits raise capital and improve the community.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at harrisfornc.com.
9. NC-H119 - Jackson/Swain/Haywood Counties (Waynesville/Sylva), D-Even
10. NC-H93 - Ashe/Watauga Counties (Boone), D-5
These two western NC districts are among the top 10 most flippable districts in the state. In NC-H119, Joe Sam Queen (D) beat Mike Clampitt (R) in 2012 and 2014 before losing to him by fewer than 300 votes in 2016; Cooper lost the district by a similar margin. The margins for Cooper and recent Dem house candidates (Sue Counts in '14 and '16) have been a bit larger (5-6%) in NC-H93, a gap that is certainly surmountable with a solid wave for Democrats in 2018.
In 2018, Joe Sam Queen is running in NC-H119 again and is ready to take back his seat for the Dems.
A sixth-generation citizen of the mountains, Joe Sam first served in the legislature in 2002. He is a farmer, architect, businessman, father, and husband.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at joesamqueen.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H93 is Ray Russell, an Appalachian State computer science professor, known locally for his mountain weather forecasts at raysweather.com.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at rayfornc.com.
It Starts by Showing Up
11. NC-H63 - Alamance County (Burlington), D-4
12. NC-H19 - New Hanover County (Wilmington), D-6
13. NC-H20 - New Hanover County (Wilmington), D-6
Roy Cooper lost these three districts by an average of 5 points in 2016 and yet, amazingly, Democrats didn’t field a candidate for the NC House in any of these districts. All three are clearly flippable in 2018 with a solid Democratic wave!
Erica McAdoo, who is running in NC-H63, brings to this race a progressive platform centered on education, health care, and fair maps. Erica manages a local business, works as an educator, and is an advocate for foster children and for improving the foster system.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at ericafornchouse.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H19, Marcia Morgan, is a former educator and retired Army Colonel. Her platform focuses on the environment, the economy, education, and equality.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at electmarciamorgan.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H20, Leslie Cohen, is a graphic designer, fine-art painter, and activist who became involved in local issues when the passage of HB2 threatened the rights of her adult children.
Her priorities include clean water, improved public education, film incentives, and protecting the coast from offshore drilling. But she says fair maps must come first.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at electlesliecohen.com.
The Unusual Cases
14. NC-H51 - Harnett/Lee Counties (Sanford), D-9
Despite significantly over-performing Roy Cooper and Hillary Clinton, Democrat Brad Salmon lost his seat in the NC House to John Sauls in 2016. The good news is that NC-H51 was re-drawn to be 8 points more favorable for the Dems under the new maps, creating an excellent opportunity to reclaim this seat in 2018.
Democrats almost didn’t have a candidate in this district, which is hard to believe considering how flippable it is. Thankfully, just before the deadline, Lisa Mathis emerged. She’s a longtime Sanford resident, a mother of two, and a public schools advocate. She opened ArtStudio in downtown Sanford in 2003.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at mathis4nchouse.com.
15. NC-H118 - Haywood/Madison/Yancey Counties, D-17*
At first glance, NC-H118 in Western NC doesn’t look too promising for Democrats. Cooper lost the district by 17 points and Clinton by 32. But severe forest fires suppressed turnout in the district in 2016, and the Democratic candidate for the NC House lost in both 2012 and 2014 by only 3 points (51.5-48.5), so NC-H118 appears flippable with a return to normal voting patterns and a modest Democratic wave in 2018.
The Democratic candidate in this district is Rhonda Cole Schandevel, a dental hygienist and former school board member who was born and raised in Haywood County. She is vowing to make sure everyone in Madison, Yancey, and Haywood Counties has access to quality, safe, and affordable health care; work to increase wages; and stand up to the special interests plaguing North Carolina politics.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at rhondafornc.com.
16. NC-H1 - Bertie/Camden/Chowan/Perquimans/Tyrell/Washington Counties, D-7
Again, at first glance NC-H1 might not seem so flippable; Roy Cooper lost the district by about 30 points in 2016. But under the new maps, the district becomes much more favorable for Democrats, and the Dem House candidate outperformed Cooper’s margin by 4-5 points in 2016—a combo that should make this rural district in eastern NC very competitive in 2018.
The Democratic candidate in this district, Ron Wesson, has been a Bertie County Commissioner for six years and is running on a platform of economic growth, funding for education, broadband expansion, and mental health resources.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at wessonfornc.com.
What Winning the House Looks Like
17. NC-H75 - Forsyth County (Clemmons/Union Cross), D-7
18. NC-H103 - Mecklenburg County (Matthews/Mint hill), D-8
These two districts in suburban/exurban Winston-Salem and Charlotte essentially define the kind of place Democrats must win in 2018 and 2020 to take back the House. Roy Cooper lost these districts in 2016 by 7-8 points, and the Dem House candidates in each district significantly underperformed Cooper. Winning these districts in 2018 will require a Virginia-sized statewide Democratic wave. It won’t be easy, but it is do-able!
Dan Besse, the Democratic candidate in NC-H75, is a North Carolina native, attorney, and five-term Winston-Salem City Council member. Dan is focused on strong neighborhoods, quality public schools, first-rate police and fire protection, healthy communities, affordable housing, jobs for working families, and building a welcoming community for all.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at bessefornc.com.
The Democratic candidate in NC-H103, Rachel Hunt, is an attorney who operates a company that helps parents with school options. She’s also the daughter of former four-term NC Gov. Jim Hunt.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at huntforhousenc.com.
The Rock Star Candidates
19. NC-H62 - Guilford County (Suburban Greensboro), D-10
20. NC-H74 - Forsyth County (Suburban Winston-Salem), D-10
NC House Districts 62 and 74, which neighbor each other in the suburbs of Greensboro and Winston-Salem, have remarkably similar profiles. Roy Cooper lost both districts, as currently drawn, by about 10 points in 2016. Democrats have fielded outstanding candidates in both districts who were drawn to run for public office for the first time in 2018 to fight for North Carolina's future. Both candidates have been excellent fundraisers, entering the final four months of their campaigns with more money in the bank than their opponents. And 2018 primary turnout in both districts was far more Democratic-leaning than 2014 primary turnout—about a 30-point swing in NC-H74 and a 40-point swing in NC-H62!
Martha Shafer, the Democratic candidate in NC-H62, has spent her entire career working in health care. A retired executive at Cone Health who previously served as a vice president at Women’s Hospital, she has reportedly raised almost 10 times more than her opponent.
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at https://marthashafer.com.
Terri LeGrand, a financial aid administrator at Wake Forest University who is also an attorney, is the Democratic candidate in NC-H74. She told the Associated Press: “The current leadership in Raleigh has had the wrong priorities on lowering taxes, instead of investing in the future.”
Sign up to volunteer or make a donation at terrilegrand.org.
Learn more about how we determined which districts are flippable and how Roy Cooper and Hillary Clinton performed in each.
The good news here is that there are strategic targets across the state, including many areas with competitive races for both the NC House and NC Senate. The great news? We don’t need to change anyone’s mind to win big in 2018; we just need to get Democratic voters (registered Dems and left-leaning independents) to the polls. We need boots on the ground across the state – folks connecting with and encouraging voters to make their voices heard at the polls.
A major part of FLIP NC’s mission is supporting grassroots groups across the state that are eager to work on elections in their local areas. From Asheville to Charlotte to Greensboro to the Outer Banks, we’re hearing from many grassroots groups ready to work on 2018 elections.
If your group would like to work on elections in 2018, let’s connect! You can reach us via email, Facebook, or Twitter. We can provide the support you need to start, build and sustain your efforts. We’ll help to identify the best places to work; provide training, materials, walk sheets and call lists; help to lead your first canvass; and be there with ongoing support. And check out our Toolkit, a comprehensive guide to strategic voter engagement in North Carolina.
This coalition is strong, and it’s growing. Join us, and let’s get to work!