Democrats won a majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court on Election Day, but at least one conservative group has floated the possibility of flipping it back to GOP control by quickly expanding the court by two seats, securing two more conservative picks before the end of lame-duck Gov. Pat McCrory's (R) term.
Republicans have largely avoided commenting on the matter, with one GOP legislative leader denying that plans to expand the nominally non-partisan court are in the works.
Though he has yet to concede the governor's race, it appears McCrory has lost his re-election bid and will leave office Jan. 7, 2017. He is trailing Democratic challenger state attorney general Roy Cooper by about 5,000 votes. The state Republican Party has asked for a recount in Durham County, and McCrory said last week that he would not concede the race until at least Nov. 18. Despite McCrory's apparent loss, Republicans maintained their supermajority in the state legislature.
McCrory's apparent defeat came at the same time that Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, a Democrat, defeated state Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds, a Republican, for a seat on the court, flipping the majority on the state's highest court from Republicans to Democrats. Elections for the state Supreme Court are not partisan, and justices are elected to eight year terms. But the governor appoints justices to fill vacancies on the court, and those justices would then be up for re-election during the next election for the general assembly, which takes place every two years.
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