There is a sea change coming to the state's highest court. Tuesday night's election results add up to a new Republican majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court, the first GOP-majority in six years.
Democratic Justice Sam Ervin IV lost to Republican Trey Allen and Republican Richard Dietz beat Democrat Lucy Inman. The results mean what was a 4 to 3 Democratic majority on the high court will now become a 5 to 2 Republican majority.
"People anticipate a sea change," said Andy Taylor, NC State Political Science professor. Just two years ago, Democrats held all but one of the seven seats on the high court. After last night, the Democrats will hold only two.
Hot-button issues constantly come before the Supreme Court: School funding to voter ID to power struggles between Governor Roy Cooper and Republicans in the General Assembly. Last night's result is advantage--GOP.
"The politics here really, really matter," Taylor says. "And I think a lot of people are anticipating a significant change in direction by the court."
Both parties dumped millions into attack ads proving how critically important Republicans and Democrats see the high court. Redistricting may be the biggest reason why. Last year, the court's Democratic majority overturned Republican-friendly election maps as unconstitutionally partisan.
"Now, (Republicans) are going to presumably have a more favorable court, which would be a majority Republican court. And that will have an effect," said Taylor.
Republicans at the Legislature already have plans to redraw election maps next year. The new Republican-led Supreme Court will have a big say in just how aggressive Republican lawmakers can be.