CHANGES IN THE LEGISLATURE

Paul Fogleman,

For almost a dozen legislators, changes that were blowing in the wind prior to the primary elections became a gale force when voters turned out Tuesday.

Five Republican lawmakers will not return after November. Rep. Justin Burr, who has led the fight to implement major changes in the state judiciary, lost to pharmacist Wayne Sasser. Lawyers were opposed to Burr’s concept which would have legislators electing judges. Sasser’s win was decisive.

Sen. David Curtis, Lincoln County optometrist, also was defeated. Eye doctors spent over $100,000 to oppose Curtis who had introduced a bill to let optometrists perform some procedures restricted to ophthalmologists. Sen. Dan Barrett, a Davie County accountant once active in the Carolina Hosiery Association, was defeated by Sen. Joyce Krawiec, another incumbent. Rep. Beverly Boswell who made controversial posts about students in the gun control movement was defeated by Dare County commissioner Bobby Hanig in the GOP primary. And Charlotte dentist Robert Rucho, a former powerful Senate Rules Committee chairman, failed in his bid to make a comeback in an Iredell County district.

Three so-called firebrand House members—George Cleveland of Onslow, Michael Speciale of Craven and Larry Pittman—garnered enough support from GOP most conservative voters to survive for the November election.

Two Mecklenburg Democrats, Sen. Joel Ford and Rep. Rodney Moore, were ousted Tuesday as was Rep. Duane Hall of Wake County who was accused of molesting women.

Rep. Bob Steinberg of Elizabeth City won the GOP nominate for the Senate First District seat held by retiring Bill Cook. Steinberg’s opponent had been backed by well-known Republicans, including Sen. Harry Brown of Onslow, a senior budget writer.

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