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Mike Clampitt wins back N.C. House seat from Joe Sam Queen

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Mike Clampitt (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

In North Carolina, the results came in fairly quickly in the race for the state's 119th House District. Republican Mike Clampitt beat Democratic incumbent Joe Sam Queen. These two have battled multiple times for the seat, taking turns serving the mountains.

This is the fifth time Joe Sam Queen and Mike Clampitt have gone up against each in North Carolina's 119th District. Clampitt will be heading back to Raleigh.

“I am very pleasantly surprised,” Clampitt says.

Democrat Queen lost re-election.

“I want to say I’m disappointed for sure,” he says.

Clampitt gives partial credit for his win to a Trump coat-tail effect. He says he's committed to working with a DWI task force. He wants to secure more opportunities for drug rehabilitation, and see more money funneled from the court system into more schools.

“One thing I’m looking at for sure is the fines and forfeitures that go to the current school systems, but aren't being shared with charter schools,” says Clampitt.

For the past two years Queen had also championed education, high speed internet and expanded Medicaid.

“I'll continue to help in any way I can to see those goals achieved,” Queen says. “I want to thank everybody who I’ve got to serve.”

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Western Carolina University political analyst Chris Cooper says the Trump agenda is popular in the 119th, encompassing Swain, Jackson and part of Haywood counties. Jackson, Cooper says, played a big role this election.

“It swung a good bit farther right in 2020 than it has in the last few cycles and Mike Clampitt was the beneficiary of that,” he says.

Clampitt will serve in a Republican majority General Assembly. Key lawmakers spoke Wednesday in Raleigh.

“Not only did we maintain the majority we actually added four seats to that at this point having 69 seats,” says House Speaker Tim Moore.

Political power in North Carolina is divided with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper winning re-election.

“Although the Republicans again increased their share of those seats, they didn't move into the super majority where they could override the Governor's veto,” says Chris Cooper.

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Chris Cooper says the next two years are likely to look like the previous two.

Both politicians acknowledge there must be keen focus now on the pandemic.

“I’m hoping that he will see the good and the need for having our economy to return to somewhat normalcy,” says Clampitt.

“We certainly need assistance at the state level to pull out of this recession and pandemic,” Queen says.

Clampitt will be inaugurated in January.

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