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Clampitt holds on to NC-119

Rep. Clampitt will hold on to the 119 seat.
Rep. Clampitt will hold on to the 119 seat.

Incumbent Republican Mike Clampitt held onto his NC House of Representative seat 119.

Clampitt beat Democrat Al Platt with 54 percent of the vote and a majority in all three counties in the district.

“Well it’s a humbling experience to know that I went to a new county and had the support and the confidence of the people to support me like they did, along with the other two counties,” said Clampitt. “And I hope that they can live up to the expectations that they have of me and do the job they expect.”

District 119 is now made up of Swain, Jackson and Transylvania. New district maps enacted this year ended one of Western North Carolina’s longest-running electoral feuds.

For the past five elections, Clampitt traded that seat with Democrat Joe Sam Queen of Haywood County — making this one of the most competitive districts in the region. Because of the redistricting, Queen could no longer run and Platt, from Transylvania, took up the Democratic mantle.

Clampitt won 62 percent of the vote in Swain County, 53 percent in Jackson County and 52 percent in Transylvania County.

Platt, who hails from Transylvania County, was campaigning in Jackson County Tuesday hoping to meet voters on Election day.

“I feel like a whole lot of people have helped us. We’ve worked very hard. I don’t have any regrets about what we have failed to do or what we did. We’re going to leave it all on the field, as they say. And see what the voters say,” said Platt.

One of the biggest differences between Clampitt and Platt were their stances on abortion. Clampitt has made his position on abortion clear.

“Abortion is murder. I don’t care how your look at it. God created all of us and we all have one mother. We all have one mother. We are born by a mother, we are not born by a man but we need to take and saddle the same responsibility on the men that we are taking that allows the women the right to say that they have the right to have an abortion,” said Clampitt during a debate hosted by Western Carolina University, Blue Ridge Public Radio and Smoky Mountain News. “What about the father’s wish? What about him? Do we not care about what he wants to do? So I put that question back to you.”

Platt says he supports a woman’s right to choose.

“I'm absolutely not gonna get into a conversation about how many weeks this, how many weeks that I'm not a doctor and I'm not God, but, I believe that women should have the right to determine their reproductive health, and it's no one else's business,” Platt told BPR in October.

Every seat in North Carolina was important during the midterm because Republicans were so close to having a supermajority. The balance depended on flipping three seats in the North Carolina House of Representatives and two seats in the North Carolina Senate.

The state Senate Republicans appear to have won the supermajority while the House of Representatives fell short by one seat.

Clampitt says he’s most excited about the majority win by Republicans in the NC Supreme Court.

“The balancing act will be having the Supreme Court judges that we have now. And they will be able to take and make sure that legislation that has been passed is followed. And they will not be legislating from the bench as the previous judges have been doing,” said Clampitt.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.