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North Carolina Senate Democrats pick leadership for session

Democrats in North Carolina’s state Senate have returned four lawmakers to leadership positions for the upcoming session after the GOP defended its majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

The Democratic Caucus announced in a news release Tuesday that it had held a virtual meeting to elect its leadership, and each senator was chosen unanimously.

Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County was elected to a fourth term as Senate Democratic Leader. Sen. Jay Chaudhuri of Wake County was elected to a second term as Senate Democratic Caucus Whip.

Sen. Ben Clark, who represents Cumberland and Hoke counties, was elected to a third term as Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary. And Sen. Valerie Foushee, who represents Orange and Chatham counties, was appointed to a third term as Senate Democratic Caucus chair.

“I am excited by the confidence that this caucus has shown in my leadership,” Blue said in a statement. “Having added another Democratic seat to the Senate, we are now ready to get to work navigating the on-going pandemic and passing a bipartisan state budget that addresses our pressing needs.”

Democrats entered the Nov. 3 election hopeful that they could take over the House and Senate chambers for the first time in 10 years, but they fell short in each chamber. Republicans will hold 28 of 50 state Senate seats in January, one fewer than the previous two years. Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet Nov. 30 to choose their leadership, and Senate leader Phil Berger said he plans to seek to retain the chamber’s top leadership position that he’s held since 2011.

House Republicans have announced they will formally back Speaker Tim Moore to lead their chamber for another two years when the legislature reconvenes in January.

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