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Bell reelected NC House majority leader

RALEIGH — After gaining ground in the midterm elections, Republican state legislators rewarded their top leaders with a vote of confidence Friday. 

John Bell

The N.C. House Republican Caucus returned Speaker Tim Moore of Cleveland County to his post and unanimously reelected Rep. John Bell of Wayne County to serve as House majority leader, a position he’s held since 2016.

“I am very grateful to have the continued support and trust of my Republican colleagues to serve as their majority leader,” Bell said in a news release. “I am excited to get back to work and help lead our caucus to another successful legislative session that makes North Carolina an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

The GOP caucus reelected Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-Surry, as speaker pro tempore and returned Deputy Majority Leader Brenden Jones, R-Columbus, to his post. Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, will continue serving as House majority whip.

Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, received a promotion to Republican conference chair, replacing Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, who chose not to seek reelection in House District 45. Saine served as deputy conference chair from 2019-22.

“I am extraordinarily grateful to be selected unanimously by my colleagues to this position, and I look forward to getting to work immediately on continuing to grow our caucus,” Saine said in a separate Friday release. “I want to thank my predecessor Rep. John Szoka for his excellent stewardship of the caucus these last six years, and I wish to build on the strong foundation he laid.”

Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, was tapped to serve as joint caucus chair, a position tasked with coordinating legislative strategy between House and Senate Republicans.

Republicans will hold 71 of the House’s 120 seats when the General Assembly convenes its 2023-24 session next year. That’s one seat shy of the 72 needed for a supermajority vote to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes. The GOP could still win an override by convincing one Democrat to cross the aisle or by holding votes when absences give the party a supermajority among members present.

In the Senate, Republicans will control 30 of 50 seats, precisely the margin needed for a three-fifths majority. 

Bell represents House District 10, which was consolidated to the northern half of Wayne County under redrawn district maps that took effect for this year’s legislative elections. His district previously included portions of Wayne, Johnston and Greene counties.