President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate

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The President Pro Tempore (more commonly, "Pro-Tem") of the North Carolina Senate is the highest-ranking (internally elected) officer of one house of the North Carolina General Assembly. The President of the Senate is the Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, but the President Pro-Tem actually holds most of the power and presides in the absence of the Lt. Governor. He or she, a senior member of the party with a majority of seats, appoints senators to committees and also appoints certain members of state boards and commissions. Until 1868, North Carolina had no Lieutenant Governor, and the highest-ranking officer of the Senate was known as the Speaker. The Speaker of the Senate was next in line if the office of Governor became vacant. This occurred on two occasions.

Presidents Pro-Tem are elected at the beginning of each biennial session, in January of odd-numbered years. Between 1868 and 1992, it was rare for a President Pro-Tem to serve more than two terms. Marc Basnight, however, became arguably the most powerful North Carolina Senate leader in history and one of the state's most influential politicians when he served a record nearly 18 years as President Pro-Tem.

North Carolina Senate presiding officers[edit]


Presidents Pro Tempore[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ R. F. Armfield was at some point elected President pro tempore but then immediately became President of the Senate due to the vacancy in the office that resulted when Lt. Gov. Curtis Hooks Brogden succeeded to the governorship. (see NC Manual of 1913, p. 476, where Armfield is listed as president of the Senate)
  2. ^ Clarence Stone was elected President pro tempore when the 1963 legislature convened, but since President of the Senate (Lt. Governor) Harvey Cloyd Philpott had died, Stone immediately became President of the Senate. The Senate then elected Scott as President pro tem. (News & Observer blog comment by state legislative drafting director Gerry Cohen)