It was a year for the history books in North Carolina politics.
From impeachment to must-watch elections, what follows is a look back at 2020 at the intersection of North Carolina and national politics.
The Impeachment Trial
It was a history making moment in a history making year that quickly became yesterday’s news: the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
For days, lawmakers gathered in the Senate chamber to listen to arguments from House Democrats and the president’s lawyers. In the end, Trump remained in office.
North Carolina’s two senators - both Republicans - joined almost all of their GOP colleagues in voting to acquit Trump on both counts: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Meadows Takes a Job at the White House
In December 2019, Mark Meadows announced he would not seek re-election. The staunch conservative and Trump ally on Capitol Hill was at the time serving as a congressman for North Carolina’s 11th District.
Meadows took over the post later that month, just as the coronavirus pandemic began to ramp up.
No story dominated 2020 more than the pandemic.
In March, North Carolina lawmakers on Capitol joined their colleagues in approving the CARES Act - pandemic relief aimed at stemming the economic blow of coronavirus restrictions.
That bill included checks for Americans, a boost to unemployment assistance, and help for small businesses in the form of Paycheck Protection Program loans, among other provisions.
But Congress then got caught in a months-long logjam over another round of coronavirus aid. A deal eventually came together with just days left in 2020.
U.S. Senate Race
The pandemic also reshaped a pivotal campaign year.
In North Carolina’s must-watch U.S. Senate match-up between incumbent Republican Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, some events moved online. A Zoom call became the new town hall.
The race, which was viewed as critical in determining which party controlled the Senate in the next Congress, ended with a raucous few weeks. Cunningham became embroiled in an extramarital scandal. Tillis tested positive for COVID-19.
Tillis ultimately proved victorious, securing another six years in the Senate.
U.S. House Elections
In the U.S. House, North Carolina’s updated congressional map paved the way for Democrats to flip two of the state’s congressional districts.
Democrats Kathy Manning and Deborah Ross were elected to represent Greensboro and Raleigh, respectively, replacing two outgoing Republicans who opted not to run in the newly blue districts.
On the Republican side of the aisle, Madison Cawthorn won Meadows’ old seat in the mountains in what was a times a rather ugly race. He becomes one of the youngest members of Congress in modern history.
The RNC Convention
The Queen City was set to host the Republican National Convention in August. However, Trump decided to move the event after COVID restrictions meant he could not have the large gathering he craved.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, cited safety concerns when advising the RNC that due to the outbreak, a full-scale event may not be possible.
The main events were briefly relocated to Jacksonville.
Ultimately, the RNC became mainly a made-for-TV affair with speeches given in a largely empty hall in Washington, D.C. A small procedural gathering still took place in Charlotte and Trump gave his acceptance speech from the White House lawn.
In the presidential race, North Carolina gave Joe Biden a boost just as his campaign was gaining its footing, helping put him on the path to securing the nomination.
On Super Tuesday, more than 40% of North Carolina’s Democratic primary voters picked Biden.
Fast-forward to November, North Carolina was a presidential battleground. Polls showed the race between Biden and Trump neck and neck.
RELATED: Battleground 2020: North Carolina
While President Trump repeatedly held events in North Carolina during the general election, Biden’s visits were infrequent.
Trump won the state by more than 70,000 votes. But his Tar Heel State victory was not enough to win him the keys to the White House for a second term.