In 1988, Republican Jim Gardner was elected to gavel sessions led by a Democratic controlled legislature. They responded by stripping away much of the job's power, leading to the rise of Senate president pro tem Marc Basnight.
At a debate tonight on WUNC, Pittenger promised that he would help ensure GOP ideas were discussed in the Senate if he was elected. But with Basnight and Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand holding the parliamentary conch, that could prove tricky.
After the debate, Pittenger told Dome how he would operate.
He said that he would recognize more Republican legislators to speak on the floor, allowing them to make amendments. (Currently, some never get that chance.) To prevent those bills from being voted on, Rand would be forced to rule them out of order.
"Is he going to do that 20 times a day, four days a week?" he asked. "There is going to be a time when the iron-fisted control of the Senate is going to be so obvious. He's not going to have the coordinated effort of a lieutenant governor who's working on his behalf."
Pittenger said as a state senator he'd seen Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue stop debate to "get her marching orders" directly from Rand.