WHERE THINGS STAND IN NORTH CAROLINA TODAY
Few states have felt the burdens of Republican governance as harshly as North Carolina the past ten years, particularly via their once-diabolically gerrymandered State Legislature. And yet despite that GOP chicanery, North Carolina has also experienced instances of hope and justice in recent years. And the political forces of good and evil will come to a decade-long head this November.
Since 2016, North Carolina has been a hotbed of political activity. The 2018 election results were mixed, and many of the more disappointing results were due to the aforementioned gerrymandering.
Democrats were unable to flip a single Congressional seat despite the House wave that brought them 40 seats nationwide (although they came close in the now-infamous 9th Congressional District race which saw rampant Republican voter fraud).
Conversely, Democrats were able to flip 6 North Carolina State Senate seats and 10 North Carolina State House seats, ending the Republican veto-proof supermajority in both chambers, but still coming up short in terms of flipping those chambers altogether.
But a big win in the North Carolina State Supreme Court race in 2018 led to two consequential rulings: The Republican gerrymanders of both the State Legislature and the state’s Congressional Districts were ordered to be more fairly redrawn in 2019, giving Democrats a real chance of picking up seats in 2020.
But that only skims the surface of why North Carolina is so important this year.
REASON #1 – WINNING 15 ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES
Truthfully, the top four items listed in this post could be interchangeable as the #1 reason, since they are all so important in their own right. But since Donald Trump remains the existential threat to our country, flipping North Carolina’s Electoral Votes is the top priority.
We know from 2016 that plans go awry. If we somehow lose a state like Wisconsin, North Carolina would make a great ‘Plan B’ to get us over the finish line.
REASON #2 – DEFEATING THOM TILLIS
Assuming that Joe Biden wins the Presidency and Doug Jones loses his Senate seat in Alabama, Democrats will need to flip *4* Senate seats to take back the chamber.
The North Carolina Senate race could be that 4th seat.
Republican Thom Tillis is not a popular Senator. He regularly ranks lowest amongst Senators in terms of approval among their own constituents, he’s only served for one term, his 2014 victory was shallow despite the Republican wave election that year, and to this day one would be hard-pressed to find a North Carolinian who truly likes him.
But we can end North Carolina’s embarrassment by electing a fine Democrat in Cal Cunningham to replace him. Cal will be a Senator that North Carolina can be proud of again.
REASON #3 – FLIPPING THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE LEGISLATURE
The importance of flipping both chambers of the North Carolina State Legislature in 2020 cannot be overstated.
If we flip both chambers, it will be the Democrats who have full control over the next round of State Legislative and Congressional redistricting.
And if we flip both chambers and keep the Governorship, Democrats can pass Medicaid expansion for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians in need.
All *50* North Carolina State Senate seats are up for election in 2020. Democrats need a net gain of *5* of those seats in order to take control of the chamber. Per FLIP NC, the best targets are Districts 1,11, 18, 31, and 39. Others that are flippable based on the new maps include Districts 7, 13, 24, and 25.
All *120* North Carolina State House seats are up for election in 2020. Democrats need a net gain of *6* of those seats in order to take control of the chamber. Per FLIP NC, the best targets are Districts 1, 9, 12, 20, 45, 51, 59, 63, 74, 82, and 83.
REASON #4 – RE-ELECTING ROY COOPER AS GOVERNOR
Roy Cooper’s election win was a rare bright spot for Democrats in 2016. And it is vital that he remains Governor, especially if we take control of the State Legislature. A Democratic ‘trifecta’ in North Carolina would set the stage for a decade of growth and progress that the people of North Carolina desperately need. And as mentioned above, it would all but guarantee the state’s expansion of Medicaid and save countless lives.
REASON #5 – FLIPPING THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP
Fun Fact: North Carolina does not elect their Governors and Lieutenant Governors on the same ticket. These races are decided in separate elections.
Right now the Democratic Governor has a Republican Lieutenant Governor, and that current Lt. Governor Dan Forest is now the Republican candidate for Governor, which makes this an open seat.
Once we guarantee Roy Cooper’s 2nd term as North Carolina Governor, we also must guarantee that a Democrat becomes his Lieutenant Governor in case of any circumstances in which Gov. Cooper cannot carry out his term.
Further, the Lieutenant Governor also serves as the President of the North Carolina State Senate. And if that chamber is close or tied, a Democrat’s presence could make a significant difference.
The Democratic candidate is Yvonne Lewis Holley and she needs our support.
REASON #6 – FLIPPING CONGRESSIONAL SEATS
Here is where we start with great news:
Thanks to the aforementioned court-ordered redistricting, Democrats are near-guaranteed to flip *2* Congressional seats: North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District and North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District.
In addition, 2 other races are also considered flippable by election experts.
But keep in mind that these might not be the only flippable seats. This is a potential wave election with newly-drawn districts. We are talking about the ultimate wild-card scenario, so anything can happen.
REASON #7 – WINNING OTHER STATE GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
There is a slew of State Government elections beyond just the Governor and Lieutenant Governor races. We have to win everywhere.
Here are the races and their Democratic candidates:
Attorney General – Incumbent Josh Stein
Secretary of State – Incumbent Elaine Marshall
Treasurer – Ronnie Chatterji
Superintendent of Public Instruction – Jen Mangrum
State Auditor – Beth Wood
Commissioner of Agriculture – Jennifer Austin Wadsworth
Commissioner of Labor – Jessica Holmes
Commissioner of Insurance – Wayne Goodwin
REASON #8 – 100% CONTROL OF THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE SUPREME COURT
Stay with me here.
There are *7* seats on the North Carolina State Supreme Court, made up of the Chief Justice and 6 Associate Justices. *3* of those seats are up for election in 2020. They feature 2 Democratic incumbents (Cheri Beasley – Chief Justice, Mark Davis – Seat 4) and 1 Republican incumbent (Paul Newby – Seat 2).
Here is where it gets tricky: Republican Paul Newby is leaving Seat 2 in order to challenge Democrat Cheri Beasley for the Chief Justice position. Democrat Lucy Inman is running to replace Paul Newby in Seat 2. And Incumbent Democrat Mark Davis is running for another term in Seat 4.
Make sense? No? That’s okay. Because here’s what matters:
If incumbent Democratic Chief Justice Cheri Beasley defeats Paul Newby and Democrats Lucy Inman and Mark Davis win their elections for Seats 2 and 4, Democratic Justices will occupy ALL 7 SEATS ON THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE SUPREME COURT!
Thank you for taking the time to read about why North Carolina is so important this year.
Keep in mind that these are not the only reasons to Focus on North Carolina this year. There will be a number of other local elections worth your time and attention as well.
If you’d like to help Focus on North Carolina, please sign up HERE for the DemCast “Focus14” North Carolina effort.
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