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Because he’s a Democrat who won in a state that Trump won and Republicans rule, Roy Cooper is getting national attention. Last month it was The New York Times. This week it’s Politico (“Can Roy Cooper Show Democrats How to Win Again?”), which proclaims:

“North Carolina’s governor is unveiling an audacious plan to oust his Republican rivals. Democrats hope to make it a national model.”

Edward-Isaac Dovere wrote:

“Already, Cooper has quietly banked $1 million for his new group, Break the Majority, and plans to raise several million more, along with recruiting candidates and then campaigning for them in state Senate and General Assembly races. The money, being put into a new state Democratic Party account, will also cover salaries for what will effectively be a new campaign committee, with a dedicated communications director, research director, several junior staffers and cash for everything from field organizers to ads.

“Given the cutthroat nature of politics in North Carolina, Cooper’s power play is especially audacious: Though there have been previous independent expenditures and coordinated campaigns in the state and beyond, an effort with this kind of focus and funding is unprecedented.”

Less noticed, no doubt, is this analysis of the Cooper-Pat McCrory race (“Caught Between Coalitions: An Eisenhower Republican in the Tar Heel State”) by Miles Coleman at Decision Desk HQ, who writes:

“During the previous three Gubernatorial campaigns, one constant has been former Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory’s stylistic transformation was just as interesting as the shifting internal politics of his state. Running initially as an ‘Eisenhower Republican’ with an independent streak, by the end of his tenure, he was seen as a partisan who became an unlikely champion of social conservatives.

“Out of office after a single term, McCrory was essentially caught between two coalitions. In his 2008 campaign, he came out on the losing side to a Democrat who was, from an electoral perspective, the last of her kind; she was able to rally eastern North Carolinians back to the party of Jackson in a way that hasn’t since been replicated. Running as an incumbent in 2016, McCrory was undone by a challenger who won, in large part, due to his strength with the state’s more ascendant suburban bloc.”

A tip of the TAP hat to pollster Harrison Hickman for passing this story along. He noted, “Nothing new but a lot of good maps,” including one that led Coleman to say this about North Carolina Democrats:

“At a more general level, the party needs to find ways to connect with rural voters. This last map is a good example of that. This is Cooper’s 2016 map compared to Obama’s in 2008; both were narrow Democratic wins – given the nationalization of local races, this may be the most relevant comparison.

“Though both won by similarly narrow margins, Cooper performed better than Obama in just 19 counties; most of which are urban and have a high concentration of voters with college degrees. If Democrats don’t tailor their message to go beyond these types of constituencies, they leave themselves little room for error in statewide races, and they will be hard pressed to make substantial gains in the legislature.”


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