Gov. Roy Cooper has a plan: an ambitious, multimillion-dollar, multiyear effort to knock Republicans out of the state capital.
Politico Magazine wrote about the plan in an article that was released today.
“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.”
Politico writes that an effort with that kind of funding and focus is unprecedented, and national Democrats are paying attention.
With an eye on the 2018 election cycle, Cooper’s efforts are particularly poignant given that next week a federal court hearing is scheduled to determine what will happen with the state’s outdated unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered State House and Senate maps. A three-judge panel will decide what timeline lawmakers have to redraw such maps and whether there will be a special election held to remedy the constitutional violations.
“Cooper is coordinating closely on mechanics and messaging with Eric Holder, who’s chairing the National Democratic Redistricting Committee,” the Politico article states. “At the state party’s Unity Dinner last weekend, Holder called North Carolina ‘ground zero in the fight to restore our democracy’ as the finishing touches were being put on the launch for what NDRC executive director Kelly Ward calls ‘a great model for Democratic governors across the country.'”
At the dinner, Cooper promised that if state Democrats take majorities in the House and Senate, they’ll move to a nonpartisan redistricting process with an independent commission to handle the drawing process.
“Winning a legislative majority is Cooper’s dream — optimistically, some North Carolina Democrats say there’s a chance of that by 2020,” Politico reports. “But for now, the goal is to break the GOP’s supermajority in the General Assembly, which has allowed North Carolina Republicans to essentially govern around Cooper, overriding vetoes, cutting funding and—in an example Democrats cite as pure proof of overreach—threatening to impeach the secretary of state.
“The state’s districts are so gerrymandered that when HB-2 was passed last year under the previous governor, North Carolina Democrats point out, 90 percent of the legislators who voted for it had won their previous race by double digits, if they drew an opponent at all. ‘They have complete confidence in their absolute authority,’ says Morgan Jackson, the top Democratic strategist in the state who is advising Cooper on Break the Majority.”
You can read the full article, which profiles Cooper and even touches on the possibility of a presidential run, here.