November 25, 2022

For the first time, an NC political party can put more women than men in a legislative chamber

If Democrats win the state legislative races they think they can win next month, the party will have more women than men in the state Senate, Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

This would be a first, based on the archives of the General Assembly Library which date back to 1921.

“There are strong women running and challenging in these races,” Cooper said Tuesday, in a routine interview with reporters after her monthly State Council meeting.

Cooper also called on National Democrats to spend more money on Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley’s tight U.S. Senate race against Republican U.S. Representative Ted Budd. The governor pledged assistance to hurricane-ravaged areas in Florida, and he championed his party’s cause in the state’s upcoming legislative elections, saying the balance between a Republican-controlled General Assembly and a A Democratic governor able to veto GOP bills has “made this state great.”

Currently, there are 16 women, from any political party, in the 50-member state senate, a high point for the body. Ten of them are Democrats, the other six Republicans. The chamber has 12 Democratic men and 22 Republican men.

Democrats have nominated women in a number of key races this year, including Senator Sydney Batch and local attorney Mary Wills Bode in Wake County. If Democrats can win 21 seats — just enough to block a GOP supermajority in the Senate and protect Cooper’s veto — a dozen of those seats will be filled by women, according to Morgan Jackson, political consultant for Cooper and other top Democrats. from North Carolina.

If the Democrats win 22 seats, thirteen will be held by women.

“There has never been a caucus on either side of the aisle that has had a majority [of women] in both bedrooms,” Jackson said Tuesday.

Caucus directors for House and Senate Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other topics covered by Cooper on Tuesday:

“I hope they do,” said Cooper, who heads the Democratic Governors Association, giving him access to major party donors and making him a national decision-maker.

“His experience as a judge gives him an extraordinary perspective,” Cooper said of Beasley, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court. “I believe she has a good chance of winning the Senate seat, so I hope they invest as many resources as possible.”

In response, Budd campaign spokesman Jonathan Felts said in a text message that Democrats “wasted a lot of money in North Carolina in 14, 16 and 20, showing nothing for it.” Those years saw Republican victories, and North Carolina hasn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since the late Sen. Kay Hagan won in 2008.

“If they spend a lot here again this year, they still won’t have anything to show for,” Felts said.

Legislative races. Cooper acknowledged that Democrats are “on the defensive” in General Assembly races, with no chance of winning House or Senate majorities.

“The question is going to be whether there are enough elected Democrats in the legislature to sustain my veto and hold the line,” he said.

As he has done before, Cooper has vowed to veto Republican bills increasing abortion limits, as well as various bills on social issues that are more likely to emerge if voters give Republicans a supermajority.

“Hopefully we can maintain that number to maintain the balance that has made this state great,” Cooper said. “I think there’s no doubt that the push and pull, and the requirement to negotiate and work to reach consensus, is important. And if we have a Republican-majority legislature, that will largely be gone. »

Credit to Republicans? Asked if Legislative Republicans deserve some credit for North Carolina’s streak of success — the state was named the No. 1 state for business this summer by the CNBC news channel — Cooper said answered yes.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that all of us together in this state contributed to the success,” he said. “But the problem comes when you have a super-majority and their worst impulses can’t be stopped.”

Spokespersons for the GOP legislative leaders did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Local races. Cooper is a resident of Raleigh, so there are three bonds on his ballot this year: one for Wake County Schools, one for Wake Technical Community College, and a city-only referendum for a parks bond. Cooper was asked how he would vote on the three bonds and who he would vote for in the Wake County prosecutor’s race.

“I’m going to vote Democrats and I’m going to vote Bonds,” he said.

There have been tensions lately between Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, a Democrat, and other Democrats in the state as his office investigates Attorney General Josh Stein, who is expected to be the the party’s leading candidate for governor in 2024, on the veracity of a 2020 campaign announcement.

Hurricane Ian. Cooper said North Carolina has “logisticians” in Florida to respond to the devastation of Hurricane Ian, and there is a standing offer to send more help.

“They told us they had enough help now, in the next few weeks for search and rescue,” Cooper said. “But there’s no doubt that they will need some extra help because the teams have to get in and out of there. So we’ve given them some assistance that they know they can take advantage of.

At Tuesday’s State Council meeting, which is a monthly gathering of elected officials from across the state, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said Ian’s remains generated 888 insurance claims statewide. ‘State. About 375 of them were along the coast, and the hardest hit county was Brunswick, with 267 claims, he said.