Dem 51
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GOP 49
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North Carolina Is Probably in Play Now

The extremely gerrymandered Republican-dominated North Carolina state legislature has voted to ban most abortions after 12 weeks. Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) vetoed the bill but then the legislature overrode his veto. The thing that comes to mind here is: "Be careful what you wish for. You might get something much worse." Specifically, Cooper is term limited and there will be a big battle for the governor's mansion next year in North Carolina. The Democratic nominee is likely to be state AG Josh Stein, who has the backing of the entire Democratic establishment and, most importantly, the popular Cooper.

The Republican nomination will be determined by a primary, but the leading candidate is Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R-NC), even though former congressman Mark Walker threw his hat in the ring Saturday. The views Stein and Robinson have of abortion, which is probably going to be the top issue, couldn't be more different. Stein is pro-choice. Period. Robinson is on record with a few comments about abortion that, shall we say, don't align well with Stein's. For example, he once said: "These people that think that abortion, for expedience's sake, is the right answer, have just as much reprobate minds as the slave owners on the plantations." Robinson is Black and he thinks getting an abortion is like owning slaves. He once wrote on Facebook that then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo "pushes the satanic agenda of child sacrifice through abortion by claiming it advances women's 'rights.'" So abortion is on the satanic agenda of child sacrifice? What church does Robinson attend? Then again, he said that Margaret Sanger, who was a pioneer in birth control (not abortion) was a satanist involved in witchcraft. Clearly he is confusing her with former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. There's lots more where that came from. In addition, Robinson is far-right on everything and seems the most likely candidate to get Donald Trump's endorsement. So the gubernatorial race could be all about abortion, which would absolutely help Stein.

But there is more. North Carolina is a reddish-purple state that is on the cusp of becoming the next Georgia. Barack Obama won it in 2008. Since then, Republicans have won the presidential electors, but by small margins. Here are the results since 2008:

Year Democrat Dem pct Republican GOP pct GOP − Dem
2020 Joe Biden 48.59% Donald Trump 49.93% 1.34%
2016 Hillary Clinton 46.17% Donald Trump 49.83% 3.66%
2012 Barack Obama 48.35% Mitt Romney 50.39% 2.04%
2008 Barack Obama 49.70% John McCain 49.38% -0.32%

North Carolina was the closest state in the country in 2020 and will be a huge battleground in 2024. Abortion will play a massive role and that could help not only Stein, but Joe Biden as well. All Biden has to do is increase his net score by 1.35%. That could well be possible if abortion is the main issue, and is getting people to the polls who otherwise don't vote very often. In addition, people are streaming into the Research Triangle area due to the many tech and finance companies there, and those people tend to skew Democratic. The (red) western part of the state isn't growing as fast as the Triangle. So the combination of abortion and demographic change is going to put North Carolina right up there with Georgia as a enormous battleground. In case you are wondering, if Joe Biden (or other Democratic nominee) can hold the states that were decidedly blue last time, and can win North Carolina, then it will only take one among Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia to win the White House. (V)

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