2020 Election

WUNCPolitics Podcast
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Among the political disputes playing out in North Carolina these days is how best to hold elections this November. 

There are safety concerns for casting ballots in person, and financial considerations for elections officials expecting a significantly larger contingent wanting to vote by mail because of the coronavirus. 

Author David Daley joins the WUNC Politics Podcast to talk about the perils for democracy during a pandemic. And he discusses his 2016 book about gerrymandering, "Ratf**ed". 
 


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Gov. Roy Cooper ordered North Carolinians to stay at home for thirty days starting 5 p.m. Monday, March 30. Healthcare providers worried about being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients cheered his decision. Businesses not necessarily. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers this week began meeting, telephonically, to consider things like how to provide tax relief and get money to all the people who are suddenly out of work because of the coronavirus crisis. 

From a safe social distance, Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation, weigh in. 
 


The State Board of Elections on Thursday asked legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper to make it easier for people to vote absentee by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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It's been three weeks since Super Tuesday. Dozens of winners in federal, state, and local races were celebrating that night. But the vast majority of candidates who were on North Carolina's packed primary ballots lost. 

Greg Gebhardt is an Iraq war veteran, once a staffer for powerful state House Rep. David Lewis, and father of three. 

He spent months traversing the state, raising and spending money to improve his name recognition in the crowded race to be the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor.

But he came up short. And losing, he says, is a lonely place. 
 


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Presidential primary voters in North Carolina gave Joe Biden a decisive win on Super Tuesday after he'd been lagging in recent polls. 

The primaries also confirmed that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will face off against Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in the general election. 

In previous races, Forest's campaigns have benefited from insurance tycoon Greg Lindberg's big dollar contributions. A federal jury found Lindberg guilty this week of attempting to bribe the state insurance commissioner. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch discuss the diversity — or lack thereof — of the candidates who will be on the November ballot and whether Forest should disavow Lindberg's money now. 


Russia's trolling specialists have evolved their disinformation and agitation techniques to become subtler and tougher to track, according to new research unveiled on Thursday.

A cache of Instagram posts captured by researchers showed that the Russians were "better at impersonating candidates" and that influence-mongers "have moved away from creating their own fake advocacy groups to mimicking and appropriating the names of actual American groups," wrote Young Mie Kim, a University of Wisconsin professor who analyzed the material with her team.

A map of North Carolina showing which counties went for former Vice President Joe Biden and which went for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
North Carolina State Board of Elections

Super Tuesday narrowed the Democratic presidential field to a race between two men: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The majority of Democratic North Carolinians cast their ballots for Biden, giving him the state and adding fuel to his comeback after a landslide win in the South Carolina primary. And today former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Biden.

This is the total number of registered voters in North Carolina. Among these voters approximately 2.5 million are registered Democrats, more than 2 million are registered Republicans, and just about 2.3 million are unaffiliated. There are about half a million more registered women than men. Of the state’s 100 counties, Wake has the most registered voters (751,000). Mecklenburg has the second most at approximately 745,000.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated at 7:30 p.m. 

President Donald Trump lobbed fresh criticism at the Democratic presidential field Monday as he made an appearance in North Carolina to rev up his supporters on the eve of Super Tuesday's big round of primaries.

In North Carolina's 2016 primaries, about a third of voters cast ballots early, with the remaining two-thirds turning out on election day.

"If that pattern holds, we could be talking about a million registered voters participating on Tuesday.  That would be pretty substantial," said Michael Bitzer, professor of political science at Catawba College, noting that North Carolinians cast just under 800,000 early votes by absentee ballot and at one-stop polling sites this year. There are more than 6.9 million registered voters in the state.

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A two-for this week, recorded at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill in front of a live audience. 

Since the last census a decade ago, urban areas in the state have gained the population and the power. Patrick Woodie, head of the NC Rural Center, explains the push for rural broadband, Medicaid expansion, and for every last North Carolinian to be counted in 2020. 

Then, our WUNCPolitics Podcast regulars on the left and the right — Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation — discuss the crowded races on the Super Tuesday primary ballot ... besides the Democratic presidential contest. 


Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar greets the crowd ahead of her panel discussion in Greensboro, N.C. Thursday.
Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar campaigned in North Carolina for the first time on Thursday.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper is running for re-election this year and, with more than $8 million raised and a little known challenger who has raised just over $1,500, he is highly likely to win his Democratic primary. The more significant contest is on the GOP side, between Lt. Gov. Dan Forest or State Rep. Holly Grange.

Fayetteville State University's marching band kicks off the early vote event with President Bill Clinton at the university in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Rishika Dugyala / Medill News Service

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the leader in the early delegate count for the Democratic nomination, is leading the return of presidential candidates to North Carolina as days dwindle before Tuesday's primary.

Leoneda Inge / WUNC

More than 1 million North Carolina residents have registered, or re-registered, to vote since the 2016 election. A lot of the new voters are young - and are more than twice as likely to identify as Latinx or Asian than in previous elections.

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The insurance tycoon accused of trying to bribe the state insurance commissioner with $2 million in campaign donations went on trial this week. 

And a new poll came out showing Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, and Joe Biden essentially tied in North Carolina as we barrel toward Super Tuesday. 

Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch and Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation review all that news and mull whether the North Carolina House Speaker would be a good chancellor for East Carolina University. 
 


The Making Young Voters book cover
Courtesy of Sunshine Hillygus


What keeps youth voters from the polls? The longstanding assumption is that the under-30 electorate just does not care about that part of the political process. But a new book argues against that premise. 

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Jim Blaine is an unapologetic and self-identified political hack. He is also one of the most respected political operatives in North Carolina. He was chief of staff to the Republican state senate leader before starting his own consulting company in 2018. 

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Blaine discusses his personal political evolution, why Bernie Sanders makes him trepidatious, and why Republicans should be more worried about the dark horse in North Carolina's Democratic senate primary. 

 


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A judge this week reversed a settlement between the UNC System and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, making the fate of the mangled Silent Sam statue again uncertain. 

The state superintendent, who's campaigning for lieutentant governor, blasted 540,000 text messages to parents and educators voicing his opposition to Common Core and soliciting responses to an online survey. 

And, Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg returned to North Carolina as they're rising in the polls. 

Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation process the developments. 


 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

President Donald Trump is visiting North Carolina the night before next month's primary elections.

Bloomberg Makes Pitch To NC Voters

Feb 13, 2020
Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg surrounded by a crowd.
Paul Garber / WFDD

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is making appearances across North Carolina to mark the start of early voting for the Super Tuesday primary.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

North Carolina's primary elections are heating up with presidential candidates and their surrogates visiting as early in-person voting begins.

Democratic presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg campaigned in North Carolina on January 3, 2020
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

A meeting with nearly 80 black pastors in Detroit. A speech before a black Democratic organization in Montgomery. A rally at a historically black university. A tour of Martin Luther King Jr.'s church. An early voting kickoff at an African American museum. All in the past two weeks.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has suffered back-to-back poor showings in the first two states to vote in the Democratic primary, and there are now serious questions about whether his "electability" argument is still plausible.

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Morgan Jackson has been a Democratic political tactician in North Carolina for more than 20 years. He is one of Gov. Roy Cooper's closest advisers.

He doesn't plan on sleeping much in 2020, and he might skip dinner. 

On this edition of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Jackson explains what's keeping him so busy this election season and why he thinks the Tar Heel State should have a larger role in the national primary process.

  


Caroline Amenabar / NPR

Sen. Bernie Sanders won narrowly, but can he expand his base? Pete Buttigieg did well, but in another largely white state. And the story of the night was Sen. Amy Klobuckar's third-place finish.

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Madeline Gray / For WUNC

If U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham is heading to the top of the primary mountain in a climate-controlled gondola, then Erica Smith, his main competitor for the Democratic nomination, is trudging to the summit, through a thicket, with one of those large walking sticks.

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Problems with the Iowa Caucuses dominate discussion about the Democratic presidential contest ahead of the New Hampshire primary. And in North Carolina, we get a look at the candidates' campaign finance reports.

Becki Gray  of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch dissect the presidential race and campaign fundraising.

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U.S Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer purportedly imagined a Democrat would have to lock himself in a "windowless basement" and fundraise nonstop to beat incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina. But, Cal Cunningham's campaign office has plenty of natural light. 

Cunningham got the stamp of approval from the DSCC's national recruiters. His primary campaign has benefitted from lots of outside money, including millions from VoteVets. Though the candidate wants to see an end to dark money. 

On this edition of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Cunningham discusses the money in politics, who's supporting him, and why he should be North Carolina's next senator. 
 


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While U.S. senators (and our airwaves) were occupied with an impeachment trial, former Vice President Joe Biden picked up a couple of endorsements from notable North Carolinians. 

Becki Gray  of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch weigh in on the questions of witnesses and impeachable offenses and the significance of endorsements these days. 


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