North Carolina Democrats Hope to Erode Republican Grasp on Legislature

The North Carolina legislature historically has been dominated by Republicans, but times may be changing in a state known for extremely conservative lawmaking. While the Governor is a Democrat, the Republican supermajority in the legislature has pushed many laws past his veto over the last two years. One of the most notable laws devised by North Carolina Republicans imposed restrictions on bathroom access for transgender people, although this was repealed. Meanwhile, congressional districting plans that favor Republicans have been censured by courts as discriminatory against African-Americans.

The Democrat push involves candidates in every legislative district in the state, a rarity in a state where Republicans hold 75 of 120 seats in the House and 35 of 50 seats in the Senate. While Democrats likely cannot gain a majority in either chamber, they may gain the four seats in the House and the six seats in the Senate needed to end the Republican supermajority. This would allow Governor Roy Cooper to regain his veto power and move forward with redistricting reforms that would end the state’s notorious gerrymandering.

In response, some Republican candidates are moving toward the center on issues such as health care and education. Others, however, including some of the most notable politicians in the state, remain confident that no compromise will be needed. This concerns some voters, including those who are hoping for elected Republican politicians to distance themselves from the agenda of President Donald J. Trump. As the November elections draw closer, and pressure from Democrats mounts, Republicans may need to decide whether to stay the course or embrace more moderate positions.