by WorldTribune Staff, November 27, 2017
Democrats are looking to make major gains in many state legislatures in 2018 and 2020.
“If Democrats do not make significant gains in the states in these two elections, Republicans will dominate another decennial round of redistricting that could place not only state legislatures but also the U.S. House out of reach until 2032,” The American Prospect noted in a report earlier this year.
North Carolina could be a bell-weather state for Democrats thanks to redrawn districts and a slew of retiring Republican incumbents. Democrats need to flip five NC House seats in the 2018 elections to break the GOP’s veto-proof majority.
“New, less-partisan districts, a political climate fueled by people’s frustration with Republican attempts to rig the system against the middle class, and strong Democratic challengers will make even the most gerrymandered Republican districts competitive,” North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard said in a statement.
North Carolina GOP political strategist Carter Wrenn said that “If you’re a Republican at this point, your wisest path is to assume the worst and get ready, and hope you weather the storm.”
Rep. Susan Martin, a Republican from Wilson who is a three-term member of NC House leadership, said she won’t seek a fourth term.
Republicans Ron Rabin (Harnett County), Chad Barefoot (Wake County), Bill Cook (Beaufort County), and Tommy Tucker (Union County) have all said they will not run for re-election.
Wrenn noted that Barefoot was drawn into a district with other incumbents, while Martin’s re-drawn district became harder to win.
Martin “was in a sort of swing district, and they tilted it the other way. So it’s more Democratic. It’s a pretty uphill fight for her to win,” Wrenn said.
In the Senate, Republican incumbent Cathy Dunn (Davidson County) also decided not to run for re-election.
Wrenn added that Democrats look to have a good shot at picking up the five seats to derail the GOP’s veto-proof majority in the NC House.
“Will it happen? Right now it seems to be happening,” Wrenn said. “A lot can happen between now and next November.”