Raleigh – Ralph Northam grabbed headlines last night but a seismic shift happened in the Virginia House of Delegates, one that points to even more bright spots for North Carolina Democrats heading into next year.
Virginia Democrats began the night with the hope of breaking the GOP supermajority. They ended the night flipping 15 legislative seats – the same number of seats NC Dems need for a majority – and possibly the chamber.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected Republicans’ racist campaign, attempts to divide them, and policies that benefit the wealthy over the middle class:
- The GOP’s racist fear-mongering actually energized Democratic voters and alienated people of color. African-Americans make up under a fifth of the VA electorate; eight in 10 voted Democratic last night. In NC, African-Americans make up a slightly larger share (22%), pointing to even deeper loses for the GOP.
- Voters rejected policies that hurt the middle class, including GOP attempts to sabotage health care. Exit polls showed voters were highly motivated by health care. North Carolina has refused to expand Medicaid and GOP sued Cooper to stop him from expanding access.
The shift in the political battleground and electorate in Virginia mirrors potential shifts for North Carolina next year:
- Virginia saw a blue tide of support in suburbs similar to areas around Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro currently held by Republican legislators.
- College educated voter turnout was sky high and favored Democrats; six in 10 college graduates voted Democratic. NC has a similar and growing number of college educated voters, as 110,000 people – roughly the equivalent of High Point – move to NC every year.
All told, a similar groundswell is building in North Carolina. NCDP has invested in a year-round field program, sophisticated digital organizing tools and is recruiting candidates across the state to challenge once-safe Republicans in suburban and rural areas. Through NCDP and Governor Cooper’s unprecedented Break the Majority initiative, those candidates will have the professional campaign support and resources needed to break the Republican supermajority.
“Voters across the country rejected Republican’s underhanded campaign tactics, including their racist fear-mongering attacks, and their policies that hurt the middle class to help their GOP donors,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “While Republicans focus on a disastrous tax bill that raises taxes on the middle class, students, and homeowners to cut taxes on millionaires’ estates and big corporations moving jobs overseas, Democratic candidates across NC head into 2018 fighting for the middle class, for expanded access to affordable health care, and for their local communities.”