July 19, 2017/Press

ICYMI Break the Majority Unites Democrats to Retake N.C. Legislature

Yesterday, Governor Cooper and the NCDP announced a new partnership, Break the Majority, to invest in key state-level elections to break the unconstitutionally-elected Republican supermajority in the General Assembly.

AP: Democrats mobilize around campaign to retake N.C. legislature
By Gary Robertson
July 18, 2017

North Carolina Democrats are organizing quickly around their goal of retaking the Republican-controlled legislature thanks to the person who’d benefit the most — Gov. Roy Cooper.

Cooper and the state Democratic Party announced an initiative Tuesday to win majorities in the House and Senate by the close of the 2020 elections, right before the next full round of redistricting.

The governor already has raised more than $1 million for the “Break the Majority ” effort, according to party chairman Wayne Goodwin, who said in an interview that the goal is to raise millions more.

It’s not surprising for a sitting North Carolina governor to raise money for party activities or candidates, but Goodwin said Cooper is going a step further by using his “political capital to embolden and strength the operations and financial resources of the party.”

Goodwin said the party has hired the largest research and communications team he can recall. Workers will help with candidate recruitment, fundraising and creating a unified message Democrats believe will result in more seats.

“We need to restore common sense and balance in our General Assembly and elect lawmakers who will fight for the working and middle class, for public education, and for a forward-looking and inclusive state,” Cooper said in a release Tuesday.

The next scheduled election is in November 2018, but the Democrats’ first test could come sooner because of federal court rulings throwing out nearly 30 House and Senate districts as illegal racial gerrymanders. Federal judges haven’t yet decided whether a special election should be held before next spring under new maps that will be drawn by Republican legislative leaders.

Democrats only need three additional House seats or six Senate seats to end the GOP’s veto-proof majority and give Cooper more leverage over Republican leaders, who have put its conservative mark on taxes, education and social issues. Tuesday’s announcement marks “the first of many steps to have enough Democrats to sustain vetoes by Gov. Cooper,” Goodwin said.

Gerrymandering is a key element of the Democratic message, which says unconstitutional maps are to blame for Republican “laws that take us backward,” according to the Break the Majority website.

Speaking to Democratic activists last weekend, Cooper promised the power to draw legislative and congressional maps would be shifted from the legislature to an independent, nonpartisan commission if the party wins General Assembly majorities in 2020.

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WRAL: Cooper leading charge to break GOP grip on legislature
By Cullen Browder
July 18, 2017

Republicans changed the political landscape in North Carolina when they took control of the state legislature in 2010. Now, Gov. Roy Cooper and the state Democratic Party are plotting to chip away at that GOP stranglehold.

Cooper and Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin on Tuesday announced their “Break the Majority” effort that combines recruiting Democratic candidates for state House and state Senate seats in the 2018 elections and raising money to pump into their campaigns.

The governor has already raised $1 million toward the effort and plans to raise millions more over the next year.

“Until I get some leverage in the General Assembly, I can’t get the things done in education, in economic development. I can’t do as much to stop this social conservative legislation that makes us embarrassed as a state and doesn’t truly reflect who we are as North Carolinians,” Cooper told national political publication Politico.

With veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate, Republican lawmakers have been able to govern without input from Cooper since he took office in January, overriding his vetoes on the state budget, overhauls of the state Court of Appeals and the State Board of Elections and legislation allowing landfills to spray waste liquids into the air.

Goodwin said Cooper’s involvement so early in the election cycle separates Break the Majority from past Democratic organizing efforts.

“This is the first time the Democrats, since 2010, have had a campaign apparatus that will be able to compete with the (Senate) president pro tem and the speaker of the House,” Democratic consultant Brad Crone agreed.

With no statewide races next year, however, the real test for Democrats will be motivating voters to go the polls.

Goodwin said he’s encouraged by the fact that 6,000 new volunteers showed up at recent Democratic precinct meetings.

“People are excited. They’re angry. They’ve got all kinds of emotions coursing through their veins, and they want to make things happen,” he said.

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