Last month, we predicted a quiet Democratic Primary in NC Senate 19 unless one of the candidates threw a punch. Well an uppercut has been thrown, and like everything in politics at this moment, it’s tied to President Trump. Ed Donaldson, who has thus far run a minimal campaign, went after Kirk deViere’s past in the following mailer to Democratic voters:
Donaldson’s attack is effective for multiple reasons:
“One of us” is a loaded phrase. It’s used all the time in politics when a candidate wants to depict his/her opponent as someone who doesn’t share the values of the voters of a particular area. One of Donaldson’s strengths in this race is his history in the Fayetteville community. He’s attempting to paint deViere as a newcomer, both to Fayetteville and the Democratic Party.
DeViere has a “complex” history of party affiliation. He appears to have changed parties four times over the past fifteen years, landing back in the Democratic Party in time to run for mayor of Fayetteville in 2017. According to Donaldson, during deViere’s time out of the party he gave to Republicans Paul Ryan and Richard Hudson, furthering Trump’s agenda. At this particular point of political time, any tie with Trump and Republicans in Washington is an albatross around a Democrat’s neck, especially in a primary.
It’s also important to note the underlying theme of this ad. We have two white men in a relatively “purple” state-senate district in the South fighting over which one is the “real” Democrat. It’s a testament to a change in our political climate in response to Trump’s time in office. This type of ad was not run in, say 2010, when the tea party was hitting stride and a red-wave was building in response to Obama’s election.
The winner of this primary has a near-perfect opportunity to ride a national wave and beat incumbent Republican Wesley Meredith in November. Time will tell whether deViere’s past ties to the Republican party will cost him that opportunity.