Democrats Surging in New NC Senate 19

Democrats are surging in early voting in the newly-modified 19th Senate District.  The potential for Democratic challenger Kirk deViere to take this seat from Republican Senate Whip, Wesley Meredith is growing each day.  Here’s a breakdown of all the voters, by voter registration:

Percentage of Senate 19 Electorate (By Party Registration)

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So far, registered Democrats are half of the early voting electorate in the new district.  This is driven in a large part by African Americans.  The tentacles that once captured African Americans in Fayetteville and combined them with Hoke County Democrats have been chopped off by the courts.

 

The result is a much cleaner district and surge in minority voters:

Percentage of Senate 19 Electorate (By Race)

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WHY THIS MATTERS:

The 19th Senate District has hosted some of the most expensive legislative races in North Carolina history.  Wesley Meredith raises and spends over a million dollars on a routine basis to keep the seat and he’s on pace this year:

The ironic thing?  The money may not make a difference.  I know, it surprised me too.  But, here’s why:  the Democratic candidate’s vote share in Senate 19 typically tracks the percentage of registered Democrats that make up the electorate.  19-final-e1541172970926.png

Here’s a chart of the Data:

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As you can see, registered Democrats look after their own in Cumberland County, even after the million-dollar barrage of negative advertising that Meredith throws their way every two years.  

On paper, it appears that Meredith beat George Tatum (2012), Billy Richardson (2014), and Toni Morris (2016) with a combination of Republican and Independent voters.   I’m not sure he can do that this year.

Registered Democrats are 49.6% of the early vote in District 19.

I’d call this a close race. 

Cash and Matthew 7:5 (Senate 19)

Wesley Meredith’s negative campaigning against challenger Kirk deViere is beyond ripe with hypocrisy.  In case you don’t live in the 19th District or don’t have a mailbox, TV or radio, here are the two major attacks Meredith has volleyed at deViere:

Attack 1:  DeViere is a “deadbeat” who didn’t pay his taxes.

Hypocrisy:  Meredith didn’t pay his taxes in 1993 and lied about it recently when questioned by a Fayetteville radio program.  When faced with the truth, he had this to say:

“It was a quarter century ago, I’d forgotten about it,” he said. “I went back and checked. It was paid off in under a year.”

DeViere also paid off the taxes his business owed, but that doesn’t matter to a hypocrite, so a hypocrite keeps calling his opponent a “tax deadbeat” in glossy ads.

Attack 2:  DeViere’s business was sued because he stiffed someone out of some money.

Hypocrisy:  In a story the News and Observer broke last night, it came to light that Meredith’s business was sued in 2015 because he hired someone with habitual DWI’s and no license and let him drive his company’s vehicle.  Like clockwork, Meredith’s employee drove drunk and severely hurt someone.  The lawsuit alleged Meredith let his employee sleep and drink alcohol on company property.  Meredith’s response?  There was none:

“The N&O could not reach Meredith despite attempts to reach him by phone, email and through the Republican Party. The N&O first emailed Meredith on Oct. 8”

Meredith’s pretty good at not taking questions from reporters about his past, and we’ve come to expect it.  In the end, when you have hundreds of thousands of more dollars than your opponent, you don’t have to answer for yourself because you can buy a bigger microphone, amplifier, or air-horn to drown-out and destroy the other guy.  You can even spend enough to cover the plank in your own eye.     

 

This one’s free.

 

2018 Free-For-All

The government of the United States is literally up for grabs this year.  If you think your vote doesn’t matter you may have been right at one time, but not in 2018.  This is a tweet from probability guru Nate Silver describing the competitive nature of Congressional races this year:

Here’s a follow-up explaining why this is occurring:

You can track these exact trends at the state level in North Carolina, with a sticking point:

1.  There have been multiple NC GOP retirements, especially in the NC House.

2.  NC Democrats are actually raising money this time, from internal and external sources.

3.  NC Democrats are running a candidate in almost every legislative race.

BUT…..

The National environment may be good enough for Democrats nationwide, but where does it stack up in North Carolina?  Can Democrats win in districts that were meant to be “safe” Republican seats thanks to gerrymandering?  I’m not so sure.  Remember, only a select few of these districts were significantly re-drawn to accommodate federal court orders.

On top of all this, we are more polarized than ever as a result of the national political scene and President Trump.  Trump’s NC approval rating consistently beats his national average.  Moreover, Trump will not let anyone sit this one out.  He’s firing up his base as he aggravates the daylights out of his opposition, and it’s showing up in the data.  We’ve seen a surge in the Republican early vote this year.  Democrats are not taking the huge early-vote leads they anticipated because Republicans are energized as well.

In sum, it’s a free for all in 2018, with a whole lot on the line across the board.  It’s chaotic right now, but therein lies the opportunity for Democrats.

There is still time for North Carolina Democrats, but this one is going to be close.  They better get out and vote!

Gender Gap Narrows In Cumberland Early Vote; Party Trends Look Stable

With several days of early voting under our belt and a higher-than-expected turnout, we have enough raw data to draw some preliminary conclusions about the 2018 electorate in Cumberland County.

Women are Under-Performing

I’ve written at length about a predicted surge in female voters this election.  I appear to be dead wrong after several days of early voting as the opposite has happened, at least in Cumberland County.  Here’s the breakdown:

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Here’s the same figures in a bar-chart:

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In 2016, with a female on the presidential ballot for the first time, women took a massive share of the vote in Cumberland County:  56.11%.  Men didn’t come close with 39.99%, and the result was was a 16-point gender gap.

This year, the vote is closer than it’s been in the past three major elections with men making a 5 point jump to 45.3% of the vote.  With women at 51.99%, the gap has closed to 6.7 points.  It will be interesting to see if this trend holds.  Needless to say, I’m surprised.  This will definitely affect local races.  Read this link as to how that might work.

Party Vote Seems Stable

Here’s a breakdown of the recent historical vote by party in Cumberland County:

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And a line graph of the same numbers:

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As you can tell, party voting has remained relatively stable over the past three elections.  While Democrats are enjoying a slight edge in the 2018 early vote, that is to be expected.  Democrats like early voting, especially on weekends.  If anything, I would expect Democrats to be doing better than they are in the 2018 early vote.  The current figures suggest that Republican voters in Cumberland County are rallying around their Commander in Chief with more enthusiasm than anyone predicted.  Perhaps the Kavanaugh nomination battle got men agitated.  We’ll see if this holds as election day nears.

Wrap-Up

Enthusiasm seems high across the board in Cumberland County.  Party trends are stable, and men are doing better than expected.

On that note, I received my first ad from Wesley Meredith yesterday.  All the others (pink glitter and what not) have been addressed to my wife.  This one argued that Kirk DeViere wanted to take away my right to hunt and fish because he was against one of the proposed constitutional amendments.  I assume the ad was targeted toward men.  Looking at early vote out of Cumberland, it’s not a bad strategy for Meredith to target guys as we don’t seem to be going down without a fight this year.

By the way, like DeViere, I’m against all of the amendments.  Still, I’ll probably go fishing this weekend.  Certain rights are inalienable.

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That’s my grandma on the New Bern waterfront as a young lady.  I wonder who she’d vote for.

 

 

Wesley Meredith and Women (Senate 19)

The race for the 19th Senate District in North Carolina has taken its long predicted turn for the worse.  Anyone who’s had the privilege of being in incumbent Wesley Meredith’s media market in the past four elections saw it coming.

District 19 has been un-gerrymandered by the federal courts and Democratic challenger Kirk deViere has a legitimate shot at beating the Republican party whip.  Money is pouring into this race, and Meredith is using the hundreds of thousands of dollars at his disposal to shore up the dam that has kept him in office for nearly a decade.

Before we go any further, let’s take a look back at where it all started, eight years ago.  Meredith was elected in 2010 in a brutal campaign that included a TV ad insinuating that Democrat Margaret Dixon was a prostitute.  The ad was so brutal that it made national news:

It’s highly unlikely Meredith wants the women of Cumberland County to remember this ad in 2018.  Times have changed.  This go round, Meredith’s advertisements are a bit more “shiny.”  He has attempted to paint Kirk deViere as a pretty boy, with the tag line “Looking Good” spoken by a female voice:

The latest mailer barely fits in your mailbox and has a smattering of pink glitter:

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The crab from Moana endorses this ad:

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In all seriousness, we’ve yet to receive a positive ad from Mr. Meredith this year.  He’s a bit obsessed with Mr. deViere it seems, but trends like this one from political scientist Michael Bitzer justify Meredith’s concerns:

Still, all of the glitter has me confused.  It’s not like Meredith doesn’t have a record to run on.  His party has been in charge of Raleigh the past eight years, and he’s the majority whip.  Voters either like the direction the state is headed, or they don’t.  But it’s clear from theses ads that Meredith isn’t going to bother.  It’s too easy to attack.  Why go through the trouble of defending an eight-year record in Raleigh if you can make fun of how someone dresses?

Perhaps this is a sign of the times: one of Donald Trump’s greatest political tools is the ability to project his own vulnerabilities onto others.  If you have a weakness, point it out in your opponent as loud as you can to take the attention off of yourself.  This tactic is often effective.  With that said, Meredith has a pile of unanswered questions about taxpayers paying his bills.  Like most men in power, he won’t ever have to answer them.

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I wonder what the women of District 19 think about all of this.   There’s only an election at stake.