NC Democrats: Rolling over, playing dead

The filling period for the 2010 elections ends next Friday.

There are 50 seats in NC Senate. So far, Democrats have not fielded a candidate in 18 of those districts.

If we're just going to give the GOP 18 seats (they only need 26 for a majority), then why have elections?

The NC House list is here. There are 120 seats in the NC House.

How many seats are Democrats going to give up without even fielding a candidate?

If you are a registered Democrat and have lived in one of these districts without a candidate for over a year, FILE FOR OFFICE.

If you don't live in one of these districts, find someone who does and have them file.

If this is truly an anti-incumbent year, then Democrats need to field candidates in GOP districts.

Enough playing dead.

House and Senate leadership: If you want to stay in leadership, field some candidates.


The number will get smaller

as the filing deadline draws near. Some, like State Senator Ellie Kinnaird (dem), have plans to file but just haven't done it yet.

But I agree, there is no reason to concede any ground. Especially during a redistricting year.

I hope the filing numbers improve

becuase the numbers are not encouraging.

Current balance of power:

Dems hold a 30-20 advantage in the Senate.
Dems hold a 68-52 advantage in the House.

Current filing numbers:
Senate: 13 unopposed Dems vs 16 unopposed Reps, plus 4 districts with no candidates filed - 9, 14, 15, 25.

House: 33 unopposed Dems vs 48 unopposed Reps, plus 2 districts with no candidates filed - 4, 19.

In total, Democrats hold 98 total seats in the current session, and 46 races with no GOP opposition (47%).

In contrast, Republicans hold 72 total seats in the current session, and 64 races with no Democratic opposition (89%).

At this point, Democrats appear to be ceding virtually all of the seats currently held by the GOP to them for another 2 years, especially in the House - 48 of 52 (92%).

Dems need to convert Howard Dean's 50 state strategy to a 100 county strategy and at least put up a fight. What does it say to voters when there is no Dem option on the ballot for important races like this?


The Cumberland County Exec. Comm. is voting to appoint an individual to this vacant House seat tonight, so that person will most likely file (and, if I may be so bold, win).


I used to feel the same way, but after working a few elections I understand why nobody wants to put their name on the ballot when they have no chance of winning. Running a serious campaign requires a personal sacrifice from the candidate, their family and supporters. Not to mention that you are going to have a very hard time raising money. The people who are big donors are no dummies and tend not to throw their money away on quixotic causes.

For example, here in Stanly County even after all of the campaigning done for the 2008 election, no Democrat polled more than 31% of the vote. From the top to the bottom of the ticket. With numbers like that is there any wonder why we can't get anyone to file for the Representative seat? Not to say that there isn't things that we could be doing to lay the groundwork for a challenger. And the candidates that run could be running more professional campaigns, but that is the topic for another posting.

This "conventional wisdom" is not wise at all

It is neither good politics nor good movement-making to sit out elections.

Something is only impossible until it is done.

Nobody thought some lesbian Democrat could win the New Hanover County senate seat (a GOP held seat for many elections) in 2004...until she did.

Further, even if you grant that a loss is a given this year (which I don't), why not lay the groundwork for the future?

Why not force a discussion of policy?

Why not counter unopposed lies and hypocrisy instead of just sitting on your hands?

Silence = Complicity

Find that quote about the silence of your friends.


Agreed, but . . .

the Democratic party leadership in NC is asleep at the switch. No succession planning, no deep cultivation of candidates that I can see, no strategy for the long term.

Having lost a local election myself, I wouldn't run again without a clear signal of strong party support, which in these days, appears to be very hard to imagine.

Missing the point

I agree with much of what you say, but my points are why we have unopposed races. Most people before entering a race want to feel that they have a reasonable chance of winning. Same for donating to or working for a candidate. There are better ways to force discussion of policy than to be buried in a 70 to 30% election loss. I commented on laying the groundwork in my post, please re-read it.

Just posted a comment on NC 06

Coble is going to have to give it up soon, he's 78. Why do we not even have a single person we can run? I'm so frustrated.

Here might be a reason, loftT

Here is the 6th Congressional District official Democratic Party website.

There is little-to-nothing there, actually and it just might be an indication of how weakly the democratic party in each of the counties making up that district are working to regain that long-held republican seat.

I do not want to come across as Mr. Critical on this and I am sure there are other reasons Coble has gone unopposed so many times. But, somewhere along the way, you would think that he could have had some serious challenges.

We have three excellent candidates currently on board to challenge Burrrrrr. They are doing so in large part because of both democratic party officials expressing support for each of them in addition to the large number of grass roots supporters that have talked them into running. The only real challenger Coble has that I can see is coming from inside his own party.

He's been challenged by Dems

in the last three elections, but he's got a pretty solid 2/3+ majority, so the word "challenge" might be a little over-dramatic. ;/

Serious challenges

Exactly, scharrison, like I said: "serious challengers". Is it possibly because of the make-up of that district, ala demographics? Or, maybe Coble's name recognition (isn't he of Coble Dairy fame or something?).

I liked that site that someone here offered up for us that says it has a goal of having democratic/progressive candidates in all congressional districts across the country with a commitment to 5 principles I see the VAST majority of people right here on BlueNC adhering to (I think it was loftT on the Full Court Press thingy below).

The county parties can't make

The county parties can't make someone run. They can only recruit, encourage and support. In my particular state house district we have run someone against the Republican each of the last three cycles. The first didn't have the funds or name recognition. The second couldn't stand the idea of asking anyone for money and the third raised some decent money (about a tenth of what the R spent)got support from the state and county party, had a real campaign manager (he was awfully young though), had lots of volunteers and mounted a strong "modern" campaign. He got 47%. I think he could have possibly taken it....... but he didn't get out months in advance and press the flesh, attend the small town club meeting, get the local farmers to throw pig pickin's and hot dog suppers for him to meet the folks that didn't already know him and he and he didn't go out and ask people to vote for him directly. In short he didn't combine the modern with the traditional.

This year we can't find anyone to make a run at him. It's tough finding the right candidate, finding the money you must have to beat an incumbent, and doing everything right as far as spending wisely, appealing to the voters and most of all giving voters a really good reason not to vote for the guy that's already in there.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Win or lose,

we at least need someone young, vital and who can make a lot of noise. That doesn't cost anything. We have to start framing the debate but we sure as hell can't to it with no candidate.

I see it as a weakness of the County Party Chairs. In my eyes it's their job to identify potential people to run and then FIND the support and money to help them. But most important, get someone who can speak like a real Democrat. People need to be reminded what a great party we have been. All the policies that really help the lower and middle classes were voted in by Democrats.

I think you are over

I think you are over estimating the power and influence of county organizations in general and party chairman in particular.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Overestimating the party chairman in particular

Do you mean the party chairman we currently have in particular, or the party chairman in a more general sense?

Not being a party insider, I don't have a good feel for whether potential gaps are tied to structural and institutional issues ... or staffing challenges. Not being critical here, just trying to understand.

I mean that the influence of

I mean that the influence of political parties and thus their chairmen is nothing like it use to be. County parties (at least in my experience)provide a way of organizing and mobilizing but they really aren't the power brokers that people with political aspirations have to go directly through if they want positive results. These days the chairman is the person that is willing to do the party work not the "party boss". I have been an officer at the precinct and/or county level for years now and attend almost all the meetings. There are Democratic officeholders that I have never seen at any meeting and there are candidates that run as Democrats that never bother to even introduce themselves to the active party members. Then there are those that suddenly appear and want our assistance even though they have never been active and then disappear again after the election. There are powerful people out there that can recruit and influence but they tend to be behind the scenes, not out front and tend to work independently more so than through the party organization. It's just a different environment now. Remember Jim Hunt created his own network outside the county organizations when he began his political career and so did Jesse Helms on the other side. Others have taken the same approach. This in part has led to a reduction in the county organizations influence. That has in turn led to the role of county party organizations changing and a different type of chairman emerging. At least that the way it appears to me given my limited perspective.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Maybe a good thing

Growing up in a County where the Party Chairman was the real power behind the throne, I saw the negative of strong single parties. Things like all hiring for local government and approvals of State Police assignments were routed through the chairman.

No doubt I am.

But it's up to those of us who pay attention to get real leaders in those county positions.

I sensed a squeamishness when I asked our County chair about this issue. It seems they don't even see a strong role to play because it might be construed as favoring one candidate over another potential candidate. So, they do nothing and we have no candidate.

I firmly believe there is a need for the party to grow a culture of candidates. Identify people with leadership abilities, train them (not just on winning but also on governance) Otherwise it's just a shot in the dark who will run for office.

County officials should

County officials should encourage people to throw their hat into the ring, but they should also remain neutral when more that one candidate is running in the primary. I agree with your last paragraph.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Whistling past legislative seats

This post obliterates the "Whistling Past Dixie" strategy that was rightfully ignored by Obama's 2008 campaign.

Why do North Carolina Democrats insist on "whistling past" dozens of legislative seats in 2010?

As the author says, you've got to put on the uniform to win the game.

Get some candidates to file for the remaining unopposed seats. The deadline is Friday.


Maybe there's a whole bunch

Maybe there's a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes politicking going on and a slew of candidates will jump on the bandwagon this week. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow morning and suddenly have a whole head of hair.

You just never know.

The County Party

In the past mayoral election the Lenoir County Democratic Party leadership supported an unaffiliated. Only problem was that a good Democrat was running as well as a Republican. The Democrat running was a long serving council member and as solid as you could find. The unaffiliated was an ousted Republican county commissioner who lost his seat in a primary election.

The long and short is that Kinston got a Republican mayor for the first time since reconstruction. So much for Party loyalty. Who would want to enter a race with party support like that?

throw the bums out

That's a horrible story. What was the reaction of other Democrats in Lenoir? Do they understand what went wrong and who was responsible?

Some good news

Not every Republican seat is going unchallenged. Although the incumbent (Jacumin) is not running, I have raised more money than his hand-picked opponent. I have also hired on Davy Lowman as my campaign manager, and we are full steam ahead. This is going to be a race to watch.


a seat that will be switch from R to D

NC House 103 (Matthews, Mint Hill, and East Charlotte) will be switching over. Dr. Ann Newman (my mom) is running for this open seat in a district that the demographics have greatly changed over the last 10 years. The district used to be over 60% R but is now 40% D, 34% R, and 26% U. Fundraising is going very well and she has the support of many of the local politicians and town leaders. Rep. Tricia Cotham will be hosting a fundraiser for Mom next month that will feature House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman. Read more about her at

The House 53 seat held by

The House 53 seat held by republican David Lewis will get a challenge. Two Democrats entered the race on Friday just before the noon deadline. Thomas Ellis and Dr. Abraham Oudeh threw their hats into the ring. Dr. Oudeh is the former mayor of Dunn and two time challenger against Harris Blake for the Moore-Harnett Senate seat. Dr. Oudeh's wife is currently the Chairman of the Harnett County Democratic Party. He was accompanied to the Board of Elections by former US Senator Robert Morgan who offered a ringing endorsement. This is an extremely tough seat to take but in a year that should be bad for all incumbents there is at least a glimmer of hope here. Lewis is one of the most ineffective members of the house and his act is beginning to wear thin with some folks but Harnett is a Republican stronghold these days. Any help you can offer to whichever Democrat emerges from the primary will be greatly appreciated.

I'm a moderate Democrat.