As voters get ready to head to the primary polls in May, here are some interesting storylines previewing the 2018 North Carolina midterm elections:
State Board selects nominees for final seat
On Wednesday, the eight members of the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement unanimously selected two unaffiliated nominees to fill the final open seat on the State Board.
The two nominees are Burley Mitchell, former Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, and Damon Circosta, executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper will now select one of the two candidates.
The nomination came in the inaugural meeting of the recently filled State Board. Previously, there was a separate State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission.
Democrats field candidate in every district for first time
There will be a Democrat on the ballot for all 170 legislative seats up for election in November for the first time in state history, the North Carolina Democrat Party announced in a February press release.
The press release also said the Democrat field is one of the most diverse fields of candidates for either party, with 77 female candidates, 71 people of color and six LGBTQ+ candidates.
Republicans will also field a candidate in each legislative race, The News & Observer reported.
The announcement came after the NCDP revealed a party record $2.4 million in cash on hand heading into election season.
Republicans ask for help
In a February letter to members of the North Carolina Republican Party, chairperson Robin Hayes encouraged members to join the Republican Leadership Initiative. The program is a series of training workshops to equip grassroots leaders across the country with the skills needed to work as professional field organizers.
Hayes said if Republicans do not maintain Congressional majorities, President Donald Trump’s agenda will come to a screeching halt.
“Unfortunately, Democrats are organizing to prevent the President from advancing his priorities on immigration, trade and national security,” Hayes said.
Volunteers will be involved in voter and volunteer recruitment as well as social media campaigns.
By the numbers
2: The number of Republican challengers longtime incumbent Rep. Walter Jones, R-NC, will face in the primaries for the N.C. 3rd Congressional District. Jones has held the position since 1995 but has faced criticism from conservatives for voting against President Donald Trump's proposal to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
17,181: How many fewer voters are currently registered in North Carolina than on Nov. 8, 2016.
134: The number of votes incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-NC, defeated Mark Harris in the 2016 Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District. The two will face off again in the primary this year. Harris was endorsed by former Rep. Sue Myrick, R-NC, who held the seat prior to Pittenger.
73: The number of districts in which only one of the major parties fielded a candidate in the 2016 general election. This year every district will feature a candidate from both parties.
4 and 6: The net number of seats Democrats need to gain in the N.C. State House and Senate, respectively, to break the Republicans’ veto-proof majority. Republicans hold a 75-45 and a 35-14 majority in the House and Senate, respectively.
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