- "I had a conversation with him just a couple of days ago, I support him," Cooper said on a CBS podcast. "He's been a fantastic president. I've told him that I will try to win North Carolina. If he makes the decision, I'm for him 100%."
Over the weekend, Gov. Roy Cooper appeared on a podcast analyzing the results of the 2022 midterm election, saying that President Joe Biden should run for re-election, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis is “divisive,” and North Carolinians made a mistake in voting for Donald Trump.
“I ran for governor in 2016 and 2020, and I won at the same time that Trump won North Carolina,” Cooper told CBS host Major Garrett on “The Takeout” podcast. “I know the people here. I do not believe that North Carolina will make that mistake again.”
Cooper is chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, a role which has given him a national stage and led to speculation that he may run for higher office. He said that Biden’s achievements as president should be Democrats’ talking points in 2024.
“I had a conversation with him just a couple of days ago. I support him. He’s been a fantastic president. I’ve told him that I will try to win North Carolina. If he makes the decision, I’m for him 100%.”
The interview comes three days after the results of the 2022 midterms saw Republicans sweep all statewide races in a state where Cooper holds significant control over the state Democratic Party.
Cooper, speaking to his role as chairman of the national Democratic Governors Association, said that despite the decisive victory of Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida (60%-40%) and the dramatic loss of Beto O’Rourke in Texas (55%-44%), governors in his party exceeded expectations by running on the accomplishments of the Biden administration.
In a speech last week, Biden declared that Democrat governors had the best midterm since 1986 because they did not have a net loss of governorships and picked up one. Biden looked for a bright spot in the overall losses in the U.S. House and across the nation.
“We lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic president’s first midterm election in the last 40 years,” Biden said.
Cooper repeated the message, saying that governors are the last line of defense in protecting rights “stripped away” by the U.S. Supreme Court. He said his party’s losses were because of Democrats’ poor messaging and “process,” not policy.
“One of the hardest things to do in politics is to defeat an incumbent governor,” he said. “Governors do so much work that affect people’s everyday lives. And even if you’re not such a good governor, it’s still hard to root one out. And this just was not the time for Democrats to succeed in Texas and Florida. But they are still on the Democratic maps. We have to go in and look at ways that we can improve the processes there.”
Cooper and Democrat special-interest groups have spent the last six years fighting the Republican-led legislature in court over policies like voter ID and electoral maps. Cooper told Garrett that, nationally, Democrats should be more focused on state legislative races. In North Carolina, Republicans in the state legislature gained seats, earning a veto-proof majority in the Senate and one seat shy of a veto-proof margin in the House.
“We have for decades not paid enough attention to state governors, state races, and state legislative races, Cooper said. “Republicans for decades have paid attention to it and have gained control in a lot of states where they shouldn’t. I think Democrats have been waking up to that, particularly when President Trump came along, the Supreme Court started ripping rights away.”
Democrats had 13 incumbent governors to defend in 2022, including Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and New York’s Kathy Hochul, both of whom faced difficult but successful re-elections. Democrat governors dominated in highly populated states.
“Democratic governors represent more than 54% of the American people, and that is a good thing,” Cooper told Garrett.
Nationally, Republicans control more state legislatures than Democrats, and have more total legislative seats at the state level. In last week’s election, Republicans won a veto-proof supermajority in Florida and supermajorities in the N.C. Senate, Wisconsin Senate, Iowa Senate, and South Carolina House.