News: CJ Exclusives

N.C. Democrats, Cooper take the offensive

(CJ photo by Kari Travis)
(CJ photo by Kari Travis)

Gov. Roy Cooper is determined to break the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, and he’s trying to raise as much money as possible to do it.

A new initiative and a partnership with the state Democratic Party, Break the Majority, aims to recruit and support candidates to unseat Republican lawmakers in future elections.

“Until I get more help in the legislature, we won’t get North Carolina to where we want to be,” Cooper said in a news release.

According to WRAL, the governor has already raised $1 million and has plans to continue fundraising.

The Republicans have essentially taken away Cooper’s veto powers. In a special session last year, legislators passed measures to further limit the governor’s power by requiring Senate approval for cabinet appointments and preventing the governor from appointing a majority on the newly reconfigured State Board of Elections and Ethics Commission.

The issue is getting national attention.

“Until I get some leverage in the General Assembly, I can’t get the things done in education, in economic development,” Cooper told Politico Magazine. “I can’t do as much to stop this social conservative legislation that makes us embarrassed as a state, and doesn’t truly reflect who we are as North Carolinians.”

The “social conservative legislation” is probably House Bill 2, or the “bathroom bill” passed by lawmakers last year. The controversial legislation was later repealed by House Bill 142, and was criticized by some as a compromise that does too little to help the LGBT community.

Some question how Break the Majority could succeed without the bathroom bill to fire up the Democratic base.

“Without that issue, what is he really going to talk about?” Patrick Sebastian, a Republican consultant, told WRAL. “I mean, is he going to say taxes are too low? Cooper’s being aggressive. I think he should be, but he’s really realizing he’s irrelevant in this current system that we have.”