Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Politics of the U.S. Senate in the 2020 Election

By Michael Bitzer

With the significant attention given to the presidential battle that's coming up this November, more and more folks are starting to analyze the impact of the 35 races that could determine control of the U.S. Senate come January. Drs. Susan Roberts of Davidson and Chris Cooper of Western Carolina (and of this blog), along with myself, take a look at the North Carolina contest between incumbent Republican Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, along with looking at the South Carolina Graham-Harrison contest and some others in this episode of Charlotte Talks.

Monday, June 15, 2020

It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over: Taking the Temperature of the 11th Congressional District Runoff

By Chris Cooper
Just when you thought it was safe to turn your attention to the General Election, it turns out there are still two North Carolina primaries left to decide. The first, in Columbus County remains undecided because some voters received the wrong ballot on election day. As a result, The State Board of Elections called for a new Republican primary to take place on June 23 for the Columbus County District 2 Commission race.

The second undecided primary occurred for more traditional reasons: a runoff. Like much of the South, North Carolina election law requires that candidates receive a threshold percentage of the vote to move forward. If the winner of a primary does not meet this threshold (30 percent in North Carolina), the second-place candidate can request a second primary. And, this is exactly what happened in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district where Lynda Bennett earned the most votes in the Republican primary, but was more than seven percentage points shy of the 30 percent threshold. 24-year old Madison Cawthorn eeked out second place and filed for a second primary. Election Day for this primary will occur June 23, although mail-in and one-stop early voting is already under way.

The circumstances that led to this primary, and the specifics of the candidates in the race are fascinating, but have been covered extensively by local and national reporters. In this spirit of this blog, I’m going to limit myself here to what the early returns can tell us about the candidates and whether early voting tea leaves can uncover anything about understanding elections in a time of Coronavirus. And, although the Columbus County race is fascinating, what follows only reflects returns from the 11th Congressional District.