By Michael Bitzer
With the official announcement by North Carolina's Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein of seeking the state's chief executive office, comparisons are being made to the current incumbent's performance and how Stein can replicate those two successful runs for governor.
In 2016 and 2020, Democrat Roy Cooper was able to unseat an incumbent governor (49 percent against Republican Pat McCrory's 48 percent) and successful defend (with some breathing room at 51.5 percent) his re-election against Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest. In those same elections, Stein was able to secure the AG's office, but in 2020, he did so with the barest of margins of victory of any Council of State executive officer winning (50.13 percent). In 2016, Stein won his first bid with 50.3 percent of the vote.
As Miles Coleman has noted, North Carolina's gubernatorial election will be one of the few in the nation in the presidential election, and will be the "marquee" contest. Sabato's Crystal Ball has already classified the contest as a 'toss-up.'