RALEIGH – Most of the talk about the developing scrum for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated in 2022 by the retiring Republican incumbent Richard Burr has focused on the Republican suitors to succeed him. Lara Trump has been openly teased a run, former Governor Pat McCrory is reportedly interested, and former Congressman Mark Walker is already in.
But what if another governor of the Old North State ran for the seat in 2022? A sitting governor…
According to a poll conducted by North State Journal and Cardinal Point Analytics, Governor Roy Cooper is 2022 U.S. Senate favorite for North Carolina Democrats.
Cooper was way out in front, too, garnering 42 percent of likely Democratic primary voters. The closest to him, among the options, was the disgraced Cal Cunningham, at 18 percent, followed by Attorney General Josh Stein in the single digits. Other former candidates like former state lawmaker Erica Smith, of N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson, also polled in single digits.
Indeed, Cooper has done plenty to ingratiate himself to the crowd inside the beltway. But wait; if Cooper runs and wins in 2022, what happens to the governor’s mansion? That’s where things get interesting.
“[…] If Cooper ran and won the seat, his departing from the governor’s mansion to Washington, D.C. would elevate Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson to the office.
The N.C. Constitution says,
“The Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor upon the death, resignation, or removal from office of the Governor.” […]”
Governor Mark Robinson, a principled conservative with passion and moxie, very likely backed by a Republican legislature, and feeding right into a 2024 run to keep the seat –Sounds nice doesn’t it?
It certainly does, which may explain the transparent appeal to Cooper’s pride and vanity by the pollsters:
“[…] “Cooper has nothing to lose by running,” said Cardinal Point Analytics president Aimee Mulligan. “If he runs in 2022 and loses, he remains governor. If he runs and wins, he cuts short his stint as governor two years early and wins an additional six-year term in public office. He would set himself apart on the Democratic side by doing something Jim Hunt couldn’t do — make it to the US Senate,” she added. […]”
Flattery? Stroking ego? Very likely, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Roy Cooper spent a decade and a half as attorney general, at least half that time he was effectively running for governor. Political ambition certainly isn’t something he lacks.
With that in mind, after being twice elected governor, where do you think his sights are set? Well, there is an outside chance he could be looking at New York City, where he launched his reelection campaign, but more likely is Washington, D.C.
The two year, constant campaign/election cycle of the U.S. House is too tedious for a twice elected governor. And, if not 2022, the next open election for Senate isn’t until 2026 — a full two years after he’d leave the governor’s mansion.
The midterm elections have a habit of producing opposition waves. In that context, and after two years of
BidenHarris/Pelosi/Schumer, many expect the GOP has a fighting chance to regain control of the House and Senate. However, North Carolina is a toss up statewide, and Cooper, with multiple statewide victories under his belt would have a massive advantage as sitting governor.
If he won, and Republicans still took control of the Senate, would North Carolina be worse off?
So, Cooper, what are your plans for 2022? Asking for a friend…