LLP: North Carolina’s 2020 Election Starts Now

RALEIGH – The 2018 elections certainly provided a lot of political news to digest over the holidays, but campaign consultants and political observers won’t really take a break – the race for 2020 starts now.

So who are the front runners in the Old North State? Long Leaf Politics put together a short list of possible contenders – from governor, to U.S. Senate, to key state legislative districts – for you to chew on along with your Thanksgiving turkey.

Governor

With the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly broken, the Executive Mansion all of a sudden takes on more prominence. Gov. Roy Cooper will enjoy actual veto power in the next legislative session, and Republicans will be gunning for the governorship a lot harder in the 2020 election cycle.

Gov. Cooper has phenomenal favorability ratings, but he’s also been largely on the sidelines of the day-to-day political world. Instead, he had been focused on fundraising and building up to the midterms. That all changes now. N.C. Republicans will try to put Cooper in difficult positions where he actually has to make decisions that matter.

Cooper will also have to bring back his famed deal-making abilities that have been on the shelf since the early 2017 deal to repeal HB2.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is the overwhelming favorite to be the Republican candidate for governor in 2020. He already has a much higher profile than most lieutenant governors, a powerful social media following, and genuine excitement among the base.

So is Pat McCrory going to make a run to move back into the governor’s mansion? Is Sen. Thom Tillis (RINO-NC) going to protect his senate seat, or disrupt the GOP primary for governor? How much risk does the Republican majority in the General Assembly face in 2020 after the significant damage they just endured?

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