RALEIGH – The 2022 contest to takeover for the outgoing Senator Richard Burr (R) rockin’ and rollin.’ In addition to all the action on the Republican side, the Democrats’ primary is also shaping up to be a ruckus. As expected, former Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court made her candidacy official this week, and as a presumed front runner. Yet it’s reports of another candidate insiders say is under active recruitment that may make the contest that much more intriguing.
According to Carolina Journal, who spoke with Democrat consultant Brad Crone, N.C. DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, or the face of Pandemic Panic policies in the Old North State, is being recruited to enter the race:
“[…] According to prominent Democrat consultant Brad Crone, “An active effort to recruit Dr. Mandy Cohen into the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is now underway.”
Cohen is the current secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. She has been the public face of much of North Carolina’s pandemic response for more than a year.
“She would be a competitive force; she has instant name recognition,” said Crone. “She has been a top lieutenant to Gov. Cooper and could tap into his base of support. … She would be considered more of a moderate candidate that could compete well in North Carolina’s more rural areas.”
Cohen is an internal medicine physician and has experience leading complex health organizations. Before coming to North Carolina, she was chief operating officer and chief of staff at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She served as a senior adviser to the Obama administration working to implement the Affordable Care Act. […]”
Cohen certainly has the high profile, and broad approval ratings as the protective ‘Dr. Mandy,’ that would make her a contender out of the gate. The appeal makes sense, as the COVID caretakers enjoy a hero’s welcome for locking down our businesses and keeping out kids from school.
However, like Beasley, it’d be the first real ‘coming out’ for Cohen as a nakedly political candidate, and in areas outside her career’s specialty, after presenting her public health diktats over the last year as having nothing to do with politics.
If Cohen were to be convinced to run, she’d jump in a full field. Besides Beasley, former N.C. Senator Erica Smith, current N.C. Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg), and a couple other also-rans, are already competing for the nomination. The former chief justice is the expected front runner, with statewide name ID and held in high esteem as a jurist; and, while Jackson may have been a model candidate in 2014, he’s not exactly 2022 material for Democrats as John Locke Foundation senior political analyst Mitch Kokai explains:
“[…] Having been a chief justice of the state’s highest court could give her a level of gravitas that other Democrats will have a hard time matching. She certainly offers a stark contrast to Jeff Jackson — whose status as a white man might put him out of step with the most enthusiastic Democratic activists. […]”
So, the race is either Beasley’s for the taking, or we might be meeting a new side of Dr. Mandy we haven’t seen before.
Or have we? Cohen has also soaked up the limelight as a possible recruit to the Biden administration, and, tellingly, rolling in kudos for her Woke focus on ‘Equity’ in managing COVID response and data collection. Arguably, she’s one of the most race-obsessed Democrats in the country.