Welcome, Frances and Tess!
Friends of the Slate -
I’m writing today with some super exciting news. I’m going to blast this out publicly later, but I wanted y’all - the Slate’s core supporters - to be the first to know.
Today, we’re adding two new candidates to the Long Leaf Pine Slate. Say hello to…
Dr. Frances Jackson, candidate for House District 45!
Tess Judge, candidate for Senate District 1!
These two women are outstanding candidates who I wanted to include earlier, but they hadn’t activated their accounts on ActBlue when we launched.
The playing field is expanding
As the year has gone on, conditions for a bigger, stronger Blue Wave have only increased here in North Carolina. This is shaping up to be historic year for NC Democrats.
At the Presidential level, Joe Biden is running several points ahead of Trump, who is consistently unpopular. We have a marquee Senate race with an unpopular Republican Senator, Thom Tillis, who is widely seen as a Trumpist toady. (Meanwhile, our other Republican Senator, Richard Burr, is under FBI investigation for insider trading on COVID-19.) Governor Roy Cooper is cruising to a landslide re-election victory over a wackadoodle Republican opponent. The NC GOP’s richly deserved reputation for self-dealing corruption, racism, gerrymandering and dirty tricks is sandbagging their approval numbers across the board.
As we’ve written about before, conditions are ripe this year for a North Carolinian Democratic trifecta. The fundamentals are all there to see, and they point to a historic expansion of the map for Democrats.
Both of these new districts are absolute slam-dunks for us. These are low-hanging-fruit that we can absolutely win in this cycle, especially with the right resources. Here’s why.
House District 45
HD-45 is just outside of Fayetteville, where Dr. Jackson was born and raised. She is a graduate of NC A&T (go Aggies), holds a Ph.D. in public policy and administration, and has worked in local government her entire career. Her local network is broad and very deep, a key advantage in this majority-minority district. Unfortunately, the district is not very wealthy, and her fundraising has been weak thus far. All the more reason for the Slate to step in.
This district was redrawn (again, under court order) for the 2020 cycle to make it actually competitive. Within the newly redrawn district, both the state House and Senate vote was majority Democratic in 2018.
The opponent is a very senior Republican who has the deep support of Raleigh’s corporate PAC network. Real talk: we are not going to out-raise him. But that’s okay - we don’t have to. We just need to get Dr. Jackson enough resources to be competitive, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Senate District 1
S-1 includes a broad swath of rural eastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks. Tess and her late husband started a small business, which she continues to run, in Dare County. She is a grandmother, a respected community leader and a very well-known and respected local name. Most notably, Tess dramatically over-performed Hillary Clinton when she ran for a state House seat in 2018. Based on that performance, the larger Senate district and Tess’s deep connection with communities of color make this one of our top Senate pickup opportunities.
The right candidates, the right time
Both of these women are perfect candidates for the Long Leaf Pine Slate: they are moderate, progressive women who’ve had enough of the Republican misrule in Raleigh. They’re both in districts that are widely seen as the most flippable in the state.
In case you missed it, we published this piece just the other day: “How the North Carolina Electorate Has Changed.” It breaks down, in detail, how massive changes in the registered voting population of our state portend positive swings for Democrats in this cycle and going forward. This is quickly becoming one of our most popular blogs ever, so feel free to share it.
Full speed ahead
We cannot afford to slow down now. The entrenched Republican majority will fight like cats to protect their gerrymandered seizure of political power. At the end of the day, that’s all they really care about - power, and the perks of corrupting it for their own material ends.
We’re really going to do this, friends. We’re in this together. As Fredrick Douglass once said, power concedes nothing without a demand. So let’s go demand that power be put back in the hands of the people.