Election Analysis

Want to Flip a District? Run a Woman.

Want to Flip a District? Run a Woman.

Ask an old-guard Democrat what kind of candidate is the safest bet to flip a competitive seat in the North Carolina General Assembly, and you’ll get a pretty predictable answer: A white man. But the 2018 numbers tell a very different story.

Of the 35 Democratic candidates who ran in NC’s most competitive GOP-held legislative districts, 13 are women and 22 are men (across 23 NC House and 12 NC Senate races). Compared with 2016 results, the women outperformed Hillary Clinton by an incredible 10.8 points! In contrast, the men districts beat Hillary Clinton’s margin by an average of only 4.8 points. That’s a pretty stark contrast: Women overperformed Clinton by 6 points more than men! All 13 female candidates beat Clinton’s margin in their districts, while only 17 of the 22 male candidates did. The results are not quite as striking compared with Governor Cooper, yet the trend holds: women surpassed Governor Cooper’s margins in their districts by about 3 points more than men.

Virginia Shows North Carolina the Way

Virginia has provided the perfect two-step road map for North Carolina. First, we need to run strong progressive candidates in all districts that are even remotely competitive, including many where Democrats didn’t field a candidate in 2016. Second, we need to turn out fired-up Democratic voters in record numbers.