Monday, May 20, 2024

Democrat Senate Candidate’s Strategy in NC: Knock on Trump Voters’ Doors

'If we are going to expand our seats in our districts ... we cannot do that unless we start competing in these rural and suburban counties...'

Erica Smith, a Democrat hoping to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr in North Carolina, has promised to knock on a door in a Republican county for every dollar donated to her Trump-voter-outreach campaign, the News & Observer reported.

However, she has no intention of adopting any portion of Trump’s platform. Instead, her campaign adviser said, Trump has “incredibly problematic beliefs and policies.”

Yet, Smith hopes the door-knocking pledge, which she has billed as an initiative to help Democrats statewide, will drive donations to her underfunded Senate campaign.

She has raised $110,000, while her two primary opponents—state Sen. Jeff Jackson and former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley—have raised $700,000 and $1.28 million, respectively.

Jackson has cast himself as a “centrist” in similar fashion to the failed campaign run last year by Democrat Senate hopeful Cal Cunningham.

Beasley, however, is competing with Smith for the far-left position and has drawn campaign support from members of the House’s extreme-progressive “Squad.”

That leaves little room for Smith but to run left of the Squad—so far that it almost comes full-circle.

Smith—who served in the state Senate from 2015 to 2021 and previously ran for the US Senate in Democrats’ 2020 primary—said radical Democrats like herself can win North Carolina by reaching out to rural Americans.

“If we had had more Democrats and more outreach in the rural parts of the state, there’s no doubt to me that Biden would have won North Carolina,” she said.

Her focus has been less on her own Senate prospects and more on the goal of turning North Carolina back into a reliably blue state at every level.

Republicans have held a majority in the state legislature since former President Barack Obama’s first midterm election in 2010, when they were able to break a century of Democrat domination in state politics.

Smith said she thinks that her campaign’s appeal to Trump-supporting counties can also help return the state’s General Assembly to the Democratic Party.

That will, in turn, give Democrats more power to gerrymander the political maps in ways that give themselves the partisan advantage.

“If we are going to expand our seats in our districts in the North Carolina House and the North Carolina Senate, we cannot do that unless we start competing in these rural and suburban counties,” she said. “This is an investment in that.”

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