North Carolina Remains Competitive

By John Celock

While a new poll shows that Democrats are leading in early voting in North Carolina, the poll indicates that the state remains competitive up and down the ballot.

A Public Policy Poll released Monday shows that the race between Gov. Pat McCrory (R) remains the most competitive in the country with Democratic nomine Roy Cooper, the state attorney general, leading McCrory 46 percent to 44 percent. The poll also indicated that among those who have already voted Cooper leads 61 percent to 33 percent.

In the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Richard Burr (R) and Democrat Deborah Ross, Burr leads Ross 42 percent to 41 percent. Among those who have already voted Ross leads Burr 52 percent to 34 percent.

The races for governor and Senate in North Carolina have been competitive for months. In the governor’s contest, Cooper has been planning a run against McCrory since 2012, with the Democrat gaining steam among the conservative tilt the state has taken since McCrory and a GOP-controlled Legislature took control four years ago. McCrory has been a top target for Democrats nationally.

In the Senate race, Ross was a late choice for Senate Democrats to take on the two-term Burr. Democrats had originally approached former Sen. Kay Hagin to take on Burr in the swing state. Ross, a former leader of the state ACLU, stepped up to run after Hagin declined to seek a return to the Senate.

In the race for lieutenant governor, the poll indicated that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) leads Democrat Linda Coleman 41 percent to 37 percent. The race is a rerun of the 2012 race, when Forest narrowly defeated Colman, a former state personal director.

In the race to replace Cooper as attorney general, Democrat Josh Stein, a former state senator, leads Republican Buck Newton, a state senator, 44 percent to 39 percent. In the race to replace retiring state Treasurer Janet Cowell (D), Democratic attorney Dan Blue III leads Republican Dale Fowell, a former state House speaker pro tempore, 39 percent to 37 percent.