As Candidate Filing Opens, NC Steps Out Of National Limelight

As Candidate Filing Opens, NC Steps Out Of National Limelight

11:58am Feb 12, 2018
(Courtesy: North Carolina State Board of Elections)

North Carolina’s official election season opens Monday with the start of the candidate filing period, and voters can expect to see a lot of changes in campaigns this year.

North Carolina has been seen as an important swing state in recent years, with big national races drawing lots of political attention, and money.

Jason Husser, a political scientist at Elon University, says that won’t be the case in 2018.

“This is really a blue moon election - we don’t have any major statewide elections," he says. "We don’t have a presidential election, a governor’s election or senate elections. So the big-ticket races are going to be the congressional races and some key state Senate and state House races.”

Husser is expecting a busy filing period, and it could be a record year for women seeking office.

“We’ve historically had fewer female candidates, and that means there’s a tremendous resource out there in society that has been underutilized in terms of political representation,” he says. “Female candidates are just as likely to win office as male candidates...it often comes down to women are less likely to run.”

Husser also thinks there will be more contested races than state voters have seen in recent years, when many legislative candidates ran unopposed.

“Some of that is going to depend upon how strong the Democratic Party has been over the last few years on candidate recruitment,” he says. “Typically when we see unopposed seats it’s a sign of weakness of the opposition party.”

Husser says he’ll be looking to see if Democrats can win enough of those races that would make Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes more significant.

“The big question is can enough seats be flipped at the state legislative level that it makes it where Republicans don’t have a three-fifths vote [in] each chamber,” he says. “That’s the veto override point.”

The filing period closes at noon on Feb. 28.

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