By Doug Heye, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Having worked three Senate races in my home state of North Carolina, I closely follow any news from the Tar Heel State. So I was interested to read U.S. News's Paul Bedard tweet yesterday that on the morning after Scott Brown's stunning come-from-behind victory in Massachusetts, "North Carolina Demos use Brown's victory in Massachusetts to raise money." Bedard's tweet linked to a fundraising appeal headlined "NC Democrats See Fundraising Opportunity in Mass Sen. Loss."
"Like many of you I went through a full range of emotions last night--from sadness, to anger to disbelief. But that was last night," North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Andrew Whalen wrote. "We will not allow the right-wing fear tactics and drivel to slow us or cloud our vision."
You have to give North Carolina Democrats credit for seeking to turn lemons into lemonade (or donations).
The reality, though, is that Tuesday's results are positively depressing for Democrats nationwide--not just for their psyche, though that, too--in terms of fundraising and activist energy.
In North Carolina, that means three North Carolina congressional Democrats--Reps. Bob Etheridge, Mike McIntyre, and Heath Shuler--look more beatable than in the past. Meanwhile, the approval rating North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, also a Democrat, is at 30 percent, and Republicans lead the generic ballot for legislative races by three points.
It might be easy to dismiss this as right-wing drivel, except for one thing: These points actually come from North Carolina Democrats. Public Policy Polling is a Raleigh-based firm whose clients have included Democratic Reps. Brad Miller and David Price, the aforementioned Representative Etheridge, and the North Carolina Democratic Party itself. Earlier this week, the firm posted the information from the two previous paragraphs, which came directly from its polling, on Twitter.
In the past three months, three states Obama carried--New Jersey, Virginia, and now Massachusetts--have given a stinging rebuke to his agenda of higher taxes, government control of healthcare, and out-of-control spending. Obama won these states by much larger margins than North Carolina, a state where many Democrats still like to call themselves conservative. Anything could happen over the next 10 months, but if North Carolina Democrats are telling you their numbers in the state are that bad, you can believe it.
One interesting side note: North Carolina Democrats appear to have come full circle--traditionally Democrats (see Hunt, Jim or Sanford, Terry) did all they could to run from being labeled a "Kennedy Democrat," while Sen. Jesse Helms made a cottage industry out of sparring with Kennedy. Maybe it's a new South after all.