Collias is Democrats’ Best Shot to Flip NC11

Redistricting in North Carolina has given several currently Republican Congressional seats new Democratic majorities. The new 11th District, currently represented by retiring Republican, Mark Meadows, isn’t one of them.

NC11 is losing a bit of its Republican lean, moving from an R+29 down to R+14 in Cook’s partisan lean ranking, meaning Republicans and Republican-leaning voters hold about a 62-33% numeric advantage over Democrats in the district. Democrats won a lot of majority Republican districts in 2018, but none with this steep a Republican margin. 

There is no path to victory for a Democrat in NC11 without winning a significant minority of Republican and Unaffiliated conservative voters. A Democratic dream candidate would be someone who has already done this. WNC Democrats are lucky enough to have a dream candidate in Gina Collias. Question is, will they recognize the opportunity she’s offering?

Collias is a former #NeverTrump Republican who left the GOP. Before switching parties, she ran in the previously configured NC10 which included a portion of the current NC11. In that Republican primary she won 13-20% of Republican and Unaffiliated conservative votes in the various counties on essentially the same campaign platform she’s running on today:

  • Expanding ACA coverage 
  • Protection of abortion rights
  • Electoral reform
  • Protecting voting rights
  • Environmental protection
  • Combating climate change 
  • Protecting Social Security and Medicare
  • Immigration reform with a path to citizenship 
  • Getting money out of politics
  • Protecting the Rule of Law 
  • Opposing Trump

Her platform is consistent with the national Democratic platform down the line. What most Americans fail to realize is that Democratic policies are far more popular with voters than Republican policies, even in many cases among Republicans. It’s only on issues of identity politics that Republicans have managed to pry away just enough support to survive.

The four men challenging Gina for the nomination have found nothing substantive to fault her on, attempting instead to gain an edge by criticizing Collias’ history as a Republican. It’s the eternal dilemma facing rational, problem-solving public servants in our system. Back in 2018, Tea Party Republicans looked at Collias’ agenda and called her a “pro-choice feminist” and “a progressive.” Now she’s taking that same agenda to the Democratic Party and being attacked for her GOP past. Ironically, it’s that experience in the Republican Party and her record of winning Republican votes on a progressive platform that makes Collias the Democrats’ best hope to win this seat. And the compromise Democrats are being asked to make in policy terms? It’s basically zero. 

Gina Collias gives Democrats in Western North Carolina their only credible chance to gain a Congressional seat in this solidly Republican region. Will they seize this opportunity?

17 Comments

  1. EJ

    Thoughts about the Democratic debate?

    This was the first time I’d really heard Bloomberg speak, and wow the man is awful. The difference between him and Trump is aesthetic at best. In a way, his presence was the best Warren campaign advert she could have hoped for.

    Speaking of Warren, she was on fire. The more I see of her the more impressed I am. For all that people discuss her pivoting to the centre, she took the chance to humiliate an asshole billionaire in ways that make me think he should have had a safe word going in.

    I thought both Biden and Klobuchar spoke much better now, when it’s unlikely that neither have a chance to get in the lead, than they did when people were hopeful about them. Less pressure perhaps?

    Buttigieg just looks like he’s run out of steam. Iowa was his big moment and that feels so long ago now. Now he’s just another boneless ex-consultant desperate to avoid taking a stand on anything.

    1. I couldn’t watch the debate last night so I’m going over the analysis. Early voting has started in TX, but I haven’t voted yet, because I need to research some local races, and to decide on a Presidential candidate. Right now my choice is do I vote for Warren (who I have decided I like best), or go with a strategic vote for one of the moderates (Buttigieg, Biden, or Klobuchar)?

      Biden, I’m afraid, is damaged goods. It looks like Trump got what he wanted with this Ukraine mess, although I put more responsibility on Biden with how he chose to respond. There was peril but there was also opportunity for some political jujutsu, which he botched. I wish he would have dealt with this thus: “Yes, there has been this practice of the children of high ranking officials using those connections to get cushy jobs. Even my own family has not been above that. But I pledge that this will stop when I take office. With Trump, his children and his toadies’ children with keep on feathering their nests at your expense.” Sadly, the moment has passed.

      With Buttigieg and Klobuchar, it’s more complicated. They aren’t making errors like Biden did, but they can’t seem to catch a break from the media, especially Klobuchar. The media has been building various candidates up, then tearing them down (like Warren and Biden and Buttigieg), but not giving much coverage to others (like Klobuchar). That pisses me off, when they do this so much before delegates are even awarded. Yes, polls have some meaning, and there’s a long stretch of time to cover these campaigns before the voting starts, but in politics perception can often become reality, and I resent the fact that decent candidates often never get a fair chance.

      Bernie and Bloomberg are at the bottom of my list, but I’m pledged to vote Blue no matter who this Nov. Bernie and his crowd have their own asshole behavior and lack of transparency issues. Also the GOP will be screaming “SOCIALIST!! SOCIALIST!!” at the top of their lungs, and that’s still a dirty word with a lot of voters. That crap has already started in the Houston area. The R incumbent in seat TX-22 is retiring, and there about a dozen Rs in the primary. One of them is Pierce Bush, of the Bush dynasty. He’s running TV ads attacking “the left” as communists (those images of Lenin are not subtle). It’s infuriatingly insulting to my intelligence, because even Bernie is not a communist, but it’s red meat to the R base. Hopefully he doesn’t make the runoff.

      1. “Yes, there has been this practice of the children of high ranking officials using those connections to get cushy jobs. Even my own family has not been above that. But I pledge that this will stop when I take office.”

        Is that enough? I’d be having a hard time with that. It’s true that when Hunter worked for Burisma, Joe was a private citizen. But if the Bidens didn’t see this problem coming…after Hillary’s speeches to Goldman, after Trump and the kids…

        The Democratic nominee, whoever that is, ought to be able to beat Trump about the head and shoulders with cronyism and nepotism, without the slightest trace of hypocriticism.

      2. “Is that enough? I’d be having a hard time with that.”

        Possibly not. The way I see it, that approach could have been a way through this, but not dealing with it with honesty and contrition is a guaranteed fail. Certainly other Dem candidates are on more elevated moral high ground on this issue.

        ‘I feel like 90% of Trump’s defense is an appeal to cynicism: “Yeah we’re corrupt, so what, everyone’s corrupt. We’re just more honest about it than they are.”’

        And we’re also taking it to a whole new level!

      3. EJ

        Creigh: I think you’re right, and I think it’s a smarter play than we realise.

        When government is literally and openly nothing other than a vehicle for the already-wealthy to further their own power, and courts and corporations are the same, then liberalism is as empty an idea as the divine right of kings. When no ideas matter and self-interest is all, then socialism’s promise of a better tomorrow is as absurd as young earth creationism. When the President can overrule a court with a tweet and the court meekly gives in, the concept of the rule of law feels naive. As such, Trumpism doesn’t just enrich its adherents, it creates a world which has no place for the ideas that oppose it. It is, as anarchists say, “propaganda of the deed.”

    2. A couple of thoughts:

      – The standout moment was when every candidate, save for Sanders, raised their hand in favor of letting the superdelegates come into the process if no one goes into Milwaukee with a majority. Bernie Bros on Twitter raged, but I was relieved there seems to be overwhelming consensus on a compromise candidate if it comes to it. Everyone’s agreed that a socialist destroys us in November.

      – Bloomberg had no business being as unprepared as he was. He knew those hits were coming and still let Warren rip his face off. Pathetic.

      – Warren had a helluva lot of fire last night and raised quite a bit of money. She’s not quitting anytime soon.

      – Buttigieg and Klobuchar didn’t break out into a fistfight last night at least. Not sure where they go from here.

      – Biden was… technically there. Letting that booing farce happen at the end was completely inappropriate and should’ve been cracked down on immediately.

      – Also, my distaste for Chuck Todd was reinvigorated. Can we replace him with Nicole Wallace already?

  2. I’ve known Gina for several years. She is smart, professional, great mom with great kids, progressive and fiscally moderate, rational, articulate and the right candidate for any office but most especially this district that Meadows claimed to represent. She truly would represent all of us…She is one of my heroes for working tirelessly to make a difference:).

    1. That’s why it’s my conclusion that the terrorists won, because so much of our response to 9/11, from the “patriot” act to DHS to invading Iraq was wrong. One of the few proper (and effective) responses was hardening airplane cockpits.

      Also our standards for hiring in law enforcement are far too low. The scandal of the horrid Facebook posts on a Border patrol group page is disgusting, but shouldn’t be shocking. For all its bad points, Facebook is useful in showing exactly who people really are.

      1. I’m in two minds about the hardened cockpit doors – they have enabled at least two loony pilots to kill everybody on board

        IMHO after 9/11 any hijacker would get mobbed and kicked to death by the other passengers

        THAT was the greatest improvement in security

  3. This is a theme that David Brin has repeatedly stated on his blog- that the Dems need to embrace candidates just like her in these swing districts. AOC fits her district, but she wouldn’t fit this one. Purity tests need to be tossed- the Dems should be trying to pad their lead in the House, in addition to trying to flip the Senate and White House.

    On a semi-related note about Dems in swing districts, would somebody please clone Katie Porter a few hundred times? Damn, that woman knows her stuff! Every time someone posts video of her in hearings I am so impressed.

    1. I emphatically agree. One if the endearing qualities of the Democratic Party (for better and worse), is their “Big Tent”. In our zeal and fear to prevent a second term Of djt (or lifetime reign), Democrats need to beware of purity tests. ABT (anybody but trump) needs to be foremost in everyone’s minds.

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