Slow and steady
Voters trying to gauge the fortunes of the Democratic Party in Brunswick County need to look beyond the short-term results of the 2022 mid-term elections to appreciate our opportunities for success.
Let’s take heart in the fact that we share and promote the values of Americans who awarded Joe Biden last month with a surprising affirmation of his slow and steady approach to governing America. Today, the nation has new laws — supported by members of both parties — to fix the nation‘s aging infrastructure, revive the private sector’s computer chip industry, protect same-sex marriage in the U.S., strengthen national gun safety laws, and assist Ukraine in its struggle against Russia without committing U.S. troops to combat.
Meanwhile, North Carolina voters gave Governor Roy Cooper some help as he heads toward the final two years of his time in the governor’s mansion. By preventing Republicans from reaching a veto-proof majority and enacting overreaching legislation, voters gave Gov. Cooper and Democrats in Raleigh an opportunity to promote progressive proposals on education, low-income housing, transportation, Medicaid expansion, the state’s growing mental health crisis, drug abuse, and gun safety.
These are not pie-in-the-sky goals. They are realistic expectations North Carolina legislators should pursue, because they reflect values the majority of North Carolinians support. Voters will make Republicans who ignore or pigeonhole bills including these goals pay for their transgressions at the polls.
The Brunswick County Democratic Party will do its part to support these goals in Raleigh and at the county level. For the past two years, the party has worked to create a bastion of support for Democratic values in Brunswick County, and it will continue reaching out to unaffiliated voters and disaffected Republicans in the months and years to come. You can also look for party officials to continue expanding their involvement in local issues that affect Brunswick County residents.
True, the results of the 2022 mid-term elections could have been better. But these short-term results shouldn’t deter us from pursuing our values to improve lives in Brunswick County. Like Joe Biden, we’ll be slow and steady, and we’ll ultimately succeed.
Parsing the numbers
Here’s a more in-depth look at Brunswick County’s performance. Some of the numbers are, to be honest, discouraging. But compared to other counties in the 7th Congressional District, Brunswick County Democrats did a credible job of preventing the red tide from creeping further into the political landscape.
Here are some relevant takeaways, prepared by our more learned Party members. First, the bad news:
Brunswick County, the reddest county in our seven-county district, and the fastest-growing, experienced a decrease in the percentage of registered Democrats between 2018 and 2022: 27% to 22%.
The percentage turnout for all party affiliations decreased compared to 2018 — Democrats by 8.1%; Republicans by 3.5%; unaffiliated by 8.9%. Likewise, turnout rates across the state of North Carolina were lower in 2022 versus 2018.
More than 3,000 Brunswick County Democrats who voted in 2018 did not vote in 2022.
According to national trends, red districts that voted for Trump got redder in 2022.
Now for the good news, which helps confirm BCDP moved the needle:
In 2022, 58% of registered Democrats in Brunswick County voted. Statewide, the Democratic turnout rate in 2022 was 51%. We solidly outperformed the state.
According to national trends, we would expect our red county to veer further right in the 2022 election results. For example, Rouzer received 60% of the vote in 2018, and 64% of the vote in 2022. However, given Democrats had a 5% smaller share of Brunswick County’s registered voters in 2022, and Republicans gained a 2% share, the 4% increase for Rouzer is negligible.
Eric Terashima received 38% of the vote vs. Frank Iler in 2022. In 2018, Iler’s Democratic opponent received 37% of the vote. Eric achieved his increased share in spite of having 5% fewer Democratic voters than were registered in 2018.
Below is a chart with voter information for each of the seven counties in District 7.
Source: North Carolina State Board of Elections