"I'm going to stay up until midnight Dec. 31 just to make sure 2020 leaves." (Facebook meme)
Despite COVID, 2020 was another good year for the Wake Libertarian Party. All of our General Assembly candidates did well, adding more evidence to the view that money doesn't guarantee votes. Even with a shoestring budget, a Libertarian candidate can have an impact on the election.
North Carolina set a record for voter turnout at 75.3%.
One thing is clear – North Carolina is still deeply purple. Democrat Governor Roy Cooper did not win re-election by as big a margin as most polls predicted, but he still won. And soon-to-be-former Republican President Donald Trump won the state.
One thing the polls were right about is how people were going to vote. Most voters used early in-person (49%) or voted by absentee ballot (13.6%).
Unfortunately, Libertarian Steve DiFiore fell short of getting two percent of the vote for governor. However, the LPNC will retain ballot access because our presidential candidate was on the ballot in more than 35 states.
Locally, we did very well. Liam Leaver probably contributed to the Republican pick up in the state House. He spent less than $800 and voiced a positive message in a race where there was a lot of money – and nasty advertising – thrown around. Democratic incumbent Sydney Batch raised more than $1 million, while the victorious Republican challenger Erin Pare took in just over $227,000.
It appears only one Libertarian candidate, Shannon Bray (U.S. Senate), “beat the spread” between the establishment parties. Three legislative candidates in Wake hit close to or above 5% in three-way races.
The U.S. Senate race was again the most expensive in the nation. The establishment parties and outside special interest groups spend more than $300 million. Our Libertarian candidate was again the target of dark money ops as in 2016, this time via mailers.
For the sixth consecutive General Assembly election, Republicans came out on top. There was no Blue Wave. Not even a ripple. Democrats had a net loss of four state House seats but picked up one state Senate seat. Pare’s win in House 37 gave Wake one Republican legislator, again.
Once again, election results illustrated that money does equate to victory.
Both Governor Cooper and the Republican leadership in the General Assembly seemed to hope the other would be gone after the 2020 elections. This was not the case. We hope that compromise prevails in the 2021 long session and that they can agree on a meaningful but modest budget. We also remain hopeful that the new district maps the legislature draws up are done well enough to spare North Carolina citizens another decade of court battles.
Now it is time to start planning for 2021 ... but not right now. Take a break for the holidays. Please mark your calendar with our county convention dates in April and the state convention in June. We look forward to a renewed series of guest speakers at the weekly WakeLP MeetUps (COVID restrictions allowing).