An Obvious Choice in NC-02

Ultra-conservative state Sen. Don Davis

If you haven’t heard by now, Erica Smith has transitioned from the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina to an open U.S. House seat in NC-02. NC-02 is one of the last truly rural Democratic districts in the nation. It’s been a Democratic stronghold for more than a century, (although it’s been chiefly represented by corporate hacks). This year, the North Carolina General Assembly has racially gerrymandered the district to a D+2 margin (from D+12). The NRCC has already added NC-02 to their list of seats to flip Republican. It’s a crucial race in a cycle where projected Democratic losses in rural areas could be apocalyptic. Whether or not the Democratic nominee in this race can actually energize and persuade the rural voters that are increasingly voting Republican is of extreme importance. That’s why Erica Smith has to be the nominee.

So look, in the U.S. Senate race the contrast between Erica and the rest of the primary field was pretty obvious. She was the only one in the race who supported Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, abolishing the filibuster, cracking down on the military-industrial complex, and more. Believe it or not, the contrasts are even more formidable in this new race! In both the primary and general, Erica Smith is the only pro-choice candidate in this race. She’s the only candidate in the race who supports universal healthcare, much less Medicare for All. She’s the only candidate in the race who supports increasing teacher pay. That’s because her chief opponent in the Democratic primary is North Carolina State Senator Don Davis, the most conservative Democratic member of the entire General Assembly, a perfect candidate... if you think Congress needs more members like Joe Manchin.

Let’s start with women’s rights. In 2019, the North Carolina GOP, along with Republican legislatures across the country (including the US Congress), brought forward a 'Born-Alive' Bill. These bills were deeply cynical and manipulative Republican inventions to shame abortion providers and recipients across the nation. Don Davis was one of only two Democrats in the State Senate to vote for the bill. When Governor Cooper vetoed the bill, Don Davis shockingly made the critical swing vote to override the veto, voting, as he so often does, with the Republicans. He was the only Democratic vote to override the veto. Was that enough for you? Please contribute to Erica Smith's campaign here.

Davis is also one of two Democratic Senators who didn’t co-sponsor the 2019 Medicaid expansion bill that would close the coverage gap in North Carolina. He’s been a vocal advocate against Medicaid expansion in the state, probably because he’s received tens of thousands of dollars from physician groups and health insurance corporate PACs. Medicaid expansion is the least Democrats can do to fix our broken healthcare system. Davis sided with corporations over the 500,000 low-income people throughout the state that would receive healthcare if Medicaid was expanded.

Davis was also the only Democratic Senator to refuse to co-sponsor a bi-partisan bill to increase the pay of teachers with Master’s degrees. Davis himself is a former educator, but he didn’t see fit to increase the abysmal teacher pay in the state of North Carolina, which is ranked nearly last nationwide in teacher pay.

If this is how he votes in the North Carolina State Senate, how will he vote in Congress? Here’s a couple things we can surmise from his record:

  • He wouldn’t vote for even the much diluted Build Back Better bill.

  • He wouldn’t vote to codify Roe v. Wade.

  • He wouldn’t vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Those are all top priorities for Erica Smith.

What’s the point of electing a Democrat like Don Davis? Does anyone imagine that what Congress needs are more members like anti-family faux Democrats and obstructionists Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin and Josh Gottheimer?

This was alluded to earlier, but the reason behind Senator Davis’s terrible voting record is he’s completely beholden to corporate PACs. His finance disclosures are littered with large donations from corporations like Duke Energy, Monsanto and Lorillard Tobacco. If Democrats are going to hold off the rural Republican wave in NC-02, they’ll have to nominate Erica Smith, who’s sworn off money from corporate PACs and is fundamentally a champion for people, not profits.

For decades now Erica’s been fighting for rural communities and working people all across North Carolina. As a state senator she fought to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour, legalize marijuana, restore voting rights to felons, and more. She’s advocated for a Green New Deal & Medicare for All across every county in her state, helped downballot progressives get elected throughout North Carolina, and marched in Elizabeth City for days after Andrew Brown Jr.’s murder by the hands of police. She’s the leader of the progressive movement in North Carolina.

It seems to me that voters in NC-02 have an obvious choice in their Democratic Primary. As for those of us who don't live in northeast North Carolina, please consider clicking on the Blue America 2022 congressional thermometer above and contributing what you can to Erica's campaign.