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NHCDP Chairman Andre Brown talks 2022 election results, and what's next

On this episode, we sit down with Andre Brown, chair of the New Hanover Democratic Party. We’ll talk about the tough, but relatively close, loss of all four school board spots in this year’s election — and what that means for the coming years. Plus, what’s next for the party as many are already gearing up for the 2023 municipal elections.

At the national level, Democratic candidates defied expectations — based by historical trends — and held a so-called ‘Red Wave’ at bay. Republicans made key gains, including taking the House, but Democrats weren’t routed the way the party in power often is during midterm elections.

But locally, Republicans had a stronger showing, holding onto all of their state-level incumbent spots, including the hard-fought, and unprecedentedly expensive, State Senate District 7 race between Michael Lee and Marcia Morgan. Morgan joined the race late as effectively the third Democratic candidate, after Adam Ericson backed out before filing and Jason Minicozzi stepped down – either due to allegations of predatory behavior or a lack of financial support, depending on who you ask. She also stepped into a district that had been recently re-gerrymandered, with a carve-out removing staunchly liberal precincts in downtown Wilmington.

The GOP also swept the school board, a turn of events that surprised even Republican operatives. The four conservative candidates, who ran what amounted to a joint campaign, overcame both challengers and incumbents from the Democratic party, candidates who had, at best, a more fractious alliance. Even with significant outside spending by a liberal-progressive PAC, the Democrat most bet on — Veronica McLaurin-Brown, who built her campaign on a bedrock of successful advocacy against elementary school suspension — fell behind the fourth-place GOP candidate, Melissa Mason.

And, of course, many are now setting their sights on the 2023 municipal elections — and even though filing doesn't officially start until July 7, and the races aren't technically partisan, that doesn't mean the parties aren't already at work. New Hanover County GOP Chairman Will Knecht told us he got to work on the City of Wilmington race early in the morning after Election Day — and the county's Democratic Party is no doubt doing the same.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.