The map for North Carolina House District 19 has been redrawn for this year. Since 2012, Representative Ted Davis, Jr., a Republican from New Hanover County, has held the seat. But with this year’s new maps, he moves to District 20.
And District 19 moves from northern New Hanover County to southern New Hanover County and gains most of southeastern Brunswick County. WHQR talks with the two Democratic candidates hoping to win the March primary.
Republicans make up the majority of registered voters in Brunswick County at nearly 40%. In New Hanover County, unaffiliated voters are the largest bloc. But that’s not a concern for Marcia Morgan, one of the two Democratic candidates for House District 19.
MM: You know, when I grew up, you had a favorite sports team and your buddy may have a different sports team and you kind of were aggravated with each other, but you could still talk to each other. And it seems like it used to be that way with political parties as well… And we've gotten so we're not communicating, we're not actively trying to listen to what the other person is saying and figure out a way to move forward.
Morgan says she learned the importance of bipartisan cooperation as part of her military tour in the Pentagon on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
MM: That's where the different services learn what each other's capabilities are and how they can be stronger by working together. The color that represents the Joint Staff is purple. It's also what you get when you blend red and blue. That is the color of my campaign because that's part of my commitment to work with all of the people, both sides of the aisle. I am willing to work with anyone who will talk to me.
Her opponent in the primary, James Dawkins, says he’s confident that the 2020 election will bring a Democratic majority in the state House.
RLH: Any interest in working with Republicans at all?
JD: Uh, no, not really. I mean, there would be things that they might be able to come up with that I would work with them on like fishing licenses or, or you know, something. But I mean they, they just, they have shown themselves to be pretty much but to a person corrupt, you know, beholden to their donors and that they, they don't, they don't care.
Dawkins describes himself this way:
JD: …A true progressive that believes in Medicaid expansion. I believe in raising the minimum wage. We must fully repeal HB2 because really the bathroom bill was actually a minimum wage bill disguised as a bathroom bill. And when they repealed it, all they repealed was the bathroom part of it.…there's a lot more we could be doing for our poor working class and elderly folks.
Marcia Morgan came within 882 votes of her 2018 opponent, Ted Davis in the general election. That’s a margin of less than two-and-a-half percent. This time, she says with no incumbent in the district because of the new maps, she’s eager to focus on her top priorities.
MM: I believe that the state has two resources that are invaluable. That's our children and our environment… And I believe that a good public education is one of the ways that we can attempt to level out the playing field where there are inequities. It's also where you train a workforce.
And the environment?
MM: We continue to have issues with pollutants in our rivers and that also translate at times into our air and into our land. We've got to get a grip on those things and make sure that the people you know, can get clean water. It just seems like such a simple thing. Yet we have allowed corporations to pollute a major resource. So we've got to fix that.
It was about five years ago, says Dawkins, he started a computer security business mostly for elderly people. He prides himself on his honesty.
JD: And so if you know anything about me, it's that I practice what I preach, that I can't be bought, ‘cause I'm not buying or taking any big pac money. It's all grassroots donations that I'm taking and I've taken no big donor money either.