Republicans hopeful about NC midterms after VA results

Volunteers make phone calls to voters during the Republican National Committee's National Weekend of Action on Oct. 23. File photo

RALEIGH — Alex Nolley, the North Carolina communications director for the Republican National Committee (RNC), said in a press release that the RNC believes the results in Virginia, where Republicans dominated Democrats up and down the ticket, were “foreshadowing what the 2022 midterms will look like for Democrats in North Carolina.”

The Virginia results saw Republican candidate for governor Glenn Younkin defeat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The vote was a major shift from the double-digit victory Democrats had in the presidential race a year ago.

Nolley also quotes RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel in saying that the “red wave has begun.” The press release then links to multiple articles from all sides of the aisle, in and out of North Carolina, predicting major headwinds for Democrats in North Carolina and nationally based on the Virginia results.

One article written before the Virginia elections, by Ned Barnett, associate editor of the left-leaning opinion pages of the Raleigh News & Observer, predicted, “The Republican Party has become the Party of Trump. How he affects the Virginia race will say a lot about which of North Carolina’s polarized forces will prevail in 2022.”

Another article from the same paper written after results came in, though, noted that former President Trump did not define Youngkin’s campaign as Democrats had hoped it would, saying, “For Youngkin, a victory in Virginia meant keeping Trump at a safe distance. Trump endorsed Youngkin, giving the candidate the ability to win over some of the former president’s supporters. But Youngkin turned his focus away from Trump as his campaign wore on.”

Many analysts have called this a potentially winning strategy for Republicans in 2022 — harness the energy of Trump’s base by accepting endorsements and not repudiating Trump, but recover moderate and suburban voters, which Republicans lost in 2020, by not making Trump a major part of their campaigns.

“Newsflash for Democrats: swampy socialist policies that raise taxes, kill jobs, increase prices, defund our police, open our borders, weaken parents, and force indoctrination into our schools are NOT POPULAR,” Nolley continued in the statement. “Commentators and reporters across the spectrum got the message. Will North Carolina Democrats?”

Volunteers make door-to-door voter contacts during the Republican National Committee’s National Weekend of Action on Oct. 23. File photo

Republicans in the state didn’t wait for Virginia’s results to start working on their 2022 plans. At the end of October, activists in the party held a “National Weekend of Action” that included over 30 events that educate volunteers on voter contact best practices.

“Every time a volunteer has a conversation with an undecided voter, that voter becomes more likely to get out the vote. The events that took place during National Weekend of Action this weekend are emblematic of the RNC’s extensive grassroots efforts to mobilize voters and ensure a Republican victory,” Nolley said to NSJ.

The RNC held training sessions in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Lumberton, Greenville and Raleigh engaging over 500 volunteers in training sessions, door knocking, and phone banking.