8 Reasons to be Optimistic About NC Elections in 2018

As we gear up for the 2018 elections, there are many reasons to be hopeful that we can finally break the Republican super-majority in the NC General Assembly – and possibly even take back the NC House altogether. Here's why FLIP NC is fired up for 2018.

1. Democrats are Crushing the National Congressional Ballot

Democrats currently hold an enormous 11-point advantage on the national generic congressional ballot. This significant a lead – even a year out from the election – is strongly predictive of a huge national wave for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

2. Trump’s Approval Rating in NC

Voters in North Carolina are as unhappy with Donald Trump as the rest of the country. In fact, Trump’s net approval rating in North Carolina is worse than average (about -20% compared with about -17% nationwide).

3. 2017 Virginia State Elections

Following massive voter turnout efforts, Democrats in Virginia picked up at least 15 seats in the House of Delegates, including 5 in districts where they didn’t even field a candidate in 2015. In the other 10 districts, the average result flipped from a 15-point Republican win in 2015 to a 10-point Democratic victory in 2017 – a 25-point swing!

4. New Legislative Maps

With the release last week of the Special Master’s draft maps, we are close to having final legislative maps for 2018 that are no longer racially gerrymandered. The new maps give us a great chance to pick up the four seats we need to break the GOP supermajority in the NC House. Two newly-drawn districts should be easy pick-ups for Democrats (NC-H8 and NC-H61), and Gov. Cooper won 4 others in Wake and Mecklenburg Counties (NC-H35, 36, 104, and 105) that are prime targets.

5. An 8-Point Swing to Win the NC House

Many other GOP-held seats in the NC House were won by small margins. It would take only an 8-point swing statewide (relative to Gov. Cooper’s performance in 2016) to win enough seats to take back the NC House altogether – a goal within reach in 2018 with a big enough Democratic wave.

6. Blue-Moon Election

We won’t have a Presidential or US Senate race in 2018 to bring people to the polls in NC. These blue-moon elections happen every 12 years, and voter turnout has historically been incredibly low (only 37% in 2006 compared with 67% in 2016). This low base turnout means we can have a huge impact on the election just by getting Democrats to the polls.

7. Our Coalition

The progressive focus on NC legislative elections has never been greater. We are part of a growing coalition of progressive groups working on every part of the effort needed for a Democratic wave in 2018, from fundraising to identifying strong candidates to strategic analysis to voter outreach. Shout out to America Votes, Aim Higher Now, Indivisibles NC, Protect Our Vote NC, Everyone’s NC, Neighbors on Call, Now or Never NC, Our Shot NC and Stronger NC. Click through to find out more about the great work each group is doing!

8. Grassroots Groups Rising


A major part of FLIP NC’s mission is supporting grassroots groups across the state that are eager to work on elections in their local areas. From Asheville to Charlotte to Greensboro to the Outer Banks, we’re already hearing from many grassroots groups ready to start working on 2018 elections.

If your group would like to work on elections in 2018, let’s connect! You can reach us via email, Facebook or Twitter. We can provide any support you need to start, build and sustain your efforts (help to identify the best places to work; training, materials, walk sheets and call lists; help to lead your first canvass; and ongoing support).


2018 is almost here, and we can feel the progressive momentum building. We must take back the NC House to restore fair legislative and congressional maps for the next decade. By coordinating our efforts and harnessing the incredible grassroots energy across the state, we can win in 2018. Join the coalition, and let’s get to work!

Virginia Shows North Carolina the Way

Virginia has provided the perfect two-step road map for North Carolina. First, we need to run strong progressive candidates in all districts that are even remotely competitive, including many where Democrats didn’t field a candidate in 2016. Second, we need to turn out fired-up Democratic voters in record numbers.

Into the Weeds with the Special Master

This post is for those who would like to get a little more into the weeds about what the Federal Court’s instructions given yesterday to the Special Master mean for Democrats' chances to break the supermajority in the NC House in 2018. The great news is that the maps should get much better for Democrats – relative to the maps proposed by the GOP – for at least three reasons.

Will the Supreme Court Restore Our Democracy?

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning in the Wisconsin redistricting case. That any of the justices can fail to see that extreme partisan gerrymandering (by either party) completely undermines the democratic process is shocking – and yet it was clear today that Justice Kennedy will cast the decisive vote in this critical case.

Kennedy did not ask any questions of the challengers in court today. Many observers say that bodes well for our side of this. Let’s hope they’re right – the fate of our democracy hangs in the balance.

In 2018, Focus on Turning Out Dem Voters

The bad news for our democracy: attempts to win over swing voters basically have no measurable effect. The good news for 2018 elections? We don't need to convince swing voters of anything. We just need to get our people to the polls.

Making Dems More Vulnerable

We previously shared analysis showing that, of the sixteen most competitive NC House districts currently held by Republicans, eleven have been slanted more heavily for Republicans in the NC GOP’s proposed map, while only two were drawn more favorably for Democrats. It gets worse...

Coloring Outside the Lines

One of the most striking features of the NC GOP's proposed redistricting plan is their attempt to use the court-ordered redrawing of the gerrymandered districts as a ploy to re-draw much of the legislative map in its favor. By re-configuring county groupings and then redrawing the districts within them, they have reached far beyond the gerrymandered districts and redrawn two-thirds of the NC House map under the guise of fixing the current split counties THEY CREATED.

The New GOP Maps Are Out and They’re Worse Than Ever

Less than 36 hours before the ONLY opportunity for public comment on the proposed new legislative maps, the NC GOP finally released the correlating election data. We see why they don’t want the public to have time to see and understand these new maps. We compared the proposed maps to the current, unconstitutional ones: Of the sixteen GOP-held NC House districts FLIP NC had identified as the most "flippable" based on past election results, ELEVEN have been slanted more heavily for the GOP, while ONLY TWO were drawn more favorably for Democrats.