During the 2016 General Election, there were several pivotal statewide elections that merited special support and vigilance on the part of the NCGOP leadership. Three pivotal races we lost were the governor, attorney general, and supreme court associate justice races. This article pertains to the supreme court race.
Any time an organization like the NCGOP suffers a humiliating defeat, it is incumbent on the party to perform an after action review to determine just what went wrong and how to prevent a recurrence in future elections. Following the 2014 debacle – in which we lost all three associate justice races – the governing body of the NCGOP performed no such analysis. This analytical oversight led to a repeat loss in the 2016 associate justice race (Bob Edmunds). That mistake alone should have been grounds for electing a new leader for the party. It put conservative, Republican Party jurists in the minority on our high court.
Incredulous as it may seem, our current Chairman blamed the general assembly for the loss and grossly underestimated our vulnerability to losing Justice Barbara Jackson’s seat in 2018. In a recorded debate in 2017, Chairman Hayes blandly dismissed the Jackson race as a simple task of labeling her with an “R” on the ballot. Well, Chairman Hayes was proven wrong, yet again- worsening our posture on the high court. Now, with Chief Justice Martin’s sudden departure, we are at a 6-1 disadvantage on the court, and that one associate justice (Paul Newby) is in a fight to keep at least one Republican our the State Supreme Court. This is a travesty!
We simply MUST put together an action plan to reverse the strategic mistakes our leaders have made the past three election cycles. But first, we need to elect a new, energetic NCGOP Chairman who can execute such a plan and never allow such a tragedy to be repeated.
Next, we must recognize the need to mobilize conservative voters for the 2020 election- perhaps the most pivotal general election in the nation’s history. I will arm the districts, counties, and precincts with the media and tools to educate and inform voters about all council of state and judicial candidates so we have a fighting chance to win every race.
As Chairman, I will personally consult with our judicial candidates to synchronize our collective work on their campaigns. I will make sure their signs and campaign materials are widely circulated early in the campaign (a major improvement over what happened with the Edmunds and Jackson races). I will conduct targeted issues polling to ensure we are shaping voter opinions about the judicial races in bellwether jurisdictions. Finally, I will share the tips and best practices we’ve observed all across the state so counties and precincts can achieve the results we know we need to win victory. Then, immediately following the election, we will perform a deliberate post-mortem analysis of the election’s lessons learned and adjust our planning for the 2022 NC Supreme Court races.
Under my leadership, we will win the 2020 and 2022 races, setting our sights on taking back control of the High Court in 2022. We will prevail!
Learn more about Jim Womack here.