From Equality NC
Despite doubts and indifference about Cheri Beasley’s U.S. Senate campaign from the national Democratic establishment – which led to a $25M spending deficit compared to her far-right opponent – progressive organizations in North Carolina knocked on 263,000 doors, made 1.71 million calls, had 211,000 conversations with voters, sent 2.1 million pieces of mail, and sent 1.1 million texts to turn out historically disenfranchised voters.
Although Cheri Beasley fell short of winning in the U.S. Senate, there is much to celebrate in North Carolina following the election.
Thanks to the efforts of grassroots progressive organizations, Republicans were blocked in their effort to assert a supermajority in the N.C. House – an outcome that will protect abortion access for millions of North Carolinians. The fight for the House came down to a single district, and represents a landmark southern victory that was won through the effort and dedication of grassroots activists and organizations.
The coalition leaders have collectively been organizing on the ground in North Carolina for decades.
Many of our organizations are newer to the ecosystem as we have built bases and built power that have led to sustained organizing work – but our leaders and our base have hundreds of years’ worth of organizing under our belts.
North Carolina has experienced years of underinvestment in and disenfranchisement of communities of color. Collectively, our organizations had over 89,000 conversations on the doors with voters, and those conversations made crystal clear that progressive issues resonate with voters. Our coalition continues to build an infrastructure that narrows the margin year after year.
We know that both political parties have historically overlooked communities of color – Latinx, Asian and African American – but our organizations have done the year-round work to connect with our communities to shrink margins between voter turnouts.
The collaborative voter outreach efforts of Siembra NC and Poder NC are two examples of that shrinking margin within the Latinx community. Both organizations focused on voters who are consistently ignored during elections. Siembra NC focused on turning out new voters, knocking on 21,000 doors this cycle. Canvassers spoke to person after person who said no one had ever come to talk to them about an election before. Poder showed up in mailboxes and focused on the 55,418 high opportunity voters they engaged in 2020 who cast their first ballot that year after skipping the 2016 and 2018 elections. The mail pieces were unique, culturally resonant, and informative, and highlighted issues like abortion access, and these voters make up a preliminary 17 percent of the total early votes cast by Latinx North Carolinians this election.
We had to make tough choices because funding was limited for all of our organizations this year. The pressure to maximize our dollars gave us the opportunity to focus on the more than 50,000 voters that we knew others would fail to prioritize and that we see as high opportunity. The focus and investment paid off in grounding the growth we know is possible for the Latinx electorate in this state.
We led with conviction and love for our communities and did not give up on them, even when others saw our state as unwinnable. The reality is that Cheri Beasley could have won, but only if North Carolina had seen the same kind of investment as other states. We know our communities best and the power of the people prevailed. We are only getting started!
When we have the chance to support a candidate as qualified as Cheri and who leads with her values and fairness, we step up our engagement. We double down when she is a Black woman because we need to increase representation of this powerful voting bloc in halls of power, especially in the U.S. Senate – which currently has zero Black women serving. The rural voters we work with achieved important successes including blocking a supermajority in Raleigh and protecting reproductive freedoms. We know that building power will take time and we know that it will happen.
The authors are Dreama Caldwell of Down Home NC; Natalia Diez, co-executive director of Poder NC; and Nida Allam, Care in Action North Carolina state director.
By Tami Fitzgerald
NC Values Coalition expressed enthusiasm regarding the General Election results, as conservatives dominated in North Carolina, sweeping statewide judicial races, securing a supermajority in the Senate and a working super-majority in the House, winning the US Senate seat and keeping a majority of Congressional seats.
We are encouraged the majority of North Carolina voters have sided with conservative values, and we congratulate all those conservative candidates who won their elections, especially Senator-elect Ted Budd. NC Values has worked hard vetting and supporting conservative candidates and educating voters about candidate positions, issues and the importance of this election. We look forward to working with incumbents and new legislators on our legislative agenda.
Sixty-nine of 81 NC Values Coalition endorsed candidates won, not including school board candidates across the state. All six statewide judicial candidates promoted by NC Values won their elections.
Running for office is a tremendous sacrifice, and we want to thank everyone who ran, and congratulate our endorsed candidates on their victories. We have enjoyed getting to know new candidates during our endorsement process, and we know the fresh perspectives they bring will make this an exciting and productive legislative session.
NC Values Coalition is a statewide influencer on elections and this cycle launched a statewide get out the vote effort which included targeting pro-life voters across the state with direct mail, publishing articles about the importance of voting and various races, and educating its supporters with endorsements and a myriad of elections communications. NC Values’ sister organization, Institute for Faith & Family, sponsored a digital campaign across the state to motivate pro-life voters to get out and vote. The organization also partners with iVoterGuide to bring voters a reliable resource with information about which candidates share their values, and offers a detailed Voter Toolkit, outlining information about voting.
NC Values has been paving the way to elect candidates to office who will be leaders on our pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom values on the state and federal level We are excited about the multitude of victories last night and the opportunities those victories represent. We are fine-tuning our legislative agenda and are ready to make a big impact this legislative session.
Tami Fitzgerald is executive director of NC Values Coalition.