Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Sarah Crawford Is Running in the Redrawn 18th NC Senate District

Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer lists the remapped 18th Senate District (northern Wake and Franklin County) as "Competitive, Democratic Favored." His analysis found the predicted Democratic vote share in 2020 at 51% against the predicted Republican vote share of 49%.

This is the district that incumbent Republican John Alexander still represents, but he said after the most recent remapping made it clear that his district was becoming more Democratic, he wouldn't be running again.

Sarah Crawford
Democrat Mack Paul came perilously close to ousting Alexander in the elections of 2018, but Mack Paul -- who could have run again as the odds-on contender -- deferred to Christine Kushner, a Wake School Board member, who announced she would be running way back in April of this year. When the newest remapping threw Kushner out of the district, Democrat Sarah Crawford stepped forward.

Sarah Crawford is now the odds-on Democratic frontrunner for the 18th Senate District.

Crawford is not a political neophyte. She ran against Republican incumbent Chad Barefoot in 2014 in what was then Senate District 18, and she carried 47.1% of the vote -- a very respectable showing -- finishing 3,785 votes behind Barefoot out of 65,507 votes cast. (In 2018, Barefoot voluntarily stepped down and allowed his "double-bunkee" John Alexander to take the seat. Alexander had been serving in the Senate since 2014, representing Senate District 15. He got remapped out of 15 and into 18. Redrawing maps to screw with people seems to happen a lot to this North Raleigh and Franklin County district. Don't you think?)

Crawford was well known in those Raleigh and Franklin County neighborhoods in 2014 and may still be a familiar name. But "political time" is like dog years, and six years off the field is a whole generation of new voters. She only just announced via Twitter on Monday of this week, so her campaign infrastructure (a website, a Twitter feed, a Facebook page) seems like political khaki -- standard issue and colorless. I've seen her campaign video from 2014. I hope she'll rethink static "talking-head" presentations (soooo 2006!). We're in a new age of innovative ways to tell a candidate's story. I imagine the introductory video for "Sarah Crawford 2020" that is right now, even as I write this, a magnificant gleam in some video developer's eye. (See "A Modest Proposal" below)  Hint: Crawford has a resume of "super-volunteerism" and the chops of an effective community organizer with clear eleemosynary instincts and energies. That's a story worth telling about a would-be public servant.

While the 18th Senate District was still the old map, and Christine Kushner was gearing up to run (before getting mapped out), another Democrat, Matt Cox, a veteran of the US Navy and a businessman, had also announced he would run a primary for the seat against Kushner. Since the remapping, Matt Cox has gone dark. He hasn't posted anything on Twitter since Sept. 13. Same silence on his Facebook page. Suggests  he also got drawn out of the district or has otherwise changed his mind.

The North Carolina Democratic Party needs to budget the resources to put Putnam Partners (with the great Frank Eaton) on retainer to do candidate videos and other advertising chores for Democratic candidates for NC House and Senate, particularly.

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