Sunday, July 10, 2022

Larry Yarborough, Most Endangered Republican in the NC House?


Larry Yarborough

NC House District 2 went through extensive remapping. Person County remains in the new district (up on the Virginia border north of Durham and Orange), but all of Granville County went away, and District 2 now has a big chunk of northern Durham County, the most Democratic county in the state. NCFree now rates HD2 D+2. Dave's: 54.8% D v. 43.2% R.

In other words, incumbent Republican Yarborough is in trouble. See, he's from Granville County, and Granville's been jerked away. He now lives in Roxboro, the county seat of Person though he's a former Granville County Commish, trained as a chemical engineer and lists "self-employed" as his source of income, and he looks like something of a go-getter in the General Assembly (a regular pick for "select committees" on a variety of issues), but he's a rubberstamp voter for whatever the Republican czars want. Tim Moore appointed him chair of the House Committee on the Environment.

Yarborough was first elected in 2014, actually running against the Democrat who's challenging him again this year: Ray Jeffers. In 2014, Jeffers got over 43% against Yarborough. Now Jeffers is shet of Granville County and has a good chunk of Durham. A solid Democrat with relevant experience could flip this district. 

Ray Jeffers

Ray Jeffers -- on paper, at least -- looks like a solid Democrat. Far from a novice newcomer, he's an experienced elected official, serving over a decade on the Person County Commish (ultimately as its chair), and he's been a leader in all kinds of other NGOs and non-profits, from the Rural Action Caucus for the National Association of Counties, "where he and other key county officials represent America's Rural Counties," plus the N.C. Rural Center, NC Cooperative Extension, and the NC Assoc of County Commishes, on which he's served as president.

He knows stuff. He knows especially how to get things done through the channels of government. And he obviously has an affinity for farming. He's been endorsed by Work for Democracy, a Durham PAC that was active for progressives in 2018 and 2020 and which supplies all-important boots-on-the-ground for canvassing along with "substantial cash contributions."

Matching in a way Jeffers' rural lean, Yarborough certainly presents an outdoorsy vibe, but maybe more in the leisure class. He's an accomplished bow hunter and a serious sport fisherman. A member of the NRA (natch) but also a supporter of some conservation groups. A good-guy-Joe, which might make him more popular than a Democratic takeover. I don't know. Yarborough won't be a pushover, but the numbers are against him.

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