Ladies and Gentlemen, the Next President of the United States … by Process of Elimination Part 6: The Five Safest Incumbents in 2016 American Politics are the Female Members of the North Carolina Council of State This is the sixth in a series of reports on the race for U.S. President. The series will
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Next President of the United States … by Process of Elimination
Part 6: The Five Safest Incumbents in 2016 American Politics are the Female Members of the North Carolina Council of State
This is the sixth in a series of reports on the race for U.S. President. The series will unfold by process of elimination, interlocked with trends analyses, and conclude with my forecast for the next president.
July 14, 2015 Vol. VIII, No. 10 2:13 pm
18 Wins; 0 Losses Vanquished Males: 16
What was former five-term (2001-2011) Democratic Mayor of Raleigh Charles Meeker thinking when he announced last week that he was going to challenge four-term Republican Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry in her race for a fifth term in 2016?
Doesn’t Meeker know that the five women on the North Carolina Council of State have a win/loss record of 18 and 0? Doesn’t he know that all 16 men who dared to challenge them since 1996 have been defeated?
Sixteen men. Vanquished, one and all. A NASCAR legend, a state senator, the incumbent State Auditor, prominent attorneys, wealthy businessmen, school board chairs, and a former speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
Not only have the five women on North Carolina’s Council of State never lost a Council of State race, they are all historic state leaders as significant as any founding father.
- Elaine Marshall, D-Harnett, Secretary of State, the first woman elected to a statewide executive office (1996) in North Carolina history
- Cherie Berry, R-Catawba, first woman elected Commissioner of Labor (2000), and the first female Republican to serve on the North Carolina Council of State
- June Atkinson, D-Wake, first woman elected Supt. of Public Instruction (2004)
- Beth Wood, D-Craven, first woman elected State Auditor (2008)
- Janet Cowell, D-Wake, first woman elected State Treasurer (2008)
Combine the likely female voter registration and turnout advantages for the female members of the North Carolina Council of State with their legendary political battlefield successes, and you can see why they are arguably the five safest incumbents in 2016 American politics.
Legendary Political Battlefield Successes
The women on the North Carolina Council of State share a win/loss record of 18 and 0.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall has 5 wins 0 losses for her seat on the Council of State, defeating 6 men along the way, three in 1996. Those men include NASCAR legend Richard Petty, a Republican, along with Libertarian Lewis Guignard and Natural Law Party candidate Stephen Richter. She defeated Petty by a comfortable margin of 53.5% to 45.2%.
Marshall has defeated all Republican challengers handily, including state Sen. Harris Blake (2000) and Jack Sawyer (2008). In 2012, Marshall defeated her Republican challenger Ed Goodwin by 54% to 46%, spending $692,000 to his $104,000.
Marshall heads the National Association of Secretaries of State.
As the first woman elected to a statewide executive office, Marshall’s service to the state of North Carolina is historic. Her political battlefield successes are legendary.
Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry has 4 wins and 0 losses for her seat on the Council of State, defeating 3 men along the way. She defeated Democrats Doug Berger and Wayne Goodwin in 2000 and 2004, and won a fourth term in 2012 by defeating her Democrat challenger John Brooks by 53% to 47%, spending $176,000 to Brooks’ $18,000.
Berry honed her leadership skills in the world of business serving as president of a manufacturing company, LGM, in Maiden. Berry began honing her political skills in 1992 when she won the first of four terms in the North Carolina House.
In 1996, under her leadership as Co-Chair of the House Welfare Reform Committee, Berry, along with fellow committee Co-Chair Rep. Julia Howard, a Rowan County Republican, were arguably the first women in the North Carolina legislature to wield enough raw political power to successfully pass a major piece of controversial legislation despite strong opposition from the male leaders of the state Senate and House, and over the protestations of Democratic Governor Hunt.
“We were the Thelma and Louise of the North Carolina General Assembly,” Berry said of her relationship with Howard during the 1996 Welfare Reform debate.
As the first female Labor Commissioner, Berry’s service to the state is historic. Her political career is legendary. Having her picture in every elevator in the state for 15 years has even inspired young people to write songs about her. Check out Cherie Berry Wow.
Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, has 3 wins 0 losses for her seat on the Council of State, defeating 3 men along the way. Those men include Bill Fletcher in 2004, a former Chairman of the Wake County School Board, and Richard Morgan in 2008, a former Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House.
Atkinson won a third term in 2012, defeating Republican John Tedesco, also a former Wake County School Board Chairman, by 54% to 46%, spending $320,000 to Tedesco’s $85,000.
Atkinson demonstrated her political prowess during her first campaign when she won the last undecided 2004 race in the United States. Atkinson finally prevailed on August 23, 2005, when a historic joint session of the North Carolina General Assembly elected her Superintendent of Public Instruction along partisan lines over Wake County Republican Bill Fletcher.
The last time the North Carolina legislature decided the outcome of a statewide race was in 1835. The law establishing the procedure for the state legislature to decide the outcome of the race also prohibits an appeal of the decision to any state court.
As the first female Superintendent of Public Instruction, Atkinson’s service to the state is historic. Her political battlefield acumen is seasoned by three successful campaigns.
State Auditor Beth Wood has 2 wins 0 losses for her seat on the Council of State, beginning in 2008, when she defeated Republican incumbent State Auditor Les Merritt. In 2012, Democrat Beth Wood defeated her Republican challenger Debra Goldman, a member of the Wake County School Board, by 54% to 46%, spending $461,000 to Goldman’s $26,000.
Beth Wood is tough. She grew up on her family’s tobacco farm in Craven County. She put herself through East Carolina and became a CPA.
It’s that toughness of personal character that has allowed Wood to stand strong behind controversial audits of state agencies. Most recently, Wood discovered abuses in the Office of Medicaid Management Information Systems Services (OMMISS) within the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Her audit disclosed $1.6 million wasted through excessive wages and commissions, unjustified overtime, and holiday pay to ineligible employees.
As the first female State Auditor, Beth Wood’s service to the state is historic. She has been recognized nationally as one of the Top 25 most powerful women in accounting. She has saved the state tens of millions of dollars. Her political battlefield successes are likely to grow in 2016.
State Treasurer Janet Cowell has 2 wins 0 losses for her seat on the Council of State, defeating 5 men along the way. Those men include Democrats Michael Weisel and David Young in the 2008 Democratic Primary, and Republican Bill Daughtridge in the 2008 General Election.
In 2012, Democrat Janet Cowell defeated primary opponent Ron Elmer. She went on to defeat her Republican General Election challenger Steve Royal by 54% to 46%, spending $1.2 million to Royal’s $13,736.
Cowell, who manages $90 billion in pension investments, is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Under her leadership, North Carolina is one of only nine states to earn a AAA bond rating by all three rating agencies.
As the first female State Treasurer, Janet Cowell’s service to the state is historic. She has earned the state tens of millions of dollars with smart investment decisions, and is recognized internationally as one of the Top 25 public fund investors in the world.
Her political battlefield successes are likely to grow in 2016.
Hillary Clinton for President Factor
The women on the North Carolina Council of State share a win/loss record of 18 and 0.
In North Carolina, there are 3,396,342 female voters (54.4%) to 2,852,510 male voters (45.6%). In 2012, the gap between the number of female and male voters in North Carolina’s presidential race was over 490,000 out of 4.5 million votes cast.
If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in 2016, gender pride will ensure that the gap between the number of female and male voters will be even greater than it was in 2012.
The female voter registration and turnout advantage, coupled with the power of gender solidarity in 2016, bodes well for the five women on North Carolina’s Council of State; arguably the five safest incumbents in 2016 American politics.
Male challengers beware.
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