by Jordan Green

10 BEST reasons for Obama to worry about NC

‘No preference’

Coming out of a tumultuous primary, President Obama’s prospects for carrying the crucial swing state of North Carolina in the general election look increasingly shaky. Start with the 20.8 percent of the Democratic vote cornered by Obama’s only primary opponent, “no preference.” It’s hard to tell the extent to which these are conservative Democrats with tea-party inclinations or progressives angry about Obama’s lack of boldness. If it’s more the latter, they’ll probably hold their nose and vote against presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in November.

Republican gains

Since Obama’s historic win in North Carolina four years ago, the state has become a focal point for the tea-party backlash that swept the country in 2009. The following year the Republicans took control of both houses of the General Assembly for the first time in more than a century.

Perdue steps aside

Gov. Beverly Perdue’s decision not to seek reelection was probably a concession that she could not beat presumptive Republican nominee Pat McCrory — again signaling lack of confidence within the party overall — but it also gave rise to speculation about impending scandal. The decision was suppose to energize the party, but eventual primary winner Walter Dalton and other hopefuls failed to generate much excitement.

state party scandal

Throw in a scandal in the NC Democratic Party revolving around sexual-harassment allegations against the former executive director, and things get weird and divisive within the party. Following revelations that party Chairman David Parker authorized a settlement payment to an unidentified employee, Perdue, Dalton and other top elected officials asked him to step down.

Internal division and kookiness

Parker offered his resignation during an executive committee meeting in Greensboro on May 12 and then left, ostensibly to clean out his office. Then a funny thing happened: Party functionaries loyal to their chairman rebelled against party leadership, and voted to reject Parker’s resignation. The rift makes the party look petty, divided and inward looking, raising questions about whether its leadership has a vision for the state.

Marriage amendment woes

Many opponents of the marriage amendment expressed betrayal when Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage the day after the devastating vote, instead of before when it might have made a difference. They missed the point: The president’s stance would not have changed the outcome, and passage of the marriage amendment would have looked like a rebuke from a state he desperately needs to win in November. It still looks bad.

Black voters and gay marriage

Much has been made of the risk that Obama will alienate support from black voters with his stance on gay marriage. Yet vocal opposition to the marriage amendment by the state NAACP, black clergy across the Triad and successful black legislative candidates from Forsyth County candidates counters the notion that this community is behind the curve of public opinion.

Apathy at the base

While the state Democratic Party’s executive committee was meeting on May 12, an Obama volunteer attempted to register voters in front of Food Lion on East Market Street, in the heart of a black, urban area that delivered significant votes for Obama four years ago. The volunteer said three people had turned him down and he chased a fourth shopper who spurned his advances into the store. With unemployment for black North Carolinians double the rate for their white counterparts, Democrats may have a tough time mobilizing this constituency.

Labor troubles

Some unions have pledged to boycott the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte to protest North Carolina’s right-to-work laws and the city’s lack of unionized hotels. Choosing Charlotte was supposed to shore up the North Carolina vote, but the city’s status as a national banking center could also sour working-class Democratic constituencies who feel that the party is too cozy with the financial industry.

Possible corruption

Don’t look now, but a former congressional candidate in the 5th district, Dr. Bruce Peller, has been in touch with the FBI about alleged mismanagement by a former campaign consultant.

Chris Church, the consultant, appears to have orchestrated the formation of a political action committee that used deceptive and aggressive tactics to manipulate uninformed voters.

The committee’s slate of endorsed candidates includes Dalton and Linda Coleman.