North Carolina State Senate District 1 – Bill Cook (R)
The 1st district was the site of the closest legislative election in the entire state, and one of the closest elections in the entire nation. After a recount, State Rep. Bill Cook prevailed over the appointed incumbent Democrat, Stan White. Cook’s margin of victory was 21 votes. So, it should not be surprising that the 1st is likely to be a competitive race again in 2014, and White himself is gearing up for a rematch.
White must go through a primary before he proceeds to the general election. His challenger is Judy Krahenbuhl, retired educator and former chairman of the Dare County Democratic Party. Krahenbuhl is not an unserious candidate, but White has the name recognition and the support given his status as a past legislator, and shouldn’t have too much trouble clenching his party’s nomination.
Notably, this was the seat of former Senate president Marc Basnight, and this area has a long tradition of electing Democrats. Underlying trends favor Republicans, and a potential drop in turnout among the district’s large (21%) African American population could prove troublesome for White. The education issue presents the biggest opportunity for Democrats, as rural areas in the state have always prized their public schools. Coastal issues will also be important. Third party groups are already running ads against Cook, attacking him on his support for fracking.
While Cook is a vulnerable incumbent and this district has a strongly Democratic heritage, a probable drop in African American turnout, a difficult national environment, and a likely money advantage for Cook gives Republicans the edge here. But it is not a strong edge, and it is possible that once again this race will be decided by a handful of votes.
District Rating: Leans Republican
Bill Cook(R) – 50.01%
Stan White (D) – 49.99%
Democrat – 44.7%
Unaffiliated – 28.1%
Republican – 26.9%
White – 75.7%
Black – 21.1%
Other – 3.2%
Results in Other Elections