Full disclosure: I work with the Timmons-Goodson for Congress Campaign. That said, the inclusion of Timmons-Goodson in the Red to Blue program makes NC-08 a top-tier Congressional race that will impact the broader political landscape in North Carolina.
Yesterday, North Carolina got even more competitive. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Pat Timmons-Goodson to its Red to Blue Program, designating the race one of its top twenty pick-up targets. Timmons-Goodson is running against Republican Rep. Richard Hudson in the 8th Congressional District, a district that stretches from Harnett County to Cabarrus County across south-central North Carolina.
The Red to Blue program looks at the quality of the candidate, the strength of the campaign and the viability of the district to determine its targets. Timmons-Goodson’s profile makes her a strong candidate. She has built an aggressive campaign that has taken advantage of opportunities and created others. Finally, the newly drawn district is more favorable to a Democrat and offers a clear path to victory.
As a candidate, Timmons-Goodson matches up well against her Republican opponent. She spent her career on the judicial bench, becoming the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court of North Carolina. She brings the thoughtful, measured demeanor of a judge to the race instead of the combativeness of a partisan. Barack Obama appointed to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, a position she held for five years. She graduated from high school in Cumberland County, the largest county in the district, and built her career and raised her family there. In contrast, Richard Hudson has built his career in the world of hardball politics in Washington, DC.
On the campaign side, Timmons-Goodson has built strong political, press and fundraising operations. In recent weeks, she’s been featured in Mother Jones and on MSNBC as well as numerous mentions and features in the local press. She’s picked up the endorsement of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and the support of major organizations like the League of Conservation Voters, EMILY’s List, Congressional Black Caucus, Equality NC and others. On social media, her following increases daily across platforms and her fundraising prowess netted more than $200,000 her first quarter in the race. She has built an organization that can go the distance.
The new district is surprisingly favorable to a Democrat. It was redrawn in December and about 25% of the voters have never voted for the incumbent. It also includes all of Cumberland County, Timmons-Goodson’s home, which makes up more than 40% of the registered voters. Cabarrus County, the second largest county in the district, is one of the fastest growing counties in the state and the Charlotte suburbanites who are moving there are more diverse and likely to support Democratic candidates, especially in the age of the Trump.
The Red to Blue designation will bring more resources to the race and the district as a whole. With numerous competitive legislative races falling within the district, there’s an economy of scale that makes the district a worthwhile investment. Resources that help Timmons-Goodson will also help other races on the ticket while she will benefit from strong organizations in races across the district. Expect to see investments in get-out-the-vote and party building efforts that drive the turnout Democrats need to win.
With Timmons-Goodson’s Red to Blue designation, NC-08 becomes a top tier race to watch. She will enjoy support that gets both her message and her supporters out. The strength of her campaign will help other Democrats up and down the ballot. October in North Carolina will once again be a political junkie’s dream.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >