Located in eastern North Carolina, Edgecombe contains part of the city of Rocky Mount. The county seat is Tarboro, one of the oldest towns in North Carolina. The population in 2010 was 56,552. Edgecombe is also noted for the town of Princeville, which was founded by free blacks after the Civil War. Outside of Rocky Mount and Tarboro, the county is overwhelmingly rural. Edgecombe is one of the poorest counties in the state and has an unemployment rate far above the state average.
Politically, Edgecombe County is solidly Democrat. The reasons for this are obvious – Edgecombe has a majority black population, and blacks compose an even higher percentage of registered voters. The last time Edgecombe went Republican was in 1972, when it opted for Richard Nixon over George McGovern. Since then, an outflux of white voters and increased registration of blacks has increased Democratic margins in the county.
1988: D+21 (Solid Democratic)
1992: D+19 (Solid Democratic)
1996: D+18 (Solid Democratic)
2000: D+24 (Solid Democratic)
2004: D+25 (Solid Democratic)
2008: D+27 (Solid Democratic)
2012: D+32 (Solid Democratic)
Forecast: Democrats dominate in Edgecombe at the state, local, and federal levels. However, many of the more Republican precincts in the county are located in the 13th congressional district, represented by Republican George Holding.
Edgecombe has trended Democratic since 1996. It is possible that this streak will end in 2016, once Barack Obama is off the ballot and black turnout sees a decrease. Still, Republicans have no chance in Edgecombe County, and it will remain that way barring a radical transformation in the party platform or massive demographic change. Such a scenario is highly unlikely.