North Carolina Senate District 19: State Sen. Wesley Meredith (R) vs. Toni Morris (D)
The state’s 19th Senate District is a rather unusually shaped district represented by Republican Wesley Meredith. Despite the attempts of legislators to make the seat as Republican as possible, it’s still a swing district where the right Democrat can prevail. Unfortunately for Team Blue, Meredith has proven to be a strong incumbent, beating back his challengers every time.
Democrats were optimistic about beating Meredith two years ago when their nominee was Billy Richardson, now a member of the North Carolina House. That campaign was an ugly one. Backlash to the brutal nature of the campaign and weak Democratic turnout propelled Meredith to a stronger-than-expected victory, defying the predictions of some pundits.
This year, the Democratic nominee is family counselor Toni Morris, who once was a candidate for the United States House of Representatives back in 2014, losing to Clay Aiken. The latest financial reports from the respective candidates show that Meredith is in a strong position to be reelected despite the swing nature of the seat, which voted for President Obama in 2008. While Meredith has over $100,000 cash on hand, Democrat Toni Morris has just over $8,000. Such a small total makes it unlikely that state Democrats will invest time and effort into going after the incumbent this year.
In the end, Meredith doesn’t have much to fear from his Democratic challenger. What would be a game-changer is a court ruling striking down some of the current districts, forcing legislators to clean up the lines. This would make the 19th more Democratic and would lead to more competitive contests for the incumbent.
But any such ruling is unlikely to have an effect on the race this year. Given Meredith’s past electoral record of victory against strong opponents and the weak fundraising on the part of the Democratic candidate, this swing seat gets a rating of “Solid Republican.” This is one of the seats that Democrats need to win to take back the Senate. Once again, it looks like they’ve let this opportunity slip away from them.
Counties in district: Cumberland (part)
District Rating: Solid Republican
54.4% Meredith (R)
45.6% Richardson (D)
Results in Other Elections
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.