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WNC Politics Roundup: Sanders The First Of Many To Visit, As NCGA Seats From Region Open Up

Matt Bush

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders rally last Friday at Salvage Station will likely be the first of many candidate visits to Asheville in the 2020 presidential election cycle.  A large set of circumstances - from its progressive political reputation, to the long ballot of 23 Democratic presidential candidates, to its location in a media market that straddles two states that will vote early in the 2020 primaries - should make Asheville a popular spot for candidates visit before next year's North Carolina primary in March.

Western Carolina University political science professor Dr. Chris Cooper expects most if not all 23 Democratic presidential candidates to make their way to Asheville in the next 10 months.  Part of the reason is that the city is apart of the Greenville/Spartansburg media market.  South Carolina votes even earlier than North Carolina, and Cooper expects many candidates campaigning in South Carolina will try to double-up and make stops in North Carolina ahead of its March primary.  There's also Asheville's status as a Democratic Party stronghold in a battleground state for the 2020 presidential election.

Dr. Cooper sat down with BPR's Matt Bush to look ahead at what the next ten months may bring.  They also discuss what's been happening at the state capitol in Raleigh, as 'crossover day' for the General Assembly happened May 9th.  Bills have to pass at least one chamber of the General Assembly by that date to have a chance at passing by the end of 2020 (there are some exceptions).  The duo also discuss the three open seats there will be for next year's election in the WNC delegation, as Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn and Republican Representatives Chuck McGrady and Cody Henson will not be running again for their seats (Van Duyn is running for lieutenant governor).  

0:00 - Why it was not a surprise that Bernie Sanders was the first presidential candidate to visit Asheville in this election cycle

1:04 - How many candidates will visit Asheville and Western North Carolina in the next ten months?

1:34 - What impact will North Carolina moving up its primary to March have on the state's siginificance in the presidential primaries next year?

2:23 - Why is it significant that Asheville lies in the Greenville/Spartanburg media market when it comes to presidential candidate visits?

3:28 - Outside of the frontrunners, what candidates on the Democratic side could do well in North Carolina?

4:17 - Any surprises in what did and didn't advance by 'crossover day' in the North Carolina General Assembly?

7:22 - Three General Assembly seats from Western North Carolina will be up in open elections next year.  How might those elections go?

9:35 - The brilliance of HBO's 'Veep' in skewering and predicting politics in America

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.
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