Chris Cooper

North Carolina has been without a new state budget for more than a month now, and recent actions show a resolution between Republican leaders in the General Assembly and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper isn't likely on the horizon.

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.

2019 is only two months old, but the year has packed a lot in so far in North Carolina politics.  This week Governor Roy Cooper gave his 'State of the State' address, just days after a Wake County judge struck down two constitutional amendments approved by voters last fall that mandate photo ID to vote in North Carolina and lower the cap on the state's income tax rate.  Amendments to the state constitution could be in front of voters again in 2020, specifically one that would require redistricting to be non-partisan in North Carolina.  There's also two open Congressional seats in the state

What We're Watching As Election Day Nears

Oct 25, 2018
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Early voting numbers are up in North Carolina with Election Day less than 2 weeks away.  What do the early numbers tell us?  Who's up and who's down?  What are the big races to look out for?  BPR's Jeremy Loeb discusses the latest with Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty via Asheville Citizen-Times

Ballots are finalized (we think) for the high-stakes November mid-term elections.  Voters will be deciding a state Supreme Court race, the fate of 6 amendments to the state constitution, who goes to Congress and who goes to the legislature.  Western Carolina Univeristy political scientist Chris Cooper breaks it all down with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about the latest in North Carolina politics.  This week saw a major U.S. Supreme Court "punt" on political gerrymandering, a flurry of election changes pushed by Republican state lawmakers amid a process that's drawn criticism for a lack of transparency, and the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border draws a response from local politicians. 

Public Schools First NC

The North Carolina legislature is adjourned until May.  Or are they?  BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper talk about the latest in North Carolina politics, from a loaded class-size bill critics call a "poison pill" to a stand-off over Gen-X, the latest in the neverending gerrymandering saga, and the 2018 midterms.  

Matt Bush BPR

Tuesday’s ruling by federal judges that North Carolina’s Congressional district maps are illegal could have wide ranging implications for politics at the local, state and national level.  The court ruled the maps were illegal because they were gerrymandered specifically to benefit Republicans – the first time a court cited partisanship as a reason to throw out Congressional maps created through redistricting.  The city of Asheville saw the biggest change during the redistricting the court just rejected.  The new lines cut the city from one district into two – leading it from being represent

Discussing the GOP Tax Bill and NC's Tax Example

Dec 5, 2017
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The Washington Post published an article this week looking at North Carolina's moves on taxes in recent years for clues to how the GOP tax plan making its way through Congress could impact the country.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was joined by WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii and Western Carolina Univeristy political scientist Chris Cooper for a discussion of North Carolina's example with regards to taxes.

An Overview of Partisan Gerrymandering

Oct 5, 2017
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The issue of how much partisan gerrymandering is too much is before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The court heard oral arguments Tuesday on a case out of Wisconsin challenging maps there for being too lopsided in favor of Republicans.  That case could have huge implications in North Carolina, which has a nearly identical political situation, and where a similar case is winding its way through the courts.  For the latest, BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper. 

Lawmakers are returning to Raleigh this week to vote on new legislative district maps for next year's North Carolina General Assembly elections.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race as the deciding factor in creating them.

Talking Politics With Chris Cooper

Jul 13, 2017
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

With lawmakers home from Raleigh, Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper stopped by for one of our regular chats taking the temperature of politics in Raleigh and Washington.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Davin Eldridge

Few regions in the United States have seen their politics changed more by redistricting and gerrymandering than Western North Carolina – and Asheville and Buncombe County in particular.  

Talking Politics with Dr. Chris Cooper

May 16, 2017
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper is a frequent guest of Blue Ridge Public Radio.  In his most recent visit, Cooper spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Matt Bush about the latest in state politics.  The conversation touched on the recently-passed Senate budget, a big Supreme Court punt on voter ID, the brewing (pun intended) legal battle involving craft beer, possible campaign finance mischief, Senator Richard Burr's role in the national spotlight, and some high-profile resignations for the progressive left in North Carolina.  

The NCAA men's basketball Final Four takes Saturday in Arizona.  There will be a Carolina feel in the desert air, as both North and South Carolina will be playing.  It's the first time the Gamecocks have made the Final Four, while for the Tar Heels it's their 20th, the most of any school in the nation.

Chris Cooper has been heard many times on our air, and was a panelist for NPR's "Going There" in Asheville with Weekend All Things Considered Host Michel Martin last month.

A bill that would make elections for superior and district court judges in North Carolina partisan again has cleared the state house of representatives.

Lawmakers Gaveled in Long Session Wednesday

Jan 10, 2017
Asheville Citizen-Times

Lawmakers gaveled in a new session in Raleigh Wednesday.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Donald Trump is visiting Asheville today.  So is Dr. Chris Cooper, political scientist of Western Carolina University.  Cooper visited WCQS to talk about the state of the race, from the president down to the state level, with WCQS's Jeremy Loeb.  The full conversation is above. 

What the Trump Visit Says About Asheville and WNC

Sep 9, 2016
Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

North Carolina's status as a battleground state has been reinforced by a number of polls showing a tight race and a slew of campaign visits.  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Charlotte on Thursday.  The past several weeks also saw visits from vice presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, and even former president Bill Clinton.  But besides a visit to Asheville from Democrat Tim Kaine several weeks ago, western North Carolina has largely been passed over as candidates stump in larger metropolitan areas and the eastern part of the state.  That's about to change

A familiar name in state politics could have a prime spot on this fall's ballot because of a proposal passed by state lawmakers.

Phil Berger Jr. is the son of Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), one of the most powerful officials in North Carolina. The younger Berger is a former district attorney who again is seeking public office after losing a bid for the state's 6th Congressional District seat in 2014.

Incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory and his challenger Democrat Roy Cooper appeared together on stage for the first time in their heated race for the Governorship.

Parsing Tuesday's NC Election Results

Jun 8, 2016

The results are in from Tuesday's primary election in North Carolina.  Voter turnout was low, and the election produced few surprises.  But there is no shortage of interesting storylines to emerge, as North Carolina appears heads towards a November election that's expected to be extremely competitive.  For what we learned on Tuesday, and what to expect this November, I spoke with Dr. Chris Cooper, head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University.

What to Look For in Today's NC Primary

Jun 6, 2016

North Carolina voters may be surprised about today's primary election, considering they just voted months ago.  But because of several court rulings, a second primary is taking place today.  And while turnout is expected to be low, the stakes are high.  Congressional races and the ideological split of the state Supreme Court are up for grabs.  For what to look for in Tuesday's primary, I spoke with Dr. Chris Cooper, head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University. 

Voters in a dozen states head to the polls Tuesday, March 1st in what's known as Super Tuesday.  North Carolina's primary is two weeks later, on the 15th.  But what happens on Super Tuesday could have a big impact on North Carolina's vote.  For more, WCQS's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Western Carolina University political science professor Chris Cooper.