Chris Cooper

The End Of Dixie

Jul 26, 2020
Korakys/Wikicommons

The ditching of Dixie by the band The Chicks was only new to them.  The word has been rapidly disappearing from the South over the last decade.

With the presidential nominating conventions all but washed out for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, political junkies have to settle for two things that are the bread and butter of the downtime in campaigns - fundraising totals and polls.

Helen Chickering

Madison Cawthorn's overwhelming win Tuesday in the runoff election for the Republican looks like an upset, as the 24-year-old finished second to Lynda Bennett in the March 3rd primary.  His win Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin wasn't as unexpected as it looks, though the vote totals were.

High-Profile NC11 Congressional Runoff Draws Near

Jun 9, 2020
Cory Vaillancourt

The race to replace Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows enters a new phase this month. 

Early voting has begun for the June 23 Second Primary for the GOP nomination in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional district, as eligible Republicans and independents will decide whom faces Democrat Moe Davis in November.

The runoff election is just another chapter in a saga that even the most-seasoned political expert might have found implausible just months ago. 

In less than a month, voters in Western North Carolina decide the Republican nomination in the 11th Congressional District.  Outside of whether Lynda Bennett or Madison Cawthorn wins on June 23rd, how voters cast their ballots during a pandemic will be a major takeaway from the race - and a potential foreshadow of how prevalent mail-in voting will be for the November general election.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Most of Western North Carolina is going through the COVID-19 pandemic without a member of Congress following the resignation of Mark Meadows on March 30th to become President Donald Trump's chief of staff.  That means the 11th Congressional District seat for North Carolina is vacant - and will remain that way for most if not all of the rest of 2020.

What has long been rumored is now reality – Western North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows will become President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.   The move will likely leave his seat in Congress vacant for eight months if not longer.

Republican voters in Western North Carolina will head to the polls again in just two months to decide a runoff primary following Tuesday’s results in the 11th Congressional district.  No candidate in the 11-person field for the GOP nomination hit the 30% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.  That means the top two vote-getters – Lynda Bennett and Madison Cawthorn – will face each other in the May runoff. 

Early voting is underway in North Carolina for the March 3rd primary.  Voters in Western North Carolina will have plenty of candidates from the major parties to choose from for the 11th Congressional District seat – 16 of them to be exact, 11 Republicans and 5 Democrats.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

What is Southern Appalachia’s place in U.S. history and identity - and in particular - the country’s politics?  Voting patterns in the region have stayed remarkbly stable in presidential elections in recent decades - certainly in comparison to the rest of the region known as Appalachia - but the region's significance in those races may be a bit overstated.

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

Pages