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North Carolina Governor Tells Joe Biden’s Democratic Critics to ‘Get on Board’

Roy Cooper says hand-wringing in party about president’s re-election chances is hurting campaign

Roy Cooper, one of the few Democrats to lead a state that Donald Trump won in 2016 and 2020, said in an interview that public doubt expressed by some prominent party members was “one of the reasons why the president is not doing better”.

Some Democrats had floated Cooper as a potential presidential candidate if Biden had not sought re-election, and his call for an end to party infighting could help the White House silence dissenters who have become more vocal following a series of recent polls showing Biden losing to Trump in crucial swing states.

“People have counted out Joe Biden many times, and that has been a mistake,” Cooper said on Tuesday, just before polls closed in Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio, where voters delivered big electoral victories for Democrats and a significant boost for Biden.

“We have got to understand that [Biden] is going to be the Democratic nominee. We have got to get to work to make sure people know the great work that he is doing for the people of this country.”

Tuesday’s election results provided a much-needed lift for Biden and his party after a New York Times/Siena College poll showed him behind Trump in five of the six swing states that are likely to determine who wins next November’s general election.

That prompted several high-profile Democrats, including former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod and former Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, to publicly call for Biden to reconsider his decision to run for re-election.

Cooper conceded that Biden’s economic record was not yet translating to an increase in support among likely voters, adding that Democrats needed to better communicate the president’s legislative accomplishments. But he said he expected support to “coalesce” as the election draws closer.

“Particularly when you look at the alternative, when that becomes more crystallised and more focused, I think people are going to understand we just cannot elect Donald Trump as president of the United States again,” Cooper said.

“I see a clear path to a Biden victory here. We Democrats just need to get on board with that and get to work.”

The strong showing by Democrats in the elections on Tuesday showed voters were still rejecting “extreme policies and politicians” and valued “competent leaders”, Cooper said in a statement after the results.

Voters in North Carolina have backed the Republican candidate in 10 of the past 11 presidential elections, besides in 2008, when Barack Obama narrowly won the state.

In 2020, Biden lost to Trump there by a razor-thin margin of nearly 75,000 votes.

But Cooper was optimistic about Biden’s chances in the state, saying he thought North Carolina was “winnable” for the president.

Cooper is term limited and cannot seek re-election as governor in 2024. He has not said what he will do next, but on Tuesday left the door open to seeking higher office. Cooper has been widely seen as a possible future Senate candidate, or even a presidential contender.

“I love public service. I can see myself continuing in public service in some way. But I really do not know what that is at this point,” he said.

Source: The Finance Times