Morning CallTyler Cralle

MORNING CALL: A Kinder, Gentler GOP

The new General Assembly in 2019 will not only look different, but it could also act differently.

The N&O’s Colin Campbell noticed the lack of fireworks during the recent lame-duck session, “Their lame-duck session has been lacking the fireworks I’d expected in the last hurrah of veto-proof GOP rule. The main agenda item was voter ID. And with a newly inked constitutional amendment to back it up, I fully expected Republicans to ram through something similar to the 2013 voter ID requirements.”

Campbell points out the exact opposite happened, “…lawmakers returned to Raleigh on their best behavior. They spent about two weeks crafting the voter ID bill before sending it to Gov. Roy Cooper. They held a public hearing and took written comments, and they actually listened and made revisions based on those comments.”

Campbell was not alone in his double-take over the new kinder, gentler GOP.  Andrew Dunn from Long Leaf Politics also noticed the shift, “After years of using a veto-proof supermajority and loyalty from the rank and file to ram through bills in quick succession, Republican leaders in the General Assembly took a starkly different approach to their last big legislation of the biennium”

Has the GOP really had a change of heart about bipartisanship or is there something else afoot?

Dunn believes this could be a strategic decision by the GOP to avoid giving Cooper the power of the veto, “Will this be the new standard operating procedure for a North Carolina Republican Party without a supermajority? It very well could be. If Democrats are fully involved in the legislative process, it certainly makes it harder for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to veto the resulting bills.”

Governor Roy Cooper has been annoying Republicans for over 30 years in North Carolina.  In 2020 they will have a legit shot to get rid of him permanently.  Besides having a great candidate in Lt Gov Dan Forest they can also strategically limit Cooper’s earned media for the next two years.

If the Republicans work with the Democrats before a final vote on the bill it prohibits Governor Cooper from vetoing legislation and framing himself as the uniter-in-chief.

“A choice between Ray Cooper or every other Democrat is not really a hard choice at all…”

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