NC Attorney General Josh Stein campaigns in Washington

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North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum)

 

NC Attorney General Josh Stein campaigned in Washington on Monday, February 26, engaging with local voters as the Democratic frontrunner for Governor. His strategic visit, just eight days before the primary election on March 5, underscored the intensity of this year’s gubernatorial race. With the potential shift in power looming, Stein and other Democratic candidates are keenly aware of the stakes, recognizing the possibility of Republicans controlling both the governor’s office and the General Assembly.

The decision for Stein to run stems from the constitutional restriction barring Governor Roy Cooper from seeking re-election after serving two consecutive terms. Recognizing Lt. Governor Mark Robinson as the formidable opponent from the Republican Party, Stein positioned himself as the Democrats’ strongest contender to secure the governorship.

During his visit, Stein addressed several pressing statewide issues including gerrymandering, education, healthcare, youth voter engagement, and abortion rights. The gubernatorial race in North Carolina gains added significance with the potential for shifts in abortion laws, notably highlighted by a recent bill reducing the permissible time frame for abortions.

Stein’s commitment to defending women’s reproductive rights was clear, pledging to veto any legislation that seeks to restrict access to services like In Vitro Fertilization, contraception, or abortion. He emphasized the necessity of breaking the Republican supermajority, considering winning the governorship only a partial victory.

In contrast, Lt. Governor Robinson’s stance leans towards supporting “heartbeat” legislation, indicating a more restrictive approach to abortion rights.

The political landscape in Beaufort County reflects broader tensions, with Representative Keith Kidwell’s repeated attempts to push pro-life legislation through the General Assembly. Stein’s visit to Washington buoyed hopes among local Democratic leaders like Marlene McCabe and Margaret Rian, who seek to elevate the concerns of Eastern North Carolina on the political agenda.

Their aspiration is for elected officials to recognize the importance of rural communities and address pressing economic challenges. Despite the sparse population, they advocate for equitable attention and opportunities, urging politicians not to overlook their region.

McCabe emphasized the significance of combating gerrymandering in Beaufort County, noting the persistent struggle to shift political allegiances. Stein’s presence in Washington symbolized progress for local Democrats, reinforcing their commitment to shaping a more inclusive and representative political landscape.

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