'Loyal base': Black voters seen as key to Democrats in NC

Akilah Davis Image
Monday, November 7, 2022
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Important issues to the Black voting bloc are the economy, women's reproductive rights, and crime, a Duke professor says.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When Lee Toomer sees the face of his 2-year-old great-granddaughter, Naomi, he's forced to think about how his vote could one day affect her. Just one day before the midterms, he shared what issues are important to him.

Women's reproductive rights are at the top of his list because Naomi will one day be a woman.

"I think she should have a choice. If she wants to have a child, fine. If she decides it's not that time or something else come up, that's, fine too," said Toomer.

They spent Monday afternoon at Pullen Park taking a stroll. The Marine Corps veteran is typically an early voter, but Naomi has kept him busy as of late.

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"Now I got to get over there and wait in that long line and wait for a few, but it's worth it," he said.

Early data shows there are 7.4 million registered voters across the state and 1.5 million identify as Black.

"The Black vote in North Carolina in particular cannot be overestimated how important it is," said Mac McCorkle, a former Democratic Party consultant turned professor at Duke University.

"It is the loyal voting base. Incredibly loyal base in Democratic politics," McCorkle said.

According to McCorkle, important issues to the Black voting bloc are the economy, women's reproductive rights, and crime.

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"When you say what's motivating Black voters, do Black voters feel like voting Democratic is in their interest? That they're getting their voices and interest heard. That's a big, big question," he said.

McCorkle questioned whether Black men will turn out since this is not a presidential election. North Carolina has not provided demographics on who has turned out but will after the election.

There's one thing for sure: Toomer said there's nothing that can keep him from the polls Tuesday.

"My ancestors made that right for me to go and vote," he said. "If I didn't put my input in, I'm no good."