Democratic Divergence in the Old Obama Coalition

People watch a television screen showing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis beating his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist during an Election Night event at Mar-a-Lago. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

North Carolina and Florida once were key parts of the “Obama Coalition” that spurred new optimism for Democrats following the Bush years. Both have skewed red over the last 15 years, but in this year’s midterms, Democrats got blasted in Florida while putting up a respectable fight in North Carolina.

Why have these two southeastern states taken such different paths?

What Happened in North Carolina

Relative to expectations, November 8 turned out to be a decent night for North Carolina Democrats. Although they lost the vast majority of contested judicial elections in the state, they denied the GOP a veto-proof supermajority by one seat in the state legislature and kept the U.S. Senate race between Rep. Ted Budd and former state Supreme Court justice Cheri Beasley respectably close. Budd ultimately won by less than 4 points. And under the new (court-drawn) redistricting map, Republicans and Democrats split the state’s 14 House seats.

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