North Carolina Democrats announced nine new candidates for state legislature on Monday. The new slate includes six female candidates.
This follows a rising trend of women running for political office nationwide since Donald Trump was elected president.
North Carolina State Representative for Orange and Durham counties Graig Meyer sees a definite correlation between the two.
“The response to Trump has been a lot of women becoming politically engaged,” said Meyer. “The #MeToo movement has encouraged women to speak out in powerful ways on not only sexual harassment and assault but on all kinds of topics, and we’re really seeing a moment where women are stepping into leadership in a way that doesn’t always happen.
“And I think that’s going to be really exciting and inspiring to voters.”
Still, this renewed energy in the Democratic Party is not entirely a response to what Meyer calls the “Trump Effect,” it also comes from a desire to influence change on a state and local level.
“People are running for state legislature because they’re really fired up about what’s happening right here in North Carolina,” said Meyer. “There are a lot of candidates who are very upset about specific things that have happened in the state legislature over the last couple of years.”
Among these specific things that Meyer mentioned is the unconstitutional gerrymandering by NC Republicans in the General Assembly. But with new maps being drawn, Meyer said, the Democrats are actually ahead of schedule for the 2018 election cycle.
“We’re ahead of where we were in 2016 or 2014 in recruitment,” said Meyer. “We have 70 announced candidates across the state right now. In 2014, we only had 78 candidates total.”
Meyer, who serves as the recruitment chair for House Democrats, said it is the party’s goal to have a candidate in every state legislative district.
The deadline for candidates to file is February 28.