Welcome to my diary series titled Majority Savers! I will run a new article every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The goal of this series is to highlight races that may make or break our current slender majorities in Congress. That means I will start more with incumbent Senators and House members until some primary elections are settled. If I have time, I will expand it to governors as well in critical swing states.
If you want to find my previous entries in this series, I recommend following me or searching for #MajoritySavers as a tag!
I have six ground rules behind the philosophy of this series. I’d ask you all to respect them as best you can, because these are taking me quite a long time to write. Here are my ground rules.
This State Senator, like many in the Research Triangle, is a transplant (or “damn Yankee” as the locals call them). The district is finely balanced on a knife edge, and is such that either party could win it as it has no incumbent. Majority Savers is heading to North Carolina to profile Wiley Nickel, who is our candidate in the 13th Congressional district against a Trump endorsed football player!
Compared to many challengers, there is actually quite a bit about Wiley Nickel that I was able to find out. These are the highlights I was able to pull out from his background.
- He is a descendant of a wealthy landowner in the San Joaquin Valley of California, and he has run for political office in California before. Expect this “California liberal” angle to be a primary means of attack on him.
- Nickel was a staffer for both VP Al Gore and President Barack Obama. While with Gore, he helped create the climate plan that made Gore famous later on. It is likely he served in a similar fashion under Obama.
- Nickel moved to North Carolina, where he helped break the supermajority in the State Senate in 2018 by winning a radically redrawn district. This will be his first campaign in a swing seat, as his California run was in a hopelessly red seat and his state senate seat is quite blue.
When running in California, Nickel characterized himself as a “moderate Democrat”, and there are definitely still elements of moderation still in is issues profile. This is actually good for a North Carolina swing district, as the south tends to be more moderate overall. Here are some issues he is highlighting...
Voting Rights: North Carolina is ground zero from gerrymandering and an entrenched minority dictating policy based off of rigged districts and voter suppression. Nickel has seen first hand the pernicious effects of these policies on voting behavior and policy making. He supports HR1, the For the People Act, and this will be one of his main priorities in Congress.
Health Care and Abortion: Nickel has vowed to codify Roe into law, now that it has been struck down by our Fascist Supreme Court. He has been pushing to expand Medicaid in North Carolina, and is open to expanding health care options nationwide so long as a funding mechanism can be found.
Tax Reform: Nickel has been trying to get wealthy citizens of North Carolina (of which he is one) to pay their fair share of taxes since going to the state senate. Nickel would reform the tax code such that the burden is taken off the poorest and placed on the richest Americans and corporations, where it belongs.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: Joe Biden (D) 50.0%, TFG (R-inc) 48.3%
2022 Race Rating: Tossup
2022 PVI: R+2
North Carolina has scrambled their districts around so many times over the years that it is hard to keep track of which district belongs with which piece of turf in North Carolina. It is much easier to label this district as a brand new district mandated by 2020 redistricting. It contains many very blue precincts, but it also contains areas that are beet red.
A word of caution on this district — it may be that it only exists for two years, as it is a map drawn by the North Carolina Supreme Court. They have repeatedly stepped in to correct the egregiously gerrymandered maps created by the rigged NC state legislature over the past few years. Unfortunately, the GQP may control the Supreme Court after this year’s fall elections, which would give carte blanche to the state legislature to redraw the map and eliminate many Democratic districts.
An even worse fate may befall this district if the GQP gets their way at the federal level. It is quite possible that ANY remedy for gerrymandering is deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court adopting a radical theory known as the independent state legislature doctrine. Basically, it gives state legislatures full power to run ALL elections and their laws. In that case, our democracy would irrevocably be broken.
Political Tour of the District
I’m actually very familiar with the area found in this district, as I scouted the area while looking for my first teaching job. The portions of the Research Triangle in the district are a bonus for our side, while the rural portions of the district have a legacy of KKK support. It is a finely balanced district between urban/suburban portions that support our side and exurban/rural portions which are hostile.
Here’s where this race will be won in the 13th district.
- Research Triangle: These suburbs of the Raleigh metro area are the home base of Wiley Nickel, and it is critical that every vote that can be found in this area turns out for him. The chunks of Raleigh itself are the most critical, as they produce the most votes and are the most blue. The closer you get to the county lines, the less votes there are for our candidate.
- Goldsboro: This majority black small city is the other place where important votes must be won over by Wiley Nickel. These voters are new to him, so he must spend time reaching out to the black community here and securing their support in order to generate maximum turnout.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Johnston County: The county with a KKK history, Johnston County was quite red, as I found out when I was looking at teaching jobs there. They don’t cotton to outsiders, as Nickel is one of them. He needs to mesh with the rural black precincts and limit his losses elsewhere in the county.
- Harnett County: While not as bad as Johnston County, this area has had most of the bluer precincts drawn out and the redder precincts left in. I stayed in a hotel in this county while looking for jobs, and there’s not many votes for Nickel here other than a couple black precincts.
Activism — Help How You Can!
Wiley Nickel has some wealth attached to his name, and he has primarily funded his own campaign so far. This shows in that he raised a miniscule $159k during Quarter 1. It’s okay, because he self-funded $753k to his own campaign for a grand total of $912k. His GQP opponent, TFG endorsed Bo Hines, had an anemic quarter with only $119k brought in. Expect dark money to flood this race.
Nickel, being moderately wealthy, has a substantial cash advantage right now over Hines, who had a messy primary to win first. Nickel currently has $1.07 MILLION cash on hand, with an unknown ability to self-fund more. Bo Hines, on the other hand, has a measly $189k cash on hand as his coffers got drained. Dark money will make up the gap, which is why a donation to Nickel could be of value. I don’t know if he can fully self-fund his campaign or not.
DONATE TO WILEY NICKEL HERE
If you live in the Research Triangle, this district is definitely the one you want to volunteer for. Nickel will need the help in turning out voters in such a marginal district. https://www.wileynickelforcongress.com/ is the campaign website where you can sign up. You help Senate candidate Cheri Beasley by signing up as well!
Nickel has a good social media game, having the ability to reach 26.7k followers on Twitter. He will need those followers and then some to get out his campaign messages in an era where social media grows more important with each passing campaign. Follow him below.
Nickel also has a robust presence on Facebook at WileyNickelNC and on Instagram at wileynickelnc. Go ahead and check them out for this aspiring candidate!
Thank you for reading this Majority Savers article! This district may be one of the most important in the drive to keep the House of Representatives, so it was important to highlight State Sen. Wiley Nickel! There are still many more candidates I would like to cover, so keep looking for my articles, which premier three times a week!
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