Chris Cooper

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The issue of how much partisan gerrymandering is too much is before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The court heard oral arguments Tuesday on a case out of Wisconsin challenging maps there for being too lopsided in favor of Republicans.  That case could have huge implications in North Carolina, which has a nearly identical political situation, and where a similar case is winding its way through the courts.  For the latest, BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper. 

Lawmakers are returning to Raleigh this week to vote on new legislative district maps for next year's North Carolina General Assembly elections.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race as the deciding factor in creating them.

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With lawmakers home from Raleigh, Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper stopped by for one of our regular chats taking the temperature of politics in Raleigh and Washington.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Davin Eldridge

Few regions in the United States have seen their politics changed more by redistricting and gerrymandering than Western North Carolina – and Asheville and Buncombe County in particular.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper is a frequent guest of Blue Ridge Public Radio.  In his most recent visit, Cooper spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Matt Bush about the latest in state politics.  The conversation touched on the recently-passed Senate budget, a big Supreme Court punt on voter ID, the brewing (pun intended) legal battle involving craft beer, possible campaign finance mischief, Senator Richard Burr's role in the national spotlight, and some high-profile resignations for the progressive left in North Carolina.  

The NCAA men's basketball Final Four takes Saturday in Arizona.  There will be a Carolina feel in the desert air, as both North and South Carolina will be playing.  It's the first time the Gamecocks have made the Final Four, while for the Tar Heels it's their 20th, the most of any school in the nation.

Chris Cooper has been heard many times on our air, and was a panelist for NPR's "Going There" in Asheville with Weekend All Things Considered Host Michel Martin last month.

A bill that would make elections for superior and district court judges in North Carolina partisan again has cleared the state house of representatives.

Asheville Citizen-Times

Lawmakers gaveled in a new session in Raleigh Wednesday.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Donald Trump is visiting Asheville today.  So is Dr. Chris Cooper, political scientist of Western Carolina University.  Cooper visited WCQS to talk about the state of the race, from the president down to the state level, with WCQS's Jeremy Loeb.  The full conversation is above. 

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North Carolina's status as a battleground state has been reinforced by a number of polls showing a tight race and a slew of campaign visits.  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Charlotte on Thursday.  The past several weeks also saw visits from vice presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, and even former president Bill Clinton.  But besides a visit to Asheville from Democrat Tim Kaine several weeks ago, western North Carolina has largely been passed over as candidates stump in larger metropolitan areas and the eastern part of the state.  That's about to change

A familiar name in state politics could have a prime spot on this fall's ballot because of a proposal passed by state lawmakers.

Phil Berger Jr. is the son of Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), one of the most powerful officials in North Carolina. The younger Berger is a former district attorney who again is seeking public office after losing a bid for the state's 6th Congressional District seat in 2014.

Incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory and his challenger Democrat Roy Cooper appeared together on stage for the first time in their heated race for the Governorship.

The results are in from Tuesday's primary election in North Carolina.  Voter turnout was low, and the election produced few surprises.  But there is no shortage of interesting storylines to emerge, as North Carolina appears heads towards a November election that's expected to be extremely competitive.  For what we learned on Tuesday, and what to expect this November, I spoke with Dr. Chris Cooper, head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University.

North Carolina voters may be surprised about today's primary election, considering they just voted months ago.  But because of several court rulings, a second primary is taking place today.  And while turnout is expected to be low, the stakes are high.  Congressional races and the ideological split of the state Supreme Court are up for grabs.  For what to look for in Tuesday's primary, I spoke with Dr. Chris Cooper, head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University. 

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