RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — So different, but so similar.
“We’re talking about two people who have been in the General Assembly who’ve been in Congress and are now running for attorney general. Not exactly a normal path, but they match up perfectly,” said Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper.
Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Jeff Jackson also know how to make headlines while steering their own political agenda. Both want to become North Carolina’s next attorney general.
“Their name recognition, their fundraising advantage, their experience. I would be shocked if any sort of legitimate candidate remains in this primary. The contest against either one of these candidates,” said Cooper.
Congressman Jackson currently represents NC’s 14th district. Redistricting has made it all but impossible for his reelection due to the increase in Republican voters within the new lines that expand west of Mecklenburg County. Jackson has a prolific following on social media. He has 2.5 million followers and 30.6 million likes on TikTok alone.
Congressman Bishop was a major holdout in electing Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House and has largely been in lockstep with former president Donald Trump. Bishop represents NC’s 8th district which includes Cabarrus, Montgomery, Hoke, Stanly and portion of Cumberland and Rowan Counties.
Their congressional fundraising gives them a major cash advantage. As of the last Federal Election Commission filing, Jackson had around 700-thousand dollars on hand. But Bishop edged him out with more than 1.2 million.
Cooper believes they will need every penny of it… and then some. “I mean, this is going to be the most expensive attorney general race in North Carolina history. There’s no question about it, and they’re both going to start with huge advantages. It’s just going to clear this field even quicker,” said Cooper.
The attorney general race typically gets only a fair amount of attention, at best. But the Democratic Attorneys General Association has already said it will spend four million dollars in television ads including the Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville market.
Cooper expects spending like that from both sides to elevate the candidate’s profiles which is already pretty high. “The attorney general candidates probably have more name recognition than the gubernatorial candidates. I don’t recall that happening anytime recently in North Carolina history,” said Cooper.