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The Swing States: North Carolina

Sep.24 -- Rep. David Price, a Democrat from North Carolina, talks about the key issues for voters in his state. He appears on "Balance of Power."

Video Transcript

DAVID WESTIN: You talk about the special circumstance of this election. We had the pandemic, pretty special, and the economic downturn, pretty special going into election as well. And now we've added to that this dispute over the successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court of the United States. Give us a sense of what that's done to the priorities of the issues for North Carolinians, in your estimation. It was thought it's about the economy and the coronavirus. Now is it a lot about that appointment and social-- social values, frankly, surrounding the Supreme Court?

DAVID PRICE: Well, certainly, they will figure in-- into this, and, you know, social values, cultural war items often do figure into our races. And candidates who figured they'd be advantaged by that often try to change the subject to get there, and that's, of course, what Donald Trump has done quite a few times, trying to hope we won't think about catering to Russia, not even asking them about bounties on our soldiers, or we won't even think about 200,000 lives lost with a lot of the blame lying on him and his gross mismanagement of this and on and on.

So now the-- now the effort is to-- is to change the subject to-- to the Supreme Court. But, you know, the-- the central issue there is-- is right on target in terms of what North Carolinians care about and what we've been talking about, and that is health care. I mean, the most-- the most prominent immediate decision here is the Trump administration's pursuing of-- of a legal overturning of the Affordable Care Act. And Donald Trump, you know, plays that down, denies it, it-- but it's absolutely true.

And, you know, the replacement of Ruth Ginsburg with a hard right jurist is-- is quite likely to tilt that case, you know, assuming John Roberts could go either way. I'm-- I'm not going to game it, but I just know that this decision is coming and that it's-- it's entirely appropriate to ask what the implications of this court packing that the Republicans are attempting here in a-- in a few days, what-- what the implications of that are for-- for health care.

DAVID WESTIN: So-- so give us a sense for North Carolina about the undecided, so-called "undecideds." Across the country, we tend to see this year, I think, a remarkably low percentage of undecided. People seem to have committed fairly early on. It's like 5%, 7% in the middle. Is that true in North Carolina? I mean, whom should the-- the campaigns be targeting right now?

DAVID PRICE: Well, it's certainly an important question. And-- and I-- I think we're not different from the rest of the country in-- in the sense that most people have decided about Donald Trump in particular and-- and what-- what they think of him, and that vote, pro or con, isn't going to be easily moved. But there are-- there are a lot of new arrivals in North Carolina.

I would say, if you want to talk about a swing vote, you'd want to talk about new arrivals in the state, people who don't have a strong partisan affiliation either way. There are a lot of such people. The-- the fastest growing category in voter registration is the unaffiliated. And a lot of those folks come from other places where they-- they certainly aren't diehard partisans, and-- and they're not Trump fans.

And so we-- we pay a lot of attention to those folks. They tend to live in the suburbs. They tend to live in the metro areas of Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem and Charlotte, and so they-- they get a lot of attention. And, you know, a lot of the TV campaigning is aimed at them. The other-- the other major demographic shift you'd want to look at would be the-- the Latino population.

I've-- I've been there a good while and-- and the Latino population has at least increased tenfold during my time of service. So now I expect a new census-- if we, in fact, count everyone, the new census could show around 12% Latino population and that they-- they vote at lower rates than the rest of the population, but there's a major effort to turn them out. So I would identify those as-- as two-- two categories of voters that are probably moving toward us if we-- if we do it right and-- and that might justify that center center designation.