Roy Cooper is having a terrible honeymoon. Since winning the North Carolina governor’s mansion, the Democratic (soon-to-be former) state attorney general has had to deal with incumbent governor Pat McCrory’s baseless braying about voter fraud. And then a recount that even GOP-controlled county election boards thought was unnecessary.
Now, after McCrory finally conceded, Cooper is watching the Republican legislature try to radically reduce the power of the position he just won.
This week, Republicans in the general assembly introduced bills that would, among other things, end gubernatorial control of election boards, give the state senate confirmation powers over the governor’s cabinet members, and reduce the number of civil servants who serve at the governor’s pleasure from 1,500 to 300.
“Most people might think this is a partisan power grab, but it’s really more ominous,” Cooper said at a news conference Thursday.
“If I believe these measures are unconstitutional, they will see me in court, and they don’t have a good track record there,” the governor-elect warned, ostensibly referring to a recent federal ruling that struck down North Carolina’s state legislative maps for deliberately diminishing the influence of black voters.
(Legal experts that spoke with Politico suggested Cooper has no obvious legal claim.)
The governor-elect took particular exception to the way the legislature was attempting to rush the bills through, without airing their proposals before the voters of the state — a method reminiscent of that used to pass North Carolina’s infamous anti-transgender “bathroom bill.”
“We don’t want another disaster like House Bill 2,” Cooper said. “This is exactly why we had problems with House Bill 2, because they wanted to do it in secret.”