If Attorney General Roy Cooper finally is declared governor—and this seems more likely as recounts proceed—then North Carolina will have divided government again…a Democratic governor and an overwhelmingly Republican Legislature. The General Assembly leadership set the agenda for North Carolina under GOP Governor Pat McCrory. Republicans will continue to have a veto-proof majority for the next two years, but the governor is not shut out from setting state policies. Secretary of Commerce, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Corrections, Health and Human Services, and Cultural Affairs are subject to Governor appointments.
The governor has the bully pulpit to carry his priorities to the general public, i.e. voters. And while Gov. McCrory was loathe to criticize the GOP legislative majority, the opposite will be true with Cooper. He also will have an ally in Josh Stein who succeeded him as Attorney General. North Carolinians will experience the possibilities and pitfalls of divided government.