A major national media outlet ranks N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper among its top 10 options for Democratic presidential candidates in 2024. The Washington Post lists Cooper at No. 9 on the list unveiled Saturday.
“The North Carolina governor is the would-be hopeful pushed by a set of Democratic strategists who think the best course is to nominate a Southern governor with proven crossover appeal (which Cooper certainly has),” writes the Post’s Aaron Blake. “Whether he has any designs on running is another matter. The longtime former state attorney general had to be talked into running for governor in 2016, after all.”
“So does he really have the desire to take the next, much-bigger step? It’s a very valid question: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was a leading hopeful in 2020 before he decided he didn’t have the fire in the belly. Cooper can make an argument that few on this list can make, having won repeatedly in a state carried by Republican presidential nominees, including in the same election.”
The No. 9 ranking actually represents a drop for Cooper in the Post’s quarterly list. Three months ago, the newspaper ranked him at No. 6.
President Biden still tops the Post’s list as the most likely Democratic candidate in 2024. He’s followed by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Vice President Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. After Cooper, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ranks No. 10.
The Post added Sanders and Whitmer to the list, ahead of Cooper, while Newsom jumped from his previous No. 9 ranking to pull ahead of Cooper at No. 7.
Cooper enjoyed the national spotlight recently when CNBC interviewed him near the state’s coastline. The interview was tied to the television network’s decision to rank North Carolina No. 1 on its annual list of “America’s Top States for Business.”
The Raleigh News and Observer is also touting Cooper. The newspaper’s lead opinion piece Sunday proclaims “If Biden steps, out, Cooper could step in.”
“Cooper gets good marks for sensible, science-based leadership during the pandemic,” associate opinion editor Ned Barnett asserts. “The governor is also presiding over a booming state economy fueled by growth in high-technology industries.”
“It’s too early to tell whether Cooper could end up among the candidates for the 2024 nomination, but given the circumstances, it’s not too early to wonder,” Barnett writes.
Cooper has sent no signals that he is interested in a presidential campaign.