Carolina Democracy

Electing Democrats: Knocking Doors, Talking to Neighbors, & Donating!

April 08, 2024 JD Wooten Season 3 Episode 13
Electing Democrats: Knocking Doors, Talking to Neighbors, & Donating!
Carolina Democracy
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Carolina Democracy
Electing Democrats: Knocking Doors, Talking to Neighbors, & Donating!
Apr 08, 2024 Season 3 Episode 13
JD Wooten

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we're joined by Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, North Carolina House Deputy Democratic Leader and Representative from District 57 in Guilford County. We discussed the usual stuff like her earliest memories of politics and background, as well as what me might expect out of this year’s short session at the General Assembly and an overview of the State House races to watch this year.

Learn More About Ashton Wheeler Clemmons:

Dave's Redistricting: 2024 NC House Map

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Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we're joined by Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, North Carolina House Deputy Democratic Leader and Representative from District 57 in Guilford County. We discussed the usual stuff like her earliest memories of politics and background, as well as what me might expect out of this year’s short session at the General Assembly and an overview of the State House races to watch this year.

Learn More About Ashton Wheeler Clemmons:

Dave's Redistricting: 2024 NC House Map

Contact Us:

Follow Us:

Support the Show.

Ashton Clemmons: We elect Democrats when we are able to talk directly to voters and get them to vote for Democrats. So, that can look like knocking on doors when you're ready, particularly post Labor Day. It can look like talking to people that you don't normally talk to about politics. It can also look like donating, because donating just point blank helps us talk to more people. 

[music transition]

JD Wooten: Welcome to Carolina Democracy. I’m JD Wooten, and later today we’ll be joined by North Carolina House Deputy Democratic Leader and Representative from District 57 in Guilford County, Ashton Wheeler Clemmons. In addition to much of the usual stuff like her earliest memories of politics and her background, Representative Clemmons and I also touch a little on what me might expect, or rather not expect, out of this year’s short session at the General Assembly as well as an overview of the state house races to watch this year.

In a small bit of legal updates, a federal judge here in North Carolina found that in a lawsuit called Democracy North Carolina v. Hirsch, one of the plaintiffs, the League of Women Voters, had sufficiently stated a claim that North Carolina officials are hindering voting rights under the law referred to as S.B. 747, the omnibus voter suppression and electioneering law passed last year over Governor Cooper’s veto, meaning the case can continue despite defendants’ attempts to have the case dismissed altogether. Under the part of the law at issue in this case, voters who take advantage of same-day registration would not be notified if their ballots are ultimately canceled or registrations are denied, and they would not be given a chance to contest such a denial, meaning they could be automatically disenfranchised through no fault of their own. Back in January, the judge blocked that provision from going into effect, and this past week’s ruling just means that the case will continue to trial, which is scheduled for this summer. While not a victory per se, it’s another positive step in the right direction toward seeing that part of the law struck down by the court as unconstitutional.

It wasn’t a particularly busy week on the political front in North Carolina, likely because damn near everyone has been distracted with college basketball lately. And rightly so! The state of North Carolina had a great showing this year in a whole host of measures. NC State is obviously the big story, and hats off to both the women’s team and men’s team for making it to the Final Four and playing some stellar basketball throughout both the conference and national championships. Of course congrats to Duke and Carolina men’s and women’s teams for excellent runs as well, and talk about an exciting time for basketball in North Carolina. I believe there were 5 teams from North Carolina that made it into the sweet sixteen when you count men’s and women’s teams. That ain’t shabby. Anyways, we’re here for democracy and politics and I’d be terrible at recapping sports, but I did want to go without acknowledging the nice change of pace in the news and some positive vibes for a change.

That also means we can focus on a little more on what’s coming up rather than what’s happened today. So, since we’ll be hearing from Representative Clemmons in a moment, and she and I talked about target state House races, I thought I’d provide a little more context than she and I were able to get into in the interview.

As a reminder, there are 120 state house seats across the state. State House seats are drawn such that each district covers roughly the same number of people, give or take a little. In the process of drawing the districts, the General Assembly first groups the counties, then draws the districts within those grouping so that no district lines cross a county grouping boundary, although plenty of districts include all or part of multiple counties. I won’t give you the decades long history of why exactly it’s done that way, but the short version is that it goes back to the state constitution having a provision that says no county shall be divided in the formation of a senate or representative district. Over the course of countless lawsuits and court decisions, that provision has basically been held in conflict with the federal constitution and the result we’ve arrived at to make everything harmonious is the county grouping system. Once the county groupings are determined, then the districts are drawn within those county groupings. To some extent, the county groupings can either make potential gerrymandering better or worse. For example, and very broadly speaking, if you pair a very blue county with a very red county, you might have a chance at coming up with some balanced districts. If you pair two very blue counties together, you’re going to have trouble finding a red district within that grouping, and vice versa. Anyways, that’s a little extra information we don’t usually have time to go into, but worth mentioning at least once in this podcast.

So back to the current maps, which were passed late last year and are being used for the first time very this cycle. If you dump all the available data into a database and analyze the current 120 state house districts based on past voting patterns, what quickly becomes apparent is that something in the ballpark of 58 of those districts will have a Republican candidate win by 10 points or more in most elections. On the other hand, only about 41 of those districts will see a Democrat win their respective district by 10 points or more in an average election. So right out the gate, we’re looking at a nearly 58-41 split of completely uncompetitive races for the state house. So all the action for control of the state house ends up in the other 21 districts.

Now, in reality, even of those 21 districts, a lot fewer are actually in play. Why’s that? Well, of those 21 districts, 11 are still likely to favor a Republican by at least 5 points and 5 are likely to favor a Democrat by at least 5 points. That means only 5 districts, out of 120, are drawn in such a way as to favor one party or the other by less than 5 points. In a presidential election year, when voter turnout is expected to be huge, and down ballot candidates are going to have an extremely difficult time breaking through the noise of all the state-wide and national races above them on the ballot, trying to move the need by more than 5 points in any individual race is a monumental challenge.

It absolutely can be done, and should we never stop trying, but sometimes it more of a question of the perfect storm than anything. For example, how does a candidate overperform the district projections by 5 points or more? Here are some things to look at: is the candidate already an incumbent, or a 2nd time candidate? Is there an incumbent on the other side, or is it an open seat? That name ID and momentum is huge in down ballot races. Also, which way has the district been trending demographically? If past election results show a district has performed around 5 points more favorably for one party or the other, but there has been a massive influx of new people – young professionals in urban areas, retirees at the coast – that can have a huge impact when comparing historical data to projections for what will happen in the future. What’s the quality of the candidates and their ability to fundraise? I’ll say it again, money’s not the most important thing in politics, but all the important things cost money. It takes time and money to communicate with voters. And you’ll hear Representative Clemmons mention money too as a way of facilitating communications with voters. Love it or hate it—and I hate it—its critical in our current system. If one candidate has a massive fundraising advantage, that can really impact what voters hear going into an election day and influence the outcome of an election. Also, do either of the candidates have any skeletons in the closet? Sadly, I had a lot more faith in this one to influence election outcomes a few years ago, but these days I think a lot of people vote in a tribal mindset and disregard character flaws of the candidates—former President Trump seems to be the prime example of this, but there are countless others—but there are still voters who care about character, and in particularly close races, this can make a difference too. Some people even think that weather matters; if it’s raining on election day, some people will stay home rather than reaching for a raincoat or umbrella. If all of these factors line up, plus many others, moving the needle by more than 5 points is certainly possible.

Now, with that background in mind, a lot of groups and of course the state political parties have been looking at the 2024 State House maps carefully and trying to decide where to put resources. Carolina Forward, who you’ve heard from a lot on this podcast, has endorsed 9 state house races. Another group you’ve likely heard mentioned, Work for Democracy, has endorsed 6 state house races. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a national arm of the Democratic Party focused on state legislative races, has identified 9 critical, target state house districts. Six of these races are on all three of those lists, and every district is on at least 2 of these lists, so obviously a lot of people are looking at very similar information here.

I’ll list these nine here in numerical order for lack of a better way to organize them without seeming to play favorites. They are House Districts 24 (Wilson County), 25 (Nash County), 32 (Granville and Vance Counties), 35 and 37 (in Wake County), 73 (Cabarrus County), 93 and 105 (in Mecklenburg County), and 115 (Buncombe County). It’s also entirely possible that as the election cycle plays out, and various factors like the ones I mentioned earlier come into play, some of these races become out of reach, or even more competitive than already thought to be, or that still other races I didn’t even mention move onto this list.

Now, here’s those districts again, but with the Democratic nominees: House District 24: Dante Pittman; District 25: Lorenza Wilkins; District 32: Bryan Cohn; District 35: Evonne Hopkins; District 37: Safiyah Jackson; District 73: Diamond Staton-Williams; District 98: Beth Helfrich; District 105: Nicole Sidman; and District 115: Lindsey Prather. Hopefully we’ll have most, if not all, of these candidates on the show later this year, although all I can do is invite them on. Turns out not everyone loves talking into a microphone and being on a podcast, which I find odd, especially for political candidates, but I’m probably a bit biased on that front. Anyway, they’ll all be invited, so whether we can make it work out eventually will just be a matter of coordinating schedules and their campaign comms strategies.

That’s probably enough background out of me for today. If you want to know more about these districts, I’ll leave a link to a great interactive site called Dave’s Redistricting that allows you to really get in and play with the data to see how these districts performed historically in different elections. Taking the aggregate of those past elections, you can also get a sense of how the districts are likely to perform, all things being equal, in future elections. This tool obviously  doesn’t take into account any of the variables I mentioned earlier, but rather gives a baseline based on past election results, so if you had perfectly identical candidates and an otherwise neutral environment, it shows what we might expect. Then from there, you can start rolling the dice to guess what will really happen. It’s not an exact science, but it’s certainly better than throwing darts at a dart board at the local dive bar. Anyways, let’s get to our guest today, Representative Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, hope you enjoy! 

[music transition]

JD Wooten: With me today is Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, North Carolina House Deputy Democratic Leader and Representative from District 57 in Guilford County. Welcome Representative Clemmons.

Ashton Clemmons:Thank you, glad to be here. 

JD Wooten: Absolutely, so first question right out the gate, what's your earliest memory of politics or getting involved in politics?

Ashton Clemmons: So I grew up in Alamance County and my dad ran the Democratic Party for several years when I was growing up. So, I mean, certainly he always took us to vote with him and I felt like that was really special because he did not let us miss school for many things, so getting to miss school to vote was a big deal. I think that other than that, my earliest memory is that George H. W. Bush, when he was president, did like a train tour of the country, and he stopped in Graham, which was a huge deal for Graham, and my dad took us out of school to go and see him, and he was the president at the time, and was running for reelection as a Republican. Obviously my dad was a Democrat, but I very much remember my dad stressing just the importance of the person and the role and being respectful and all those things, even though he was of the different party and like the reverence for what it should be. So that's my earliest, like memory, other than it was kind of just interwoven really, you know, they had fundraisers for people at our house regularly, but that's probably the one that sticks out the most. 

JD Wooten: Oh, how times have changed with the reverence to the office as opposed to getting into the personalities. 

Ashton Clemmons: That is true. It's definitely a very, very different time. You know, he passed away when I was 22, but I really, like, would love an hour to get his download on where he feels like things are now, because he was really, you know, like an old school southern Democrat, but very much believed in lots of the core values. I would love to know what he would say about the current moment. 

JD Wooten: I'm sure. You mentioned you grew up in Alamance County. You attended Carolina for your undergrad, became an educator, attended some more school at Harvard and UNC Greensboro, culminating in a doctorate of education, and along the way you spent some time in school administration. So, perhaps a simple question, but I love hearing the different answers I get to this. What led you to education? 

Ashton Clemmons: Well, when I was in high school, I think like lots of girls, I was good with kids and like early on that's kind of something that people, at least in my generation said to girls who are good with kids, right? Like, I do think that's a bit different. Based on what my daughter hears now. So I think you kind of have that seed planted pretty early in my generation, if you were good with kids. But I then moved on, wanted to do different things. When I went through high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian, which is what my grandfather did. 

And then my junior year, there was a freshman at my high school at William who had cancer. And he had a home bound teacher that's a teacher I had had in middle school, and she was really struggling with being able to teach him geometry and biology because it was just beyond like her knowledge base, and she asked if I would help. And so I started going after school two days a week to help him with biology and geometry. And like, I would help him do his work, and then I take his work to his teachers and get his work from his teachers and go back to him . And there were times over the year where he was in the hospital at UNC Chapel Hill and so I would go there once a week with his work and work with him at his bedside. And he got A, I'm gonna cry talking about it, he got A Honor Roll that year, and he came to walk across the stage and he had a mask on like, you know, couldn't get germs. And I was in that, I left my class to go and watch him get this award. And my mom came to she knew how I worked with them. And I was like, mom, after all the things I've ever gotten for myself, which I had gotten awards and all that, I said, I feel even prouder to help him walk across the stage. And she said that's what teachers do, Ashton. That is what teachers do every day. And I think that sealed it for me. 

So then I applied to be a teaching fellow my senior year. And I got the teaching fellowship and I do think, I think when I went to Carolina, I probably would have explored other things if not for the teaching fellowship, honestly, but it really kept me committed and then once I was student teaching and Durham, I was like, sold. Once I was in the classroom with kids, I, and it is still honestly my happiest place is being in the classroom with kids. 

JD Wooten: Well, like I said, simple question, but I'm very glad I asked. 

Ashton Clemmons: People now always ask how you got into politics, but they don't ask that how you got to education.

JD Wooten: Well, then I'll be like all the other people now that we've heard why you got into education. You ran for state house in 2018, that made you part of the class that helped break the super majority, giving governor Cooper an effective veto. So I'm, I'm curious what led you to jumping in that particular year and wanting to throw your hat in the ring for the first time.

Ashton Clemmons: Yes, I was recruited. So I can very honestly say that it was never like, I want to figure out how to run for politics. That was never my, my life. In 2017. and there was, as you said, well, after the 2016 election, like many people, I kind of was like, I've got to get off the sidelines in some ways and do something because this is not the world that I want to leave our children. And so I started doing some organizing with women and Greensboro, and I started meeting a bunch of different people, which led to, I think, a conversation with Tammy at Lead NC, and she said, we're going to have lunch and I want you to help us brainstorm women that should run for office. And then when we have lunch, she said, we actually want you to do this for the North Carolina House. And at the time it was a leans Republican seat against a 14 year incumbent. So it really felt like a long shot. But it also felt like they were on a mission. There were other women that were stepping up to run that were also on a mission. So ultimately, you know, I cannot say that I ever was like, yes, I'm thrilled to do this, but it more was, if this is in front of you and an opportunity to improve things, how can you not try?

Now mind you, our kids were six, three, and three at the time, I was getting my doctorate, and I was an assistant superintendent. So it was quite crazy. And my husband is wonderful. And he was like, yeah, this is not ideal timing, but if this is here in front of you and it's the step you want to take, then I support you. So and that's, that's how I said yes. And then I started working hard at fundraising, thinking it was kind of this long shot. Then the Supreme Court demanded a few districts across the state be redrawn for racial gerrymandering, including mine. And so I went from being a long shot to a safe Democratic seat. So it was like whiplash within four months of kind of, this probably won't be reality, but I'm going to try it to like, oh my gosh, I might actually be doing this. But I never really felt like I would win until election night. And, and then obviously did. 

JD Wooten: Well, I remember meeting you on the campaign trail in the 2018 election cycle and was thoroughly impressed with all the hard work you did when you thought it was a long shot. And then even more thoroughly impressed that you didn't take it for granted once it was not a long shot because, and maybe that speaks to why your peers have helped put you in leadership, but it's an unfortunate reality, I think a lot of people perhaps don't work quite as hard once they're on a safe seat and you are the polar opposite of that. 

Ashton Clemmons: Oh, well, thank you. Yeah, I, I'm very competitive JD. Like, I did not want to get to election night and feel like I hadn't left it all out there, you know, and wish I had done one more canvas or one more. Even Tim was like, Ashton. I think you're good, because on election day, election day, I canvassed for like, 8 hours. He was like, I think it's okay, and I was like, no, I am canvassing till 5 o'clock and I did. So, yeah. 

JD Wooten: That reminds me of Sarah Crawford over in Wake County. We were running together for the Senate in 2020. And now she's over in the house with you. And she ended up in a district that was, let's just say quite a bit more favorable to her in 2020 than mine was. And she kept giving me phone calls and emails and say, can I come take a hit for you? Can I do an interview for you? Can I, so anyway, hats off to you that, that do all that hard work. I really appreciate it. So, last background question, then. Any other big experiences from the past, maybe aside from education, that you think really you wanted to share with listeners that shape your political philosophy today?

Ashton Clemmons: Well, I think I've traveled a lot and I, I think traveling, is a unique experience and trying to understand more who you are differences building a self confidence, I think. And so like, I traveled certainly in Western Europe with my family, but then, you know, I spent time in South America, and then in college, I spent three months in Africa, in Tanzania and East Africa. Actually, I just went to China in December for two weeks with the American Council for young political leaders. Like each of those, but I'm going to say, particularly China and Africa define my gratitude to being American for our faults. It's really they both shaped, in a significant way, my pride and being who we are as Americans and you know, the responsibility that we have as Americans to Americans and around the world. So I think the other if I think back, I'm a huge reader also, so I'm like, very influenced by lots of fiction and nonfiction readings. You know. Matthew Desmond's Evicted. I mean, it like, is really well done. It's a nonfiction book about the housing crisis, but he tells these stories that demonstrate these structural issues, which really shifts it away from individual people. I mean, you know, so I would say, like, other than my experiences, traveling and then reading for me, inform who I am, what my perspective is, and that's a continual process. 

JD Wooten: Well, I'll add Evicted to my list. And despite the image behind me, off screen, there are some more spaces on the shelves for yet another book. 

Ashton Clemmons: There's always more room for books I think.

JD Wooten: There's always more room for books. If you have to get a new bookshelf, so be it. 

Ashton Clemmons: Yes, that's right. Mine are like stacks tall in my room. 

JD Wooten: Oh, you know, that's even better. It shows they're actually being read. Yeah. So before we turn to the 2024 campaign, I do want to ask, we've got the short session this year in the General Assembly. You're in Democratic leadership. I know the GOP is pretty famous for telling Democrats ahead of time exactly what they plan to do and when they plan to do it. But yeah, that aside, I'm curious, what's your take on what we should be watching for out of the General Assembly in the coming months? 

Ashton Clemmons: It actually sounds like it's going to be a short session as intended, which has never happened in my time in the General Assembly. You know, I, I think there is some concern about the lack of revenue, which is no surprise to those of us that have watched tax policy over the past few years. But I definitely think there is, so, usually, in short session there's an amount that you're able to reappropriate and, you know, usually what's happened is X amount has come in that we get budget for, so there's some haggling on how we're going to spend that. I just think there's a lot less of that this time that has been in the past several cycles. 

And I also think we have a lot of people campaigning for different things that are in the legislature and so people are going to want to get out and get campaigning. It sounds like there will be a move for video lottery terminals. I don't know where that will all end up, but it certainly sounds like there's a lot of energy around that. I hope there is not, but I wonder about expansion of opportunity scholarships funding, even though we've already funded it much more than we should in my opinion. So those are the 2 things, like, on my biggest radar, but I definitely think there seems to be, you know I think shared acknowledgement that probably being in session right now is not going to be great for a lot of people on both sides of the aisle, so I hope, I hope it's short. 

JD Wooten: Well, given the things the GOP likes to do when they're in session, I might be okay with that. 

Ashton Clemmons: Yeah. 

JD Wooten: Well, then let's shift gears to talking about 2024. Let me frame it like this: Democrats in the State House are currently one seat short of being able to sustain a veto.

Ashton Clemmons: Right.

JD Wooten: What does the map look like with the current districts, the current priorities, and the path to either picking up enough seats to sustain the veto, or perhaps even maybe not this cycle, maybe a couple of cycles, retaking a majority. 

Ashton Clemmons: Yes, and I do want to point out we should not be, we should be one seat safe, which is what the people in North Carolina elected, but we all know about the flip around the world, which I will not rehash here. But I do, I do think it's important we are in a super minority, but not because the people in North Carolina voted for that. And so I do think that's an important distinction. And I don't think the people in North Carolina will vote for that again. 

So, you know, I think of the seats that we have, we have three seats that are ours that we're going to need to work to protect. That's in North Wake County, and there's a Buncombe County seat, and a Cabarrus County seat. So those are the 3 of our seats that we need to work to protect. I think everyone pretty much agrees there's 45 safe Democratic seats, and then 65 safe Republican seats, and then we'll be fighting over these 10 ish in the middle.

So those are the 3 that we'll be working to protect. So of the 10 that are kind of in the middle, we need to get 4 of those. I think we have a very good chance at getting 8 of those, if not all 10 in this election cycle. We have 2 opportunities in Mecklenburg County, 1 is the flip heard round the world district that was redrawn to make it as favorable as they could, but it still is a very, very competitive seat. And we have North Meck, both of those, the North Meck seat has gone for Democrats does not have the incumbent. The incumbent has been hard to run against in the past couple of cycles. He is not running. And so it's a really good opportunity for us in North Meck as is the district against Representative Cotham. We have a good candidate. There's so much organizing work that is so frustrated about what happened and the impact of it on policy in North Carolina. So, you know, I think we feel good about that. 

We have 2 suburban districts in Wake County, 1 is to protect, 1 is a flip and that we'll be investing in and believe we have good opportunities in.

We have a Vance- Granville seat that is certainly favorable to us from a demographics perspective. So, northeastern North Carolina, we have where Howard Hunter has been, he's running again. He is well known in the community. His dad is well known in the community. So, you know, I think our map immediately gives us a very strong opportunity to not be in the super minority, and that matters because it will keep a checks and balance on any efforts that are made. And we've already seen what happens when that is not true. And I just have to say when you many of the more centrist Republicans are not returning next cycle. Either they some lost in primaries to a more MAGA candidate. Some have just chosen not to be there. So, you know, what we see is a farther step to the right, and it has to have a check and balance on it. And the only way to do that is for the House to not be in the superminority and to have a governor that's a Democrat. So all these policies that folks talk about and their passions, I'm like, all of that matters. All of that matters to have a Democratic governor and four seats in the North Carolina House. So please help us get to work. 

And I think, you know it's no secret. I say this a lot, but I'm in a mixed political marriage. And, but like, and I spent a lot of time with kind of traditional Republicans. That is not what we're up against right now in North Carolina or across the country. And they know that, like my husband actually switched to independent last year because he like felt so disenchanted and with the abandoning of the Republican principles. The far right has to have a check or we're in trouble as a state. And so and that, that's, who's running, right? That's who Mark Robinson is. That's who Michelle Morrow is, which scares the daylights out of me. That's who won in congressional and legislative primaries across the state and the Republican party. So that those are the choices, right? And you may not love either of those choices, but that's what we have in front of us and we have to get to work to make sure we don't move backwards as a state. 

JD Wooten: So working through all of that then, I think, I don't have these lists in front of me, but it sounds like, the areas you were describing as the target areas, the key battleground districts, if you will, sounds like there's a whole lot of overlap with the DLCC list, the Work for Democracy list, the Carolina Forward list. It looks like everybody's kind of picking up on which districts are the ones we need to be focusing on. So a lot of good groups out there working. 

Ashton Clemmons: There are, there are so many, I mean, Neighbors on Call has already hit like tens of thousands of doors and it's April 5th. I mean, there's so much good energy, good work. The Biden campaign is like rocking and rolling in North Carolina. So I think that's going to help us down ballot as well. I think Governor, or future Governor Stein's race is also well organized. So, yes, I think Anderson's doing a great job at the party. So, you know, there's just there is a lot of energy, but locally, state, and nationally around these districts and knowing that no matter what your issue is, these are the districts and this is the race and the governor's race. That's what matters. And that's what we all have to align on. 

JD Wooten: Well, you just reminded me why I am always reluctant to mention specific groups in a list when recording Neighbors on Call and to any of the other groups, wonderful groups out there doing the hard work on the ground that I forgot to mention. Thank you to all of you. 

Ashton Clemmons: I know it's a, it's a hard thing to do because there are so many that matter. 

JD Wooten: Well, and I know that you've got to turn to another event here. So let me ask this for all of our listeners that are really excited or really fearful, whichever way that goes, but want to be engaged, you know, some people want to get out and start knocking doors already in April, pros or cons to that, and I'm sure others would love to write a giant check if they knew exactly where to send it. So, all that said, what would you tell listeners right now that they can and should be doing to help elect Democrats, both the State House or anywhere in the state? 

Ashton Clemmons: Yeah. I mean, you know, we elect Democrats when we are able to talk directly to voters and get them to vote for Democrats. So, that can look like knocking on doors when you're ready, particularly post Labor Day. 

Like, that's when we really should be focused on knocking on doors. 

It can look like talking to people that you don't normally talk to about politics. 

Ashton Clemmons: So we were, my daughter plays middle school soccer and I was on the soccer field, and a woman I've never talked to about politics was like, I'm so excited Jeff Jackson is running for Attorney General. I was like, yes, me too. And he came to Greensboro and I invited her to come to his fundraiser, which she did. And she had never done anything political ever, but then she's there and I'm like talking to her about the other things. So like, it can also look like that. Like talk to people that you aren't used to talking to that go to school with your kids or, or parents are in the same rest home as your parents are, right? Like, they are worried about the same things you are. You have to connect that to the elections that are coming, particularly at the state level, because people don't understand the importance of the state legislature. 

It can also look like donating, because donating just point blank helps us talk to more people. 

Ashton Clemmons: It just is the way it is. I, of course, want money to go to the Caucuses, because when you talk about whether we get 4 of those 10, the Caucus is in the best position to use resources to get those 4 because it's very data based. And giving directly to candidates and Josh Stein's governor race are also critical. So any of those matter, but those are the most important thing. Talking to voters. So talk to them directly, or give money so other people can talk to them directly. That is what it all boils down to. Sometimes we spin our wheels on a bunch of other things, and it really boils down to that. 

JD Wooten: I think those are all great points and great words of wisdom for our listeners to follow up on. Let me ask this final question. Where can listeners go to learn more about you, your campaign, or any of the other things we've talked about? 

Ashton Clemmons: Well, yeah, I mean, I have a website like everyone and I am on Twitter and Facebook, so definitely can check me out there and anyone is welcome to email me at my legislative email with legislative questions or ideas as well.

JD Wooten: Well, Representative Clemmons, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. It's been a real pleasure. 

Ashton Clemmons: Thank you for having me.

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JD Wooten: Thanks again to everyone for listening today. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes, send me an email at And as always, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and share this episode with a friend. Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!