See our post-election email, "Many Thanks, Congrats and Onward"
See our post-election email, "Many Thanks, Congrats and Onward"
See the Fact-Filled Presentation of our January meeting
Losing 2014: The Missing Pieces
Did Voting Restrictions Determine the Outcomes of Key Midterm Races?
Ari Berman on November 6, 2014 The Nation
...In the North Carolina senate race, Republican Thom Tillis...defeated Democrat Kay Hagan by 50,000 votes. Nearly five times as many voters in 2010 used the voting reforms eliminated by the North Carolina GOP—200,000 voted during the now-eliminated first week of early voting, 20,000 used same-day registration and 7,000 cast out-of-precinct ballots.
Lawyer Allison Riggs of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham flagged dozens of stories of disenfranchised voters and election problems in North Carolina. Voters were not able to register during the early voting period. There were longer lines during early voting because the state cut early voting by a week. And there were longer lines on election day because of the shorter early voting period, particularly in heavily Democratic urban areas like Durham, Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro, where wait times stretched to over two hours at some polling places... Many voters also arrived at the wrong polling location, where they could no longer cast a regular ballot out-of-precinct...
More than 450 voters were disenfranchised in North Carolina’s primary because the state eliminated same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. Riggs expects that number will be significantly higher for the general election, even as turnout increased in North Carolina compared to 2010 for the early voting and general election period. “The real question is what would turnout have been like if these voters hadn’t been disenfranchised?” she says.
Nationally, voter turnout in 2014 has been estimated at 36.6 percent, the lowest level since 1940. In North Carolina and across the country, the electorate was older, whiter and more conservative than in 2008 and 2010, which is exactly what Republicans wanted. The new voting restrictions contracted an already-minuscule electorate. Nearly twice as many Americans chose not to vote as voted in 2014. As turnout decreased, voting problems increased. The Election Protection coalition received 18,000 calls at the 1-866-Our-Vote hotline [see graph, above], a 40 percent increase over 2010. read article
Seven mildly encouraging signs buried in the Republican victory parade
11/6/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon
NC Policy Watch
The folks on the Right are still celebrating the big Republican victories around the country and in North Carolina Tuesday. And they have a lot to be happy about, defeating Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, taking over the U.S. Senate, and keeping losses in the General Assembly below projections and maintaining their supermajorities in both chambers. Pundits and commentators are hailing the results as a massive Republican wave in a record turnout election that’s a complete rejection of President Obama’s agenda that leaves little doubt about what the voters want their leaders to do in the next two years.
But no election results are ever that simple and these aren’t either. In fact, despite the overwhelming success of conservative candidates there are a host of places where progressives can find some solace in the results and logical explanations for what happened. read article
New voting laws present confusion at the polls
"The whole process really wasn't very accessible."
The Chronicle By Jenna Zhang November 6, 2014
A number of students and local residents were turned away from voting locations on Election Day, due in part to the voting laws passed last year eliminating out-of-precinct voting and same-day voter registration. Some students, unaware of which precinct they had been assigned to, waited in lengthy lines at multiple voting locations before finding out at which they were legally able to vote. Others—who had thought they had undergone the process of registering to vote—could not find their names in the registered voters list and were told they could not vote at all. read article
After the Midterms: Time to Fight Back
Opposing bad policy and bad compromises isn’t enough. We need new thinking and new approaches.
Nov. 5, 2014 The Nation
...Obama is not without options. He has a bully pulpit, the authority to issue executive orders and a veto pen—and he must use them all. Obama also has history on his side... Obama should borrow from those of his most successful predecessors: don’t give McConnell an inch. Keep campaigning, get the people on your side and write the narrative of the next two years...
Progressives have responsibilities as well. They should not just keep the pressure on Obama; they should increase it. ...Focus on reform. ...The fight to defend voting rights must be accelerated, including the struggle to end gerrymandering...
Focus on the states ...politics isn’t just about what happens in Washington. Change that improves people’s lives can be made at the state and local levels. We must use referendums, petitions and people power to drive debates about accepting federal Medicaid funding, raising wages and repairing broken political processes.
Change partisan politics...the Democrats had a great deal of money ... and some significant advantages. What they lacked was a coherent economic message. Too much time was wasted talking about whether candidates had voted for Obama or liked Obamacare. Too little time was spent talking about how to address income inequality, create family-supporting jobs, and crack down on corporate and banking abuses... Democrats can’t just get progressive and populist in the last weeks before an election; they must recognize, as [Elizabeth] Warren reminds us, that progressive values are winning values. read article
Voters seek balance on the state Supreme Court
11/5/2014 by Sharon McCloskey
NC Policy Watch
Four seats were up for grabs in yesterday’s state Supreme Court races, and despite a flood of outside money from conservative groups, voters chose justices who will move the court a little closer to the center and help it maintain at least a semblance of diversity. It was a race for the fundraising record books – the first after state lawmakers eliminated public financing – with a tab of more than $5 million thus far. (The numbers won’t be final until all reports are filed with the state Board of Elections at the end of the year.) read article
Big Republican wins in a predictably Republican year
11/5/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon
NC Policy Watch
Republicans are beside themselves celebrating their election victories Tuesday and there were many, taking over the U.S. Senate, expanding their margin in the U.S. House and winning more governorships than they were projected to capture. In North Carolina, House Speaker Thom Tillis rode the national wave and defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and the GOP held its supermajorities in the state House and Senate. It was a Republican night indeed.
But folks in the state claiming the results were a triumphant affirmation of the Republican agenda of the last four years need to take a breath. read article
NC General Assembly: Democrats pull off upsets but can't change GOP control in legislature
BY COLIN CAMPBELL November 4, 2014
Democrats took a Wake County N.C. House seat and scored a few upsets elsewhere in the state, but the victories weren’t enough to change Republican control of the General Assembly...
The legislative races likely won’t have a major effect on the power dynamic on Jones Street. Both the House and Senate have had veto-proof Republican majorities for the past two years. Republicans entered the elections with 77 seats in the 120-member House and 33 seats in the 50-member Senate...
Democrats needed to pick up five seats in the House and four in the Senate to end the GOP supermajority. In the House, results indicated the party would take three... In the Senate, Democrats weren’t able to get any Republican-held seats. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Gene McLaurin of Rockingham lost to his challenger, Republican Tom McInnis...
The supermajority has allowed Republicans in the legislature to override several vetoes from Gov. Pat McCrory during his first two years in office. With results indicating the supermajority will remain, the governor could struggle to wield influence in the legislative branch. Taylor said that the next legislature will still have an incentive to work with McCrory: helping the governor win over voters in 2016. “My suspicion is that the Republicans will work very hard to make sure McCrory is reelected,” he said. “You don’t want to force him into vetoes or put him in tough spots.”
Democrats had hoped that ending the supermajorities would help moderate Republican lawmakers, who are more likely to compromise. read article
Alma in Cosmo!
For the First Time, There Are 100 Women in the House of Representatives
The 2014 midterm election is an historic one.
By Tess Koman NOV 4, 2014
North Carolina's Alma Adams was elected to Congress, making her the 100th woman to hold a seat in the House of Representatives. There have never before been so many women in Congress at one time, though women are still outnumbered 1-to-4 by men. Nevertheless, it's a major milestone that Adams was proud to conquer. "My friends, we did it," Adams announced as she took the stage after her win. "And ain't no stopping us now." read post
See our post-election email:
"Many Thanks, Congrats and Onward"
WRAL Election results - Durham Co. Page
WRAL Statewide Judicial Races
UNOFFICIAL GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS - DURHAM (NCSBE)
UNOFFICIAL GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS - STATEWIDE (NCSBE)
Beasley bid for NC Supreme Court too close to call
A Statement on 2014 Midterm Election Results from the North Carolina NAACP
President Obama Post-Election News Conference (transcript/video)
To all the folks who handed out Turn NC Blue! Cards during Early Voting,
We Thank you!!
We had record turnout for early voting!
33,291 Durham voters voted early in 2014 as compared with 24,931 in 2010, despite having less days. Long lines of people were waiting to vote at the close of Early Voting on Saturday! Durham is awesome!
See Early Voting turnout in Durham here
Durham Votes Early! March to the Polls was a great success!
Thanks to Dem Women Sondra Stein, Christine Gephardt and Helen Compton for organizing the event with other Durham organizations, and to all who came out to march! See photo gallery
See WRAL video here
NAACP: Tillis won because of voter law, not policies
Nov. 6, 2014 By Matthew Burns WRAL
Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis was elected to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday not because North Carolinians support his policies but because of changes to state voting laws that affected who cast ballots, the NAACP said Thursday... state NAACP President Rev. William Barber said Tillis' "narrow victory" was a repudiation of his policies, not a validation of them. Barber said there were widespread reports of voting problems ... and the shortened early-voting period and the elimination of same-day registration affected thousands of North Carolina voters.
"The magnitude of the problem may not be far from the margin of victory (for Tillis)," he said. read article
Also see The Nation: Did Voting Restrictions Determine the Outcomes of Key Midterm Races?
A win? Yes.
A mandate? No.
By Steve Benen MSNBC
...A new GOP mandate? That’s a question Republicans and Democrats will be debating in coming days, as the GOP makes the case that its election victories add up not only to an electoral wave, but to a mandate – a genuine endorsement of conservative policies...As of this morning, Republicans are predictably claiming just such a mandate, and at the surface, it may seem as if they have a point. The GOP took control of the Senate, expanded their House majority, flipped some state legislative bodies, and fared surprisingly well in gubernatorial races. The result, they say, is an endorsement from the American people that affords them the right to pursue their top priorities. It’s a nice argument, which happens to be wrong. read article
Will Hagan defeat force Dems to be FOR something?
Posted by Rob Schofield
November 5, 2014
Last night’s election results were a sobering and at times confounding experience for progressives. It’s always traumatic and frustrating to see millions of people vote directly against their own economic interests in so many races. That said, one thing that clearly isn’t at all confounding in 2014 is this: the pernicious and cancerous spread of big, dark money and the urgent need to combat it at all costs.
This isn’t about the Tillis-Hagan result, or even the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate that had been foreseen for weeks... Indeed, Kay Hagan’s Senate term was always a byproduct/side effect of other, larger forces rather than who she was or what she “stood” for...
So, are there any lessons from all this? Is there any way to break this dreary and destructive pattern in which North Carolina elections have less and less to do with what’s actually going on in North Carolina and the choices are always confined to homogenized candidates who are certified and funded by giant, mostly out-of-state rich guys? ...If there’s any chance to bust up this monopoly at any point, however, last night’s results ought to have confirmed for us that it will require something more than better packaged candidates. Ultimately, the only way to effect progressive change is to truly be FOR it, to campaign on a progressive platform and to raise heck once in office. read article
Election Day Loser: the 'American Voters'
Voting rights watchdogs say election 2014 marked the most "unfair, confusing, and discriminatory election landscape" in fifty years
by Lauren McCauley Nov 4, 2014
As Americans rushed to the polls on Tuesday, voting rights watchdogs reported that this election day marked the most "unfair, confusing, and discriminatory election landscape" in fifty years. Voters nationwide reported a slew of problems, including: long lines; broken machines; voter intimidation and misinformation; a lack of foreign language assistance; missing and misspelled names from registration; and general misinformation over registration, polling place locations, and identifications required.
"Every election day should be a celebration of democracy but instead what we are hearing today from too many polling places around the country is that voters are having problems casting their ballots," said Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law...
Voting rights advocates say that these complaints come as no surprise following the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County vs. Holder to abolish key voter protections from the Voting Rights Act. Quoting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's
Shelby dissent (pdf) when she wrote that abolishing preclearance requirements "is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet," Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said Tuesday: "The storm is now raging with powerful micro-bursts denying citizens their unalienable right to democracy."
Since the Shelby decision was handed down, 14 states have made changes to their voting laws and, as Henderson notes, "we don't even know how many counties and towns." Voting rights advocates have warned that these new rules would disproportionately impact student, minority, and elderly voters. ...Common Cause President Miles Rapport noted during a Tuesday press briefing, most of these voter impediments would be solved with the passage of same-day voter registration.
"No matter which party wins today, the right to vote and our democracy is taking a brutal and unacceptable beating." —Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
...Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, noted that these voter impediments frequently occur in locations where minorities are a growing constituency... Rights advocates say that it is now the "moral responsibility" of Congress to reinstate important voter protections to the Voting Rights Act and institute clear, simple voting guidelines...
Henderson concluded. "Today the real losers in this elections are the American voters. We must demand that Congress do its sworn duty to restore the Voting Rights Act. The integrity of American democracy demands nothing less." read article
Tillis takes US Senate race
By Mark Binker Nov 4, 2014 WRAL
Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis has ousted U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a first-term Democrat, according to incomplete and unofficial returns. Tillis' margin of victory will be narrow, most likely less than 2 percentage points once all votes are counted, after a bitterly contested race that was the most expensive congressional race in the country. His victory helped give Republicans control of the U.S. Senate. read article
11/3/2014 by Clayton Henkel NC Policy Watch
(All items in this edition of Monday numbers come from the North Carolina State Board of Elections)
1,115,230—total number of votes cast by absentee ballot and in the early voting period...
1,097,524—number of votes cast at one-stop early voting sites during voting period...
27.6—percentage increase in early voting in 2014 over 2010 election
550,186—number of registered Democrats who voted during the early voting period...
368,266—number of registered Republicans who voted during the early voting period...
47.6—percentage of early votes cast by registered Democrats
23.4—percentage increase of early votes cast by registered Democrats in 2014 over 2010 election
31.9—percentage of early votes cast by registered Republicans
4.8— percentage increase of early votes cast by registered Republicans in 2014 over 2010 election...
288,867—number of votes cast by African-Americans during the early voting period
44.7—-percentage increase of African-American voter participation in early voting over 2010 read all
Also see N&O Article: In Senate race, Hagan, Tillis push voters to polls
NC Democrats Crushing GOP With Massive Early Voting Lead, Despite All That Vote Rigging (Video)
by ELISABETH PARKER OCTOBER 27, 2014 Addicting Info
North Carolina is tallying their Early Voting numbers, and so far, NC Democrats are crushing the GOP with massive leads. Apparently, when you try to keep seniors, people of color, and poor people from voting — and NC Republicans passed one of the worst voter ID laws in America last year — those people and their allies get really angry and start turning out in droves. Thank you, Republicans.
Early Voting began on October 15, and WNCN reports 386,411 voters — nearly 400,000 — have cast their ballots so far. Of those, a whopping 148,001 ballots came from registered Democrats, as opposed to a far less impressive 88,900 from registered Republicans. That is the official figure, current through Sunday, provided by the North Carolina State Board of Elections and includes mail-in, military, one-stop and overseas votes. The [early voting] number represents a little more than 5 percent of the 6.6 million registered voters in North Carolina. In an update, WCNC reports Democrats have “long enjoyed an advantage in Early Voting,” but add that this year’s turnout is unusually high. read article/watch video
Duke teams with NCCU for transport to early voting
By Aleena Karediya | October 16, 2014 The Chronicle
In an effort to get more students to the polls for midterm elections, Duke is partnering with North Carolina Central University to provide transportation to early voting sites. The Go Vote Early program—led by the Committee for a Joint NCCU-Duke Program in African, African-American and Diaspora Studies—will transport students and employees from Duke to an early voting polling site at NCCU in late October. Duke does not have an early voting site of its own on campus... "The low rate of voting overall in mid-term elections is an unfortunate feature of American politics, giving those few who do vote undue influence," said Naomi Quinn, professor emerita of cultural anthropology and an administrator of the Committee for a Joint NCCU-Duke Program. "College students are just one group that doesn't go to the polls in large numbers."
...Quinn said she hopes Go Vote Early will encourage students—who have a history of being absent at polls, she noted—to play a key role early in this decisive race. "The principle behind this event is simply to get out more voters," Quinn said.
Go Vote Early will be running vans between the two campuses throughout the day from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30. read article
New Report: Speaker Tillis’ Disastrous Record On Women’s Health And Equal Pay
Report Includes County-By-County Statistics
October 15, 2014
Today in Charlotte, The Hagan campaign released a report on Speaker Tillis’ dismal record on issues important to women in North Carolina. Kay was joined by Janet Colm, CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina, to talk about Kay’s work to support the health and economic well-being of North Carolina women, which is a stark contrast to Speaker Tillis’ agenda that has been disastrous for women...The report shows that over a million women in North Carolina are in need of access to contraceptives... But Speaker Tillis has a long record of supporting policies that limit access to birth control, including supporting a ‘personhood’ constitutional amendment that would ban some forms of birth control. He supports allowing insurers to deny coverage for birth control, and he would make birth control more expensive for women. Thousands of North Carolina women need access to contraceptives, and Speaker Tillis would force women to pay up to $600 a year for birth control.
At a recent debate, Speaker Tillis called equal pay a “campaign gimmick,” even though women in North Carolina make 82 cents on the dollar compared to men. Speaker Tillis killed an equal pay bill in North Carolina, and said he opposes legislation on the federal level. read report
Republican Senate hopeful equated welfare and ‘reparations’
10/14/14 By Steve Benen MSNBC
North Carolina’s state legislature considered a resolution in 2007 expressing formal regret for the state’s previous support for slavery. Republican Thom Tillis, now the state House Speaker and a U.S. Senate candidate, supported the resolution. But as Daniel Strauss reported, Tillis issued a statement at the time elaborating on his perspective, connecting the resolution to his concerns about “reparations.”
“This measure does not obligate legislative members to provide reparations...” Tillis said. “Federal and State [sic] governments have redistributed trillions of dollars of wealth over the years by funding programs that are at least in part driven by their belief that we should provide additional reparations...”
To be sure, this is plainly dumb. Indeed, it’s arguably another “macaca” moment for the far-right candidate. Tillis’ argument seemed to be that Republicans need not fear the slavery resolution creating the basis for reparations because, as Tillis argued, African Americans already receive “de facto reparations” in the form of public assistance. In other words, while trying to defend his vote in support of a Democratic resolution, Tillis ended up making a racially charged argument about the social safety net. The Republican effectively said welfare and reparations are the same thing, which is clearly an ugly and ignorant charge for anyone, especially a U.S. Senate candidate, to make. But there’s a larger context that arguably makes Tillis’ remarks slightly worse. read article
US Supreme Court ruling blocks same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting in NC
BY ANNE BLYTHE October 8, 2014
News and Observer
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on Wednesday that means voters in North Carolina will not be able to vote out of their precincts on Nov. 4 nor register to vote and cast ballots on the same day. The ruling blocked a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision Oct. 1 that reinstated same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting for the coming election.
Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented and issued an opinion outlining their reasons. They said they had no reason to disagree with the 4th Circuit’s reasoning that elimination of same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting would limit opportunities for black voters to cast ballots. Ginsburg said the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had “worked to safeguard long-obstructed access to the ballot by African-Americans” by blocking such election-law changes in the South. But the court voided that “pre-clearance rule” last year in a 5-4 decision.
...The challengers contend the changes made in 2013 discriminate against African-Americans, Latinos and voters younger than 25. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling and others made in the case are just steps in a protracted legal process.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has set a trial for July 2015 to hear arguments for and against constitutional questions raised by the challengers. Schroeder held hearings this past July to determine what parts of the 2013 law, if any, would apply to the November elections. In August, Schroeder ruled that the challengers had not shown that any voters would suffer “irreparable harm” if the elections were governed by the 2013 law...
The U.S. Supreme Court offered little explanation for its ruling on Wednesday to uphold Schroeder’s ruling and reject the 4th Circuit order to reinstate same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. read article
The legislature's farce on education support
Stuart Egan/Guest columnist Oct 3, 2014
Winston Salem Journal
The current General Assembly is very scared of public school teachers and their supporters. And they should be... This GOP-controlled General Assembly has unintentionally but successfully turned the focus of November’s elections to the vitality of communities and the right to a quality public education... teachers represent a base for most communities, the public school system. And they are strong in numbers.
Those running for the General Assembly in November knew that two years ago; they just didn’t seem to care. They knew it when they ... froze pay scales more than six years ago... That is why the GOP powers passed a secretly crafted budget that included a “7 percent average raise for teachers.” But this budget is a pure political farce. It was really just a reallocation of money and a calculated way to give the public the illusion that the General Assembly is a champion for public education. N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said, “Now by providing the largest teacher pay raise in state history, we’ll be able to recruit and retain the best educators to prepare our children for the future.” He’s wrong. read column
Federal appeals court blocks two changes to NC elections laws
Oct. 1, 2014
By Matthew Burns WRAL
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that two provisions of North Carolina's controversial 2013 elections law cannot be enforced during the November election. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction against provisions that eliminated same-day registration during the early voting period and that prevented ballots cast outside of a voter's precinct from being counted.
The court, which heard arguments in the case last week in Charlotte, said other provisions of the law, such as reducing early voting from 17 to 10 days and the ability for county boards of elections to keep polls open late on Election Day to accommodate crowds or deal with voting problems, would remain in effect...
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in August denied a preliminary injunction in the case, ruling that the groups failed to show they would suffer "irreparable harm." In a 2-1 ruling, however, the appeals court ruled that Schroeder "got the law plainly wrong in several crucial respects," referring to the Voting Rights Act and then abused his discretion in denying an injunction. read article
New York Times:
2 New Limits on Voting in North Carolina Are Rejected by U.S. Court
BREAKING: Federal Appeals Court Halts Major Part Of North Carolina’s Voter Suppression Law
North Carolina moves to the U.S. Supreme Court after Fourth Circuit refuses to stay ruling on voting law
by Sharon McCloskey Thursday, October 2, 2014
The same three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals which yesterday blocked state provisions eliminating same-day registration and prohibiting the counting of out-of-precinct ballots refused today, by a 2-1 vote, to stay its ruling pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court’s order is here. And as expected, the state shortly after asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stay the 4th Circuit ruling. A copy of the state’s emergency application is here. That makes two states now with emergency applications for stays in voting rights cases now pending at the nation’s highest court. Earlier today the American Civil Liberties Union asked the Supreme Court to block Wisconsin’s voter ID law from taking effect for the election next month. read article
Kay Hagan’s Surprising Strength
SEPT. 25, 2014 Nate Cohn New York Times
If there is any state where the Democrats are defying expectations — and where Republicans should be kicking themselves — it’s North Carolina.
This spring, North Carolina looked like the obvious sixth pickup state for the Republicans, just enough to take the Senate. The state is competitive only in presidential elections when turnout rises, especially among young and nonwhite voters. The Democratic incumbent, Kay Hagan, needed to compensate with big inroads among conservative white voters. But the polls showed her poorly positioned to do so. Her approval ratings were low; she was stuck in the low 40s among registered voters against Republican candidates who had yet to win their party’s nomination.
It couldn’t look more different today. If the Democrats assemble a firewall in defense of the Senate, the polling suggests North Carolina will be its bulwark. Ms. Hagan leads her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, in nearly every survey over the last month by an average of more than three percentage points. read article
Understanding purple North Carolina
9/24/2014 by Rob Schofield
NC Policy Watch
...the New York Times published an article that attempted to describe the sharply divided politics of 21st Century North Carolina. The article (“North Carolina, in Political Flux, Battles for Its Identity”) was part of a series entitled “States in Play” that the Times is featuring in the run-up to the 2014 election.
...If there’s an overarching shortcoming to the story, it is the author’s failure – a common and easy one for outsiders – to adequately acknowledge the breadth and depth of North Carolina’s homegrown, progressive political tradition... the story also asserts that “The presence here of so many liberal voters to compete with a robust core of conservatives may be because of North Carolina’s proximity to the more liberal Northeast.”...The truth of the matter, however, is that ...it’s far too simplistic to cast North Carolina’s modern political battle as one between conservative natives and liberal newcomers. Indeed, as those who have been paying attention to the state’s politics for the last several decades can readily attest, southern accents and progressive politics are far from mutually exclusive.
Compelling examples abound. North Carolina native Rev. William Barber of the state NAACP regularly notes, for instance, that it was well over a century ago that a “fusion” movement of newly enfranchised African-Americans and progressive whites actually wielded significant power in state politics for several years. In more recent decades, several important progressive leaders — Frank Porter Graham, William Friday, Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt, just to name a few – have risen to power and prominence. Heck, North Carolina had a dynamic, impactful and homegrown African-American House Speaker in Raleigh’s Dan Blue nearly a quarter-century ago – a time during which the state’s population was just two-thirds of its present size. read article
The McCrory subplot in the Senate race
9/16/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon
NC Policy Watch
...Tillis is trying at every opportunity to tie Hagan closely to President Obama, whose approval ratings are underwater in the state, a situation that’s not unusual for most incumbent presidents halfway through their second term in office. That’s a big structural advantage for Tillis. But unlike many challengers around the country, he brings his own significant baggage to the race, a deeply unpopular General Assembly that he has led for the last four years that has lower approval ratings in the state than the president.
Thanks to gerrymandered districts, many North Carolinians haven’t had the chance to express their opposition to the far-right agenda of the legislature in any meaningful way at the ballot box. Tillis as the Republican Senate nominee gives them that chance. The stakes in the race are enormous. The outcome may determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years...
But there’s somebody else who is surely watching the Senate battle carefully— Governor Pat McCrory... The race is in many ways a preview of what McCrory will face in 2016... Despite his efforts to claim independence from the powerful leaders of the General Assembly...he has been a willing if not enthusiastic partner of the hard-right agenda of the legislative leadership that is so unpopular. read article
Planned Parenthood Ad Hits GOP Candidates On OTC Birth Control
by Laura Bassett
09/12/2014 Huffington Post
In its first TV ad buy of the 2014 cycle, Planned Parenthood's political arm is warning voters in North Carolina and Colorado that Republican Senate candidates' support for over-the-counter birth control is not what it seems... Most Republican candidates, including Tillis and Gardner, oppose a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires most employers to cover contraception in their health insurance plans. But in an effort to woo women voters, four Republican Senate candidates -- Tillis, Gardner, Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Mike McFadden in Minnesota -- have recently touted their support for over-the-counter birth control as an alternative to mandatory insurance coverage of the pill... While Planned Parenthood and doctors' groups agree that birth control pills should be available without a prescription, they do not see the plan as a worthy substitute for insurance coverage of contraception. read article/watch video
Go to Our Women's Rights Page
Some female voters not OK with Tillis' use of 'Kay'
By Laura Leslie Sept. 4, 2014 WRAL
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis scored few points with female voters during his Wednesday night debate with Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan by repeatedly calling her by her first name. In political debates, opponents usually use each other's titles. Hagan, for example, consistently addressed Tillis as "Speaker Tillis" because of his position in the state House.
Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said...,
"We saw some of the reaction on social media, on Twitter, on Facebook, from women voters who didn't quite appreciate the tone he took with the senator," ...some debate-watchers accused Tillis... of trying to belittle Hagan...
Republicans nationally have had trouble wooing female voters, and polls show Tillis has a large gender gap to overcome in the Senate race. read article
Haugh could be spoiler in US Senate race
By Laura Leslie Sept. 3, 2014 WRAL
When Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis meet Wednesday for the first of two debates in the Senate race, they won't be joined by Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh...
Tillis and Hagan have traded small leads throughout the summer, usually only a percentage point or two, and are nearly always within a poll's margin of error. Despite more than $16 million in largely negative ads poured into the race by outside groups through Sept. 1, neither has gained any substantial traction.
In that context, Haugh's ability to draw even a few points of support could affect the contest's outcome, says North Carolina State University political science professor Steve Greene… "Traditionally, Libertarian candidates do draw more from Republicans – though not exclusively – and given the prominent strain of libertarianism in the GOP of late, this has got to be a genuine concern for Tillis," [says Greene].
Polls seem to confirm that Haugh is more of a threat to Tillis than to Hagan. read article
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Non-Jury Felony Trials
Summary on page 4
N.C. Voters will see State Constitutional Amendment on Nov. 2014 Ballot
July 02, 2013 — Paige Worsham
NC Center for Public Policy Research
...The amendment, if approved by voters in the statewide election, would allow a criminal defendant, when the prosecutor is not seeking the death penalty, to waive the right to a jury trial with the trial judge's consent and instead be tried by a judge... read article
Also see WRAL: Voters will decide whether felony criminal defendants can waive jury trials
Click, print and Distribute Widely!
This half sheet (front and back) handout quickly outlines all the important reasons we all need to vote--and Get Out The Vote--this fall. When someone asks you why they should vote for Democrats, you will be ready, and then so will they.
Turn NC Blue Voting Guide Cards!
Click here for PDF
They have all election information:
who to vote for, which office; times, dates and locations of early voting
and election day.
Print out on blue card stock to hand out to people everywhere you go!
Good information for talking with potential women voters--
NC Justice Center Fact Sheet:
Wrong Choices for NC on Women:
Tar Heel women continue to deal with elevated levels of unemployment, underemployment, and poverty compared to men–despite having higher education levels. Rather than enacting policies that increase women’s economic security, state lawmakers have pursued policies that fall particularly hard on low-income women and their families... Read and print PDF here
How to mobilize reluctant voters
By Melissa Michelson July 15
...Personal contacting works to persuade people to vote regularly even though the interactions do not increase voters’ resources and have little or no impact on their underlying attitudes about public issues. It is the social interaction itself that seems to matter. read article from the book Mobilizing Inclusion
Judge orders Appalachian State early voting site
The Associated Press October 13, 2014
A North Carolina trial court judge said Monday that state election officials must retool Watauga County's early voting plan to include at least one center at Appalachian State University for later this month. Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled from the bench in favor of Appalachian State students and nearby residents who are registered voters and asked for a judicial review of the state board's ruling from late August.
The registrants argued a plan approved 4-1 by the state board without on-campus early voting violates their constitutional rights and burdens younger voters... Stephens wrote in his order that based on evidence that he could "conclude no other intent from that board's decision other than to discourage student voting. A decision based on that intent is a significant infringement of students' rights to vote and rises to the level of a constitutional violation of the right to vote." read article
Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis pull no punches in second debate
By Craig Jarvis Tuesday, Oct. 07, 2014
...The fast-paced and occasionally personal tone was set with Hagan’s opening remarks: “Speaker Tillis has built a record of dividing our state, always putting the wealthy and big corporations first.” Later in the debate, she called Tillis “spineless” for criticizing President Barack Obama’s handling of the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq while refusing to say what he would do... “I assume you’re proud you voted with him 96 percent of the time,” Tillis said. “I think it’s fair to make this election about his policies.” Hagan’s response: “One hundred percent of the time Speaker Tillis’ policies have hurt North Carolina,” she said. “He’s gutted education, killed the equal pay bill, no Medicaid expansion.”
...Hagan noted she came out against the state’s [same-sex marriage] constitutional ban, and added, “I don’t think anybody, including the government, should tell people who they should love.”
...“Sen. Hagan’s solution is spending more money,” Tillis said. “It’s very simple: Government needs to get out of the way. We need to get our spending under control and we need to reduce our regulations.” Hagan retorted with a summary of the General Assembly’s actions under Tillis: “He’s sending our teachers to Texas, our film industry to Georgia, and Medicaid dollars to 28 other states. That’s his failed economic policy.” read full article
Also see: Politics USA: Kay Hagan Wins Debate Amid Her Republican Opponent’s Multiple Blunders
Black Voters May Carry Kay Hagan To Victory In November
10/06/2014 by Jennifer Bendery
DURHAM, N.C. ...HuffPost last week talked to two dozen randomly selected black voters in the Raleigh-Durham area -- on the streets, in shopping centers, on a college campus -- to see if they plan to vote in November. People were encouraged to be honest if they expected to skip out. Yet the responses were nearly universal: An emphatic yes to voting, even if they don't know much about who’s running.
... “People I talk to say there’s two reasons they’re moved to vote: one is economic, the second is education,” said North Carolina state Rep. Larry Hall, who represents Durham and serves as the House minority leader. Republicans took control of the legislature and the governor’s office in 2012, and since then, they have ushered through significant cuts to education, among other things. That has taken a toll on the black community in particular, he said. “In the African-American community, schools are centers of daily life. Taking away teachers, cutting field trips because we have no money, no books … it’s palpable,” Hall said. “If there is energy in this election, it will be in the African-American community.” read article
On the Record: Analyzing NC's 6th District - Laura Fjeld
(includes northern Durham)
Oct. 4, 2014 WRAL
After Howard Coble's long tenure, North Carolina's 6th District is up for grabs in November. Laura Fjeld goes "On the Record" on
Watch video and learn why Fjeld is the better candidate
Candidates & Issues: Kay Hagan
Oct. 1, 2014 WRAL
Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan discusses her priorities, the economy, immigration, the Affordable Care Act and U.S. foreign policy. watch video
VIDEO: College Republican blocks campus voter registration drive
10/03/14 By Zachary Roth MSNBC
North Carolina Republicans’ zeal to make voting harder seems to be catching on with the younger generation. The leader of a college Republican chapter in the state was caught on camera telling a conservative group that it couldn’t register voters on campus Wednesday—the same day state leaders pledged to take their fight for a restrictive voting law to the Supreme Court. “I just do not want to have people being registered to vote, whatsoever,” Leigh Thomas, chair of the High Point University College Republicans, said in the video, which was first published by Campus Reform, a conservative activist group. watch video
Fact Check: GOP flier says NC senator voted to give illegal immigrants health care
By Mark Binker Sept. 25, 2014 WRAL
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — State Sen. Gene McLaurin, D-Richmond, isn't surprised to be playing defense this election cycle, but he said "it was a shock" to see a flier criticizing him for backing an immigration bill that top Republicans leaders also voted for... The health care claims in this flier may have been enough to earn it a red light all on their own. The issue of illegal immigration has hardly ever figured into North Carolina's Medicaid expansion debate. The piece of the Medicaid program that gives this claim a sliver of credibility is tiny compared to overall spending in North Carolina.
But the GOP's flier earns extra marks for hubris and hypocrisy by slamming McLaurin, a Democrat, for a vote that put him squarely in step with the General Assembly's Republican leaders. McLaurin voted with the majority of Senate Republicans to override McCrory's veto. ... the bulk of that legislation was aimed at tightening immigration restrictions, not loosening them. This flier gets a an unqualified red light on our fact-checking scale. read article
What’s at stake in today’s voting rights hearing
9/25/2014 by Steve Ford NC Policy Watch
...A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th Circuit is to hear the arguments on Thursday, Sept. 25, in Charlotte. Civil rights groups challenging the rules say they are unconstitutional in infringing on the voting rights of certain residents, African-Americans in particular. Those groups hope to keep the new rules from taking effect at least until a trial scheduled for next summer.
So here we go. There was never a chance that the changes... by the... General Assembly... wouldn’t generate a significant pushback in the courts. What was initially unclear was whether that pushback would gain any traction. With the 4th Circuit’s decision to hold the Sept. 25 session in Charlotte, at least opponents of the changes will be able to say they got the courts’ attention, and at a level just below the U.S. Supreme Court itself. A ruling in the plaintiffs’ favor would countermand a decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who decided in August that the lawsuit didn’t warrant an injunction blocking the new election rules prior to next summer’s trial. read full article
NC residents mailed incorrect voter registration information
BY AMANDA ALBRIGHT September 25, 2014
Hundreds of North Carolinians – and one cat – have received incorrect voter registration information, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections. The information – an “official application form” – was sent by Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group with a state chapter based in Raleigh. Since then, hundreds of people who received the forms have called and complained to the State Board of Elections, said Joshua Lawson, a public information officer for the board. “It’s unclear where (Americans for Prosperity) got their list, but it’s caused a lot of confusion for people in the state,” Lawson said. read all the inaccuracies here
Democrats now have a 51 percent chance of holding the Senate
By Chris Cillizza
Sept. 16, 2014
Democrats are now (very slightly) favored to hold the Senate majority on Nov. 4, according to Election Lab, The Post's statistical model of the 2014 midterm elections. Election Lab puts Democrats' chances of retaining their majority at 51 percent — a huge change from even a few months ago, when the model predicted that Republicans had a better than 80 percent chance of winning the six seats they need to take control... North Carolina [has](a 97 percent chance of winning now as opposed to a 92 percent chance on Aug. 27). read article
Putting a face on voter suppression
by Rob Schofield
NC Policy Watch
Report details the real life havoc that North Carolina’s controversial new voting laws are wreaking Read the new report here
...For years now, civil rights advocates have issued report after report and filed lawsuit after lawsuit challenging the transparent efforts of conservative activists to suppress the vote of disfavored groups of Americans – racial minorities, the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. [a] new report by Democracy NC [identifies] more than 450 actual North Carolina voters who were disenfranchised just this past May by the state’s 2013 “Monster Voting Law.”
This is from the report:
...“While Black voters make up 22% of all registered voters, they were 39% of those who lost their votes because of the two rule changes – the elimination of same-day registration and elimination of out-of-precinct voting on Election Day. Democrats are 42% of the state’s registered voters, but 57% of those disenfranchised by the new rules.” read much more here
Mail-in voting starts, with changes
By Laura Leslie Sep. 5, 2014 WRAL
Sept. 5 is the first day for voters to request and submit mail-in absentee ballots for the November 4th general election. The process for voting by mail is different this year because of legislative changes made in 2013.
Requests for mail-in ballots will be accepted until 5:00pm on Oct. 28th, one week before the election. The mail-in ballots themselves must be postmarked no later than Election Day, Nov. 4th.
Hagan, Tillis meet in first Senate debate
Sept. 3, 2014 WRAL
By Matthew Burns and Laura Leslie
Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis traded accusations and talking points for an hour Wednesday night during their first face-to-face debate before the Nov. 4 election. read article
Wisdom from the Kay Hagan Women’s Summit – Let’s Get Women Out To Vote!
by Sondra Stein 8/29/2014
Durham Democratic Women
So much depends on whether we can get women out to vote in high enough numbers to shift the balance in support of the issues we care about as women: education, jobs that pay a wage that enables us to support our families, access to affordable and high quality health care – including birth control and other reproductive health care -- in every community, a decent future for our kids and grandkids, with clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Not much to ask for, really.
But right now the politicians in power at both the state level and in Congress just won’t stand up for these issues. Instead, they are dismantling services. Defunding public education. Bankrupting public resources by cutting taxes for the rich and limiting how much cities and towns can collect. Limiting our right to vote. Making it harder for all of us to thrive in North Carolina. They just have the wrong priorities. And we have to change that. continue reading
In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan seeks to ride backlash against state GOP leaders
By Matea Gold August 13, 2014 Washington Post
...The visceral reaction to Tillis, who as speaker of the state House has been one of the leaders of a new conservative majority, explains why Democrats think Hagan may be in as strong a position as any vulnerable Democratic U.S. senator this year. Hagan is one of a handful of incumbents whose seats are seen as crucial for Republicans to win to retake control of the Senate. While Tillis has tried to link Hagan to a dysfunctional Congress and an unpopular Democratic president, Hagan has devoted much of her time to presenting Tillis as a key player in a state government out of step with most North Carolinians.
In effect, the Senate race here is shaping up as a battle over which is worse, Washington or Raleigh, and whether President Obama or the Republican-led state legislature is more guilty of overreach.
Judge: NC vote can be held with GOP-backed changes
Aug 8, 2014 WRAL
A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina's November election can be held under new voting rules drafted last year by Republican lawmakers.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder on Friday denied a motion seeking to hold the November vote under old rules, pending a trial scheduled for next year. A coalition of groups, including the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, filed suit over more than two dozen changes to voting laws approved by the GOP-controlled state legislature in 2013. read article
Hudson vows to stay positive
Doug Clark Aug 5, 2014
News and Record
N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson will speak out against untruthful attacks targeting her opponent, Eric Levinson, she said Monday. Independent political groups increasingly are pouring money into state judicial elections, usually with negative TV ads. "I would not welcome that at all," [said] Hudson... More attacks of this kind are likely in our judicial races this fall. Hudson won the primary and now faces Levinson in November. The two were colleagues on the Court of Appeals a decade ago. Hudson said she won't hesitate to speak up for Levinson if he is unfairly attacked. "I served with Eric," she said. "I like Eric. We worked well together. I respect his service."
If judicial candidates run positive campaigns and reject the "help" of outside, big-money special interests, they will do a service for our courts. The attacks drag down public confidence in the entire system. They should be discredited and repudiated. read editorial
The GOP self-destruction is complete: millennials officially hate conservatives
The backlash machine has finally backfired with a generation that cringes at old people yelling at gay clouds
Ana Marie Cox Monday 14 July 2014 The Guardian
Conservatives are stuck in a perpetual outrage loop. The reappearance of Todd Akin, the horror-movie villain immortality of Sarah Palin, the unseemly celebration of the Hobby Lobby decision – these all speak to a chorus of "la-la-la-can't-hear-you" loud enough to drown out the voice of an entire generation. Late last week, the Reason Foundation released the results of a poll about that generation, the millennials; its signature finding was the confirmation of a mass abandonment of social conservatism and the GOP. This comes at a time when the conservative movement is increasingly synonymous with mean-spirited, prank-like and combative activism and self-important grand gestures. The millennial generation has repeatedly defined itself as the most socially tolerant of the modern era, but one thing it really can't stand is drama.
...But liberals can't be complacent about their demographic advantage... Right now, Democrats benefit from both the form and content of conservative message: this next generation is not just inclusive, but conflict-adverse. Millennials cringe at the old-man-yelling-at-gay-clouds spectacle of the Tea Party... If this generation does have a political philosophy, it's this: "First, do no harm." If it has a guiding moral principle, it's simpler: "Don't be embarrassing." read article
Fjeld brings no-nonsense approach to 6th District race
August 24, 2014 By Susan Ladd News & Record
...She plans to attack the gridlock in Washington the way she approaches any challenge — one person at a time. “I really don’t believe there are 434 people who I couldn’t work with on some level,” Fjeld said, referring to the U.S. House of Representatives. “It’s urgent to get to this work. I would start by building relationships with people, some of whom may never see eye-to-eye.”
Her primary focus is threefold: bringing jobs to the district, repairing the economy and strengthening education. “I think people want their representative to really think about what they’re doing instead of just having a knee-jerk reaction into some partisan position,” Fjeld said. “As I talk to voters, I see a lot of good stuff going on, and I want to find ways to bring more good stuff to the table.” read article
Coal ash could become campaign hazard
Aug 14, 2014 WRAL By Mark Binker
North Carolina's 33 coal ash ponds could pose a political hazard this fall as the General Assembly adjourns for the time being without finishing work on legislation to address the environmental hazard posed by the unlined pits filled with toxin-laced material. After a Feb. 2 spill from a shuttered Duke Energy plant dumped roughly 40,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River, Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate vowed to craft legislation that would lead to the cleanup of the ponds that sit along waterways at 14 plants across the state. Progress on that legislation hit a snag earlier this month after legislative leaders couldn't resolve their differences over two different versions of the bill.
Lawmakers say they will return after the November election to take up both coal ash legislation and a Medicaid reform package. In the meantime, not only will state House and Senate members face voters without tackling what was supposedly a top priority for the summer session, but House Speaker Thom Tillis will campaign against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan with a significant item remaining on his chamber's to-do list. read article
Let’s work to try to stave off that irreparable harm
08/16/2014 by Sondra Stein
Durham Democratic Women
The decision by Judge Thomas Schroeder not to issue a preliminary injunction against the Republicans’ voter suppression law is slowly sinking in. While voting law changes not nearly as regressive as ours have been found to be unconstitutional in other states – and may ultimately be found to be unconstitutional here, too – the Judge was not prepared to find that the law would cause ‘irreparable harm.’
What is irreparable harm, in this case? I think it is pretty clear: depriving North Carolina citizens of our right to vote. If the provisions of the law make it difficult for any group of our citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote then it clearly, prima facie, causes irreparable harm. read full column
North Carolina Becomes the Latest Casualty of the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act Decision
by Ari Berman Aug 9, 2014
On Wednesday, August 6, the country celebrated the forty-ninth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the most impactful civil rights law ever passed by Congress. Two days later, a federal judge in North Carolina denied a preliminary injunction to block key provisions of the state’s new voting law, widely described as the most onerous in the country. North Carolina’s new voting restrictions will now be in effect for the 2014 midterms and beyond, pending a full trial in July 2015...The federal government and plaintiffs including the North Carolina NAACP and the League of Women Voters argued during a hearing last month that three important parts of the law—a reduction in early voting from seventeen to ten days, the elimination of same-day registration during the early voting period, and a prohibition on counting provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct—disproportionally burdened African-American voters in violation of Section 2 of the VRA and should be enjoined before the 2014 election. As evidence, plaintiffs showed that in recent elections African-Americans were twice as likely to vote early, use same-day registration and vote out-of-precinct...
Judge Thomas Schroeder of the Middle District of North Carolina disagreed...he wrote in a 125-page opinion. "...Even assuming Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits, they have not demonstrated they are likely to suffer
irreparable harm—a necessary prerequisite for preliminary relief—before trial in the absence of an injunction.” read article
Move to Center Divides G.O.P. in North Carolina
By RICHARD FAUSSET JULY 25, 2014
New York Times
The objective of the Republican Party here last year was clear: Unleash the pent-up conservative revolution in a state where the party had not controlled the state legislature and governor’s office for more than a century... But this summer is a different story. One of the leaders of the revolution, Speaker Thom Tillis of the House, is trying to win a United States Senate seat. Another, Gov. Pat McCrory, is eyeing a tough challenge in 2016, and the legislature is unpopular. That dynamic helps explain why the Republicans this week found themselves stuck in the sweltering capital, locked in an intraparty budget battle over teacher salaries, at loggerheads over how best to manage the state Medicaid system and riven by emerging personal, political and ideological agendas... “They’re trying to do something about it,” said Senator Josh Stein, a Democrat. “But they’ve painted themselves into a corner.” read article
If Judges Campaign Like Ordinary Politicians, Can We Have Impartial Courts?
By DOROTHY J. SAMUELS
JULY 23, 2014 New York Times
...Another election season, another round of expensive state judicial elections destined to undermine the core American principle of fair and impartial courts. Things got started in earnest at the beginning of May with North Carolina’s judicial primary. Attack ads underwritten largely by out-of-state Republican interest groups charged that a sitting state Supreme Court justice, Robin Hudson, coddled child molesters and “sided with predators” in a dissent while on the bench. Somehow she prevailed despite the negative publicity.
...no one should feel good about judges having to grovel for money and campaign like ordinary politicians... For judges to campaign based on their decisions in criminal cases is a dicey business even when provoked. Still, those who care about judicial independence and integrity should be rooting for the three well-qualified judges. Their ouster would only accelerate the politicization of state justice and send an intimidating message to elected judges nationwide, who may hesitate to render correct but controversial rulings, especially near an election. read column
Kay Hagan boasts 7-point lead in latest Senate poll
John Frank July 22, 2014 N&O
Democrat Kay Hagan continues to hold a solid lead against her Republican challenger in the U.S. Senate race, another possible sign the of how the legislative session is dragging on the Thom Tillis campaign. A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday gives Hagan a 7 point lead against Tillis, which is a slight increase from June and represents second straight month with a solid advantage in a race many expect to be close. Hagan gets 41 percent, Tillis 34 percent and Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh 8 percent, the Democratic firm found. Another 16 percent are undecided in a survey with a margin or error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.
Two polls in June – one from PPP and another from a conservative group – gave Hagan a lead outside the margins. PPP pollster Tom Jensen suggested voters discontent with the legislature may be hurting Tillis as a prolonged session keeps him from a full-time campaign message and fundraising. But it could turn. “Kay Hagan’s lead just continues to rise as the legislature spends longer and longer and longer in session,” added Dean Debnam, the polling company’s president... read
Justice speaks about negative advertising
By Jeff Eason
July 19, 2014
The Blowing Rocket
...Hudson said that the new effort to influence the outcome of judicial races with large amounts of outside money is “a dangerous affront to the judicial system. This is important. There really are some high stakes here and the biggest one is the independence of our judiciary, our whole system of justice here in North Carolina and throughout the country,” Hudson said.
She said that she was heartened by the widespread support she received after the attack ads began to run on television. “People from all over the state got in touch with me and said how disgusted they were with those ads,” she said...
“Judges in North Carolina are supposed to be elected by our people, not bought by outside sources. In order to keep the judicial system independent, we have to do what we do without fear of attacks.” According to Hudson, one of the things that sets the judiciary apart from the legislative and gubernatorial branches of government is that it is purposefully designed to be nonpartisan...
“The Supreme Court of North Carolina is the last word, the final decider, if you will, of how the law is applied to everybody.” read article
A year after Supreme Court strips Voting Rights Act, prospects for change
by Sharon McCloskey
NC Policy Watch
It’s been a year since a sharply divided Supreme Court declared victory in the war against voter discrimination and suppression and tossed out one of the most powerful weapons used in that battle – preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
...“Because voting discrimination comes to light near major elections or right after the decennial census, we are only beginning to see examples of potentially discriminatory voting changes post-Shelby,” said the authors of this report released by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Already though voting changes in at least seven states, including North Carolina, are setting off alarms. read article
Words of wisdom from the N.C. House speaker and U.S. Senate candidate
By Jane Porter June 25, 2014 INDY WEEK
Dear Thom Tillis:
How Long Does It Take For a Black Person to Become a Traditional North Carolinian?
CYNTHIA R. GREENLEE JUNE 21, 2014
The American Prospect
I hope I can call you Thom; you may certainly call me Cynthia. Given the circumstances—given how far the policies you've supported since becoming Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives have reached into my home and even my vagina—I feel we are on intimate terms that make surnames superfluous.
In your 2012 comments to Carolina Business Review, unearthed by TPM last week, you [said:] "The traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable. It’s not growing. The African American population is roughly growing but the Hispanic population and the other immigrant populations are growing in significant numbers... Daniel Keylin, your helpful spokesperson, clarified what you meant by "traditional": “‘Traditional North Carolinians’ refers to North Carolinians who have been here for a few generations. A lot of the state’s recent population growth is from people who move from other states to live, work, and settle down in North Carolina. Thom Tillis, [who moved his family to North Carolina from Virginia in 1998], for example.”
Nice try, but your comments to CBR specifically excluded African Americans from your definition of “traditional North Carolinians.” Your narrow and racialized definition of North Carolina-ity—to coin a phrase—neatly cuts out about 20 percent of the state's people, people you purport to represent.
As a lifelong North Carolinian and a lifelong black person, I wonder when people like me will ever fit into your version of citizenship.
As a lifelong North Carolinian and a lifelong black person, I wonder when people like me will ever fit into your version of citizenship... read letter
The value of young voters
Letter by Montravias King and Lee Storrow July 25, 2014
North Carolina’s cities and towns benefit when young people are engaged in civic life, and we respectfully disagree with Jay DeLancy’s July 20 Point of View piece “ How young voters can be a destabilizing force in college towns.” ...There is longstanding Supreme Court precedent that college students have a right to vote in the towns where they are attending school. In 1979, the court ruled in Symm v. United States (with only one justice dissenting) that discrimination against college students seeking to vote at their college addresses is a violation of the 26th Amendment...
Even if this legal precedent didn’t exist, young people and college students provide value to college towns... College towns witness tensions between students and community members in neighborhoods near campus... Student input is key to tackling challenges in our communities, and as young council members we’ve been able to be a bridge between students and other residents... read letter
Hagan, Tillis agree to two debate dates
July 20, 2014 WRAL
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, who is challenging Hagan for her Senate seat, have agreed to dates for two debates sponsored by the N.C. Association of Broadcasters. The debates will take place on Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. WRAL-TV and WRAL.com will carry both debates live. Tillis has said he would like to debate Hagan up to 10 times, but Hagan said she would only agree to three debates. Both campaigns have also agreed to a debate co-hosted by the N.C. League of Women Voters and WECT-TV (Wilmington). That date has not been set. read article
Justice Robin Hudson
interview on on MSNBC
RONAN FARROW DAILY 07/15/14
‘Dark money’ pours into North Carolina race. David Avella and Karen Finney join Ronan Farrow to discuss the politics of dark money in the state.
To Hold Senate, Democrats Rely on Single Women
By JACKIE CALMES
JULY 2, 2014 New York Times
The decline of marriage over the last generation has helped create an emerging voting bloc of unmarried women... Single women, Democrats say, will determine whether they keep Senate seats in states including Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and North Carolina..
The party is using advanced data-gathering techniques to identify unmarried women, especially those who have voted in presidential elections but skipped midterms. By mail, online, phone and personal contact, Democrats and their allies are spreading the word about Republicans’ opposition in Washington — and state capitals like Raleigh — to pay equity, minimum wage and college-affordability legislation; abortion and contraception rights; Planned Parenthood; and education spending.
Nowhere is the courtship of unmarried women as intense as in North Carolina, where Senator Kay Hagan... read article
Voter registration is the antidote to voter suppression
By Benjamin Jealous
UPDATED 06/25/14 MSNBC
We have the antidote to voter suppression. In fact, we’ve always had it.
We have known what it is for at least half a century. Fifty years ago this month, Freedom Summer activists risked life and limb to register voters in Mississippi and spread the gospel of democracy across the southern United States. They confirmed the notion that the best way to overcome massive voter suppression is through a massive wave of voter registration. As we prepare for the midterm election of 2014 – and look toward the presidential election of 2016 – we need to remember their lesson. read article
State Senators Know a Thing or Two about 'Citizens United'
June 19, 2014 The Brennan Center for Justice NYU
On June 3, 2014, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a potential Constitutional Amendment (S.J. Res. 19) to reverse the infamous Citizens United decision. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stole the headlines, although they were both examples of negative charisma, trotting out standard talking points at a snail’s pace and with the enthusiasm of coma patients. The real verve at the hearing came from two state senators who shared their knowledge from outside the beltway: Maryland State Senator Jamin Raskin and North Carolina State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr...
McKissick noted in particular the damage that Citizens United had caused in state judicial elections: “This year, I watched one of our sitting Supreme Court Justices, Robin Hudson, attacked in the most despicable and dishonest way. … Ads from a dark money group claimed that she coddled child molesters … and it was painful to see her face such dishonest, dishonorable smears. Those ads were character assassination, plain and simple.” McKissick’s oral answers were equally as pointed about how political spending could impact North Carolina’s courts: Citizens United has profoundly changed the landscape…These entities have gone in there with their dark money and spent over a million dollars to disproportionally impact the outcome of that race --to taint that Supreme Court Justice in a way that was unlike anything we have ever seen.… In North Carolina, the control of that Supreme Court is at stake right now. Why is it a very significant issue? Because these laws that have been enacted in our state that superior court judges are determining to be unconstitutional will ultimately end up there. read article
Poll: Hagan holds early lead over Tillis in U.S. Senate contest
on June 17, 2014 by BWarner The Voter Update
Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan leads Republican N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis in their U.S. Senate race, according to new numbers from Public Policy Polling. The survey also shows North Carolina voters favoring a tax increase to pay for teacher raises. The poll finds Hagan with a five-point advantage over Tillis, 39-34 percent... read article
EMILY's List launches $3M push in NC
By Cameron Joseph The Hill
June 16, 2014
EMILY's List is launching $3 million worth of efforts to reelect Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), kicking off with an ad attacking House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) on education cuts. The group, which supports pro-abortion rights Democratic women, will be a major player in a race that's already featured more than $10 million in outside spending. read/watch video
2012 REMARK BECOMING HEADACHE FOR TILLIS
Friday, June 20, 2014 WTVD And the Associated Press
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is under fire for comments he made two years ago that some are calling offensive. Tillis' comments, made in 2012 on the Carolina Business Review show on public television, responded to a question about the Republican Party's future. The interviewer asked about the shift of Hispanic voters to the Democrats. Tillis' answer referred to Latinos and the black population. "We need a focus on limited government and free markets, which is something that's appealing to everybody," Tillis said on the show. "That kind of work will position us for those growing sectors. The traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable. It's not growing," he said. The African-American population is roughly growing but the Hispanic population and the other immigrant populations are growing in significant numbers. We've got to resonate with those future voters."
On Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan urged her Republican challenger to apologize for the "traditional" comments - saying he was wrong to separate black and Hispanic North Carolina residents from the "traditional population of North Carolina". "As an elected official, Speaker Tillis sets the wrong example by classifying some North Carolinians as traditional and implying others are not, and he should apologize for this offensive comment immediately," she said in a release.
Now others are echoing Hagan. Thursday, North Carolina's legislative black caucus asked for an apology and Friday, local ministers demanded the same. read/watch video
Candidate haunted by past statements on race
RACHEL MADDOW 06/17/14 MSNBC
Rachel Maddow shares new tape in which North Carolina State House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, makes a distinction between “traditional” North Carolina voters, African-Americans, and Hispanics. watch video
NC GOPer: Unlike Blacks Or Hispanics, 'Traditional' Population Isn't Growing (VIDEO)
DANIEL STRAUSS – JUNE 17, 2014
Talking Points Memo
State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC), the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, said that the "traditional" voting bloc of his home state wasn't growing like minority populations in an interview he did in 2012. read article
It’s education, stupid.
June 17, 2014
by Thomas Mills
National pundits are increasingly predicting that Kay Hagan is facing long odds in North Carolina... right now, the national mood is pretty anti-Obama. While North Carolina’s attitude toward the president may be in sync with the rest of the county, its political environment is in a whole different place...
To fully understand the impact of these battles, you need to understand North Carolina’s relationship to education... It’s that system of education that has made North Carolina a leader in the South and one of the most desirable places to live and work in the nation. And it’s that system of education that Thom Tillis and the GOP decided to attack... They demonized teachers and threatened to close college campuses. Instead of rising to their defense or trying to temper the most toxic rhetoric, Tillis smugly told us that this is what a conservative revolution looks like.
And it’s with this backdrop that the U.S. Senate race is unfolding. It’s why the EMILY’s List ad and the one by Senate Majority PAC are so effective. They remind us what everybody already knows: Thom Tillis cut public education. So far, Republicans have failed to come up with a response. Instead, they attack Hagan with tired Obamacare ads and claims that she’s ineffective. So the contrast that the GOP is setting up is the ineffective incumbent who toes the party line verses the Republican leader who did real damage to education in a state where it’s revered and now wants to take his agenda to Washington.
My money is still on Kay Hagan. read article
Hagan comes out swinging against Tillis
May 29, 2014 WRAL
by Cullen Browder and Adam Owens
...Speaking at the annual Green Tie Awards dinner of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, Hagan criticized Tillis on the issue of climate change... "Unlike my opponent Thom Tillis, who flatly denies the existence of climate change, I know the EPA’s ability to responsibly regulate greenhouse gas emissions is key to protecting our environment for future generations,” Hagan said.
Hagan went through a litany of legislation passed by the General Assembly on Tillis' watch, including cuts to unemployment benefits, a refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, tax reforms that favor the wealthy and cuts to education spending...
Hagan said she stands by her vote for the Affordable Care Act, adding that it needs to be amended to fix documented problems, not repealed. "He wants to repeal this bill," she said of Tillis, "which would take us back to a time that, if you had a pre-existing condition, you are out of luck as far as getting individual health care coverage. Seniors would be paying more for prescription drugs than they are today, and women would automatically be paying more than men." read article
America’s most gerrymandered congressional districts
(with interactive gerrymander map)
BY CHRISTOPHER INGRAHAM
May 15, 2014 Washington Post
This election year we can expect to hear a lot about Congressional district gerrymandering, which is when political parties redraw district boundaries to give themselves an electoral advantage... Contrary to one popular misconception about the practice, the point of gerrymandering isn't to draw yourself a collection of overwhelmingly safe seats. Rather, it's to give your opponents a small number of safe seats... North Carolina's 12th district, which holds the title of the nation's most-gerrymandered, is a textbook example of this: It snakes from north of Greensboro, to Winston-Salem, and then all the way down to Charlotte, spanning most of the state in the process. read article
Also see Vox.com: What are the most gerrymandered House delegations?
Conservatives, after dismantling public financing system, set sights on N.C. judiciary
Jeremy P. Jacobs, June 17, 2014
Environment & Energy Publishing (E&E)
...Hudson's race is indicative of a new focus across the country on judicial elections and a sharp uptick in the amount of money being spent on them. From 2000 to 2009, state Supreme Court candidates raised $206.4 million across the country, more than double the $83.3 million raised in the previous decade, according to an analysis by the liberal group Justice at Stake... The influx in outside spending raises legal and ethical questions. For one, when must a judge recuse himself if a case could affect a company or group that spent money to elect him? ...The amount of money flowing into the Hudson race is particularly striking because until last year the state's judicial elections were governed by a public financing program.... last year, the Legislature, with the backing of Pope, who now serves as Gov. Pat McCrory's budget director, repealed the program...
[Bob] Hall, of Democracy North Carolina, said the influx of money will undermine people's faith in the justice system. "It elevates the suspicion of the public," he said. "The whole judicial system is based on people having confidence that that's where you go for fairness. ... Now you've subjected it to the same political muck and money as the legislative and executive branch."
Hudson echoed that sentiment, saying that the appearance of corruption hits at the very core of a judge's mission. "We take an oath in which we swear to dispense justice and to be fair and impartial," she said. "Spending money to protect any sort of political agenda -- that's not consistent with our job as judges. Our job is not to have an agenda." read comprehensive article
June 13, 2014
A group of about 15 Durham voters, including local college students, attended the Durham Board of Elections meeting yesterday to advocate for a better early voting plan for the upcoming General Election. After initially "accepting" a weak voting plan that would not have had a site at any local Universities we spoke up. We were able to convince all the members of the board to put an early voting location at NC Central University and to extend the voting hours to 5:00 PM at all locations on the first Saturday of early voting! There will be four early voting locations (County BOE office, N. Regional Library, S. Regional Library, and NCCU) for the upcoming mid-term election... read post from Adam Sotak Democracy NC
PS-- Durham Dem Women was there too.
Women voters will be pivotal in North Carolina's U.S. Senate contest
By Renee Schoof May. 18, 2014
WASHINGTON --Women were the key to Sen. Kay Hagan’s election in 2008, and in what is likely to be a close race for re-election this year, she is stressing issues aimed at them--equal pay, health care, birth control and education. The strategy is part of North Carolina Democrat’s efforts to attack the policies pushed over the past three years by the Republican-controlled state legislature, where her GOP opponent, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, has played a major role.
Hagan’s game plan tries to capitalize on her party’s strength among women voters and gives her campaign a message that it hopes will appeal to women who vote independent as well. Boosting the Democratic turnout in the November mid-term election is crucial for Hagan, and Democratic candidates across the country. Midterms are traditionally low-turnout elections and often hurt the party in power, and this year it’s Hagan’s. “In all close Senate races, male or female, Democrats win by winning women more than they lose men by,” said Democratic political strategist Celinda Lake.. “So women are key to their victory.” read article
Thom Tillis to miss session for Senate fundraiser in Washington
by John Frank on May 15, 2014 N&O
House Speaker Thom Tillis will miss Monday’s legislative session to attend a U.S. Senate fundraiser in Washington. The Republican will attend a meet-and-greet at the offices of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, according to an invitation that solicits the maximum $2,600 campaign contribution.
The event starts at 3 p.m.; the House session starts at 4 p.m.
No votes are expected Monday, but the conflict exemplifies the challenge Tillis will face this session as he tries to raise the millions needed to be competitive against Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and run the House chamber. read article
Vulnerable Democrat Gives Stunningly Strong Defense Of Obamacare At Hearing
DYLAN SCOTT – MAY 8, 2014 Talking Points Memo
...While Republican senators mostly went through the motions with their anti-Obamacare talking points or outright endorsed Burwell as Kathleen Sebelius's replacement, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) used her time to trumpet the benefits of Medicaid expansion -- and emphasize the downside of not expanding. Left unsaid, but strongly implied, was that her opponent, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, who locked up the GOP nomination earlier this week, had been instrumental in stopping the state from expanding Medicaid under the law.
"Last year in North Carolina, our state legislature and governor decided against expanding the state's Medicaid program," Hagan said as she started her questioning, "and as a result, about 500,000 people who would have qualified for coverage through Medicaid are not now able to do so." "These are some of the most vulnerable in our society," she said, "who will continue to seek care in emergency rooms and then will leave chronic conditions unmanaged, which we know is detrimental to their health and the economy." read article
All The Single Ladies: 5 Takeaways About Unmarried Female Voters
by MARA LIASSON NPR May 05, 2014
In a midterm election that's expected to hinge on the demographic composition of the electorate, single women could be the key to Democratic chances to hold on to the Senate in November. While Republicans have a longstanding problem with female voters, this year it's Democrats who have the more urgent problem: how to get their most reliable female supporters to become more reliable voters...
Unmarried women are the single most important demographic this year. But unlike other "it" demographics (remember soccer moms?), single women are not a constituency that's in play: They're extremely reliable Democratic supporters... Single women make up about 25 percent of the electorate, and they're growing fast as marriage rates decline. But while they are reliable supporters for the Democrats — that is, when they vote — they are not reliable voters. read article/listen to story
Aiken victory confirmed as more details on Crisco’s death emerge
BY CRAIG JARVIS
May 13, 2014 N&O
In a formality overshadowed by the death of his opponent the previous day, a final count of votes on Tuesday confirmed that Clay Aiken will be the Democratic nominee running against Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers for Congress. The canvassing of votes – a tally of Election Day plus absentee and provisional ballots in nine counties – came the day after runner-up Keith Crisco died in a fall at his home in Asheboro. The cause of his death has not been determined yet, but more details emerged Tuesday... when total votes were counted, Aiken gained 21 votes over Crisco, giving him a 390-vote victory. He received 40.86 percent of the vote. read article
Outside Spending Enters Arena of Judicial Races
By ERIK ECKHOLM MAY 5, 2014 NY Times
The ad first appeared on television the Friday before last, a black-and-white spot charging that Justice Robin Hudson coddled child molesters and “sided with the predators” in a North Carolina Supreme Court dissent. It has run constantly since. As notable as the ad’s content and frequency, though, is its source. It was created and aired not by one of Justice Hudson’s two opponents in Tuesday’s primary election, but by a group that had just received $650,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington, which pools donations from corporations and individuals to promote conservatives in state politics and is now broadening its scope to target judicial races.
The sums have been unusual for such elections. The primary race for Justice Hudson’s Supreme Court seat alone has drawn more than $1 million — the bulk of it by independent groups including the Republican committee and an arm of the state Chamber of Commerce, which has spent $250,000 to promote both of her opponents with money from companies including Reynolds American, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Koch Industries. ...In the group’s ad, Justice Hudson is attacked for arguing, along with two other justices, that retroactively requiring certain sex offenders to wear ankle bracelets was unconstitutional and unlikely to be effective. A group of six former justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court called the ad “disgusting.” read article
Also see Facing South: 5 Players Behind the Big Money Attacks in NC Supreme Court Elections
Editorial: Big-money PAC presents a scurrilous attack on Justice Robin Hudson
April 30, 2014
Justice for All North Carolina is an independent political group out to defeat Democrats in judicial elections in North Carolina. The group might have the distinction now of being responsible for the most repugnant ad in this election cycle.
...a black-and-white commercial accuses Hudson of siding with child molesters in one ruling. In fact, the state high court ruled in a 2010 decision that convicted child molesters could be subject to being electronically monitored even if they had been convicted before the monitoring law was passed. Hudson was part of a dissent. Hudson took the view that applying the new law to those previously convicted fell under the category of an ex-post facto law, a law that institutes retroactive punishment. That might be something conservatives would like to be able to do, but it happens to be unconstitutional in the United States.
Hudson made her call based on her interpretation of the Constitution, exactly what a justice is supposed to do.
But now, Justice for All North Carolina is using a deceptive ad to attack Hudson, a respected incumbent and sound justice, by simplifying what happened and going straight for a claim that Hudson “sides with child predators.” The point is to knock Hudson out of the race in the primary stage. Her opponents are Republicans Eric Levinson, a Superior Court judge, and Jeanette Doran, a lawyer who has worked for a conservative group connected to ... drum roll ... Art Pope... read article
A political ad too far
Scott Mooneyham OPINION April 29, 2014
...Beginning Friday, the same amorphous group that helped to ugly-up the lone 2012 race for Supreme Court justice, an outfit called Justice for All NC, launched an ad attacking Justice Robin Hudson. Hudson faces two challengers, Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson and Raleigh lawyer Jeanette Doran, in the nonpartisan primary. The two highest vote-getters will advance to the November general election.
The appellate court primaries are nonpartisan only on the ballot. Hudson is a Democrat; Levinson and Doran are Republicans... With the ad attacking Hudson, those involved appear to be trying to outdo themselves from two years ago.
The ad accuses Hudson of siding with child molesters, making it perhaps the most despicable political advertisement ever aired in the state. The basis of the ad is a 2010 court ruling in which the Supreme Court decided whether a state law requiring electronic monitoring of child molesters could be applied to those convicted before the law was passed. In a 4-3 decision, Hudson sided with the minority, arguing that applying the requirement to those already convicted amounted to an ex-post facto law, something prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. read article
Who Are the Koch Brothers and What Do They Want?
by Sen. Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont
04/17/2014 Huffington Post
As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers...will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors' mansions and the presidency of the United States.
...Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about. The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party...
And let's be very clear. Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education. Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that. They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the most vulnerable in this country. Every piece of legislation!
The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.
Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers. For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back. read column
Hudson survives ad blitz, will compete to keep Supreme Court seat
May 6, 2014 By Mark Binker WRAL
State Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson has survived a primary in which she faced a barrage of negative advertising that could have blocked her from competing to keep her seat this fall. Unofficial returns show that Hudson was the top vote-getter in the three-way nonpartisan field. She will face Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson, who placed second in primary voting, in the general election.
Jeanette Doran, a lawyer who currently works for the state Division of Employment Security, placed third and was eliminated from the race. read article
The Candidate Filing period has ended.
Governor steps into GOP Senate primary
April 29, 2014 By Laura Leslie WRAL
In a highly unusual move for a sitting governor, Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday offered a ringing endorsement of state House Speaker Thom Tillis in next week's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate...
McCrory complimented the other GOP contenders, saying he would back the winner, whoever it might be. But he said Tillis had "risen to the top" in the campaign process, calling him "the most electable" and "the right candidate at the right time." Political parties don't generally get involved in primary races, nor do governors, who serve as the public face of their parties. read article
Women could be critical to key races, and both parties are going all out to get their votes
By Reid Wilson, Published: April 27
...To turn out more of its voters, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is spending millions of dollars on identifying and targeting unmarried women, among other constituencies that are highly likely to vote Democratic but far less likely to vote in a midterm election. Add those unmarried women to a coalition that includes more minorities than usually turn out, and vulnerable Democratic senators in states such as North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas could have an advantage. ..The GOP math depends on blunting Democratic attacks and appealing to women more effectively... “The irony is that Republicans have less natural support among women but more opportunity to communicate with them in 2014,” Conway said. “Republicans will talk to women about the cost, confusion, uncertainty and overreach of Obamacare, the intrusions of the IRS and NSA, and the rising costs of goods and declining value of earnings.” read article
NYTimes Poll Suprise: Southern Senate Dems In The Lead
DANIEL STRAUSS – APRIL 23, 2014 Talking Points Memo
A round of new polls conducted by The New York Times and Kaiser Family Foundation have some good (and surprising) news for a handful of Southern Senate Democrats regarded as the most vulnerable in the 2014 election cycle. The polls, released Wednesday, found Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) leading Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) 46 percent to 36 percent. In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just barely leads Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) 44 percent to 43 percent, the poll found.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) is neck-and-neck with House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC) in a hypothetical matchup with Hagan getting 42 percent while Tillis gets 40 percent. read article
Fact check: GOP Senate candidates make some questionable claims
April 23, 2014 WRAL
By Mark Binker and Matthew Burns
WRAL News hosted a debate among the four leading Republican candidates for U.S. Senate: Cary doctor Greg Brannon, Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant, Charlotte pastor Mark Harris and state House Speaker Thom Tillis Wednesday night.
During the 30-minute debate, WRAL anchor David Crabtree pushed each of the candidates for specific answers. And in some of their specific replies, the candidates made some questionable claims. Here are quick fact checks read article
Experts: North Carolina early voting cuts will hit blacks hardest
04/17/14 By Zachary Roth MSNBC
If the cuts to early voting in North Carolina’s restrictive voting law had been in effect in 2012, Election Day wait times would have risen dramatically, a significant number of would-be voters would have given up in frustration—and African-American voters would have been hit hardest.
That’s according to two top voting scholars, whose testimony in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the measure was released Thursday by the ACLU, one of the groups leading the effort. read article
Republicans dominate legislative power rankings
April 8, 2014 By Mark Binker WRAL
Republican members of both the House and Senate occupied the top 10 slots in the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research's annual rankings of the most effective General Assembly members.
It's hardly breaking news that members of the legislative majority who occupy key committee slots do well in rankings of which members wield the most power and influence... Still, there are a few notable tidbits to be found in this year's rankings: read article
Christensen: 7 NC primary races will be worth watching
BY ROB CHRISTENSEN March 25, 2014
In six weeks, North Carolina primary voters will go to the polls. They will cast their ballots for individuals, but they will be making other choices as well: tea party vs. establishment, celebrity vs. businessman, male vs. female, Charlotte vs. Greensboro, and other choices. Many of the most famous names in American politics are weighing in. Here are seven races worth watching. read
Koch Group, Spending Freely, Hones Attack on Government
By CARL HULSE and ASHLEY PARKER
MARCH 20, 2014 New York Times
Americans for Prosperity — the group backed by David H. and Charles G. Koch that has been pouring millions of dollars into competitive Senate races to the rising alarm of Democrats... Americans for Prosperity is also stepping up its ground game. The organization now has more than 200 full-time paid staff members in field offices in at least 32 states. The idea is to embed staff members in a community, giving conservative advocacy a permanent local voice through field workers who live in the neighborhood year-round and appreciate the nuances of the local issues. They can also serve as a ready-to-go field organization in future election years and on future issues — not dissimilar from the grass-roots, community-based approach Mr. Obama used successfully in 2008 and 2012. read article
TILLIS GETS HEAT FOR ANTI-MIDDLE CLASS POSITIONS
MAR 18, 2014
The Raleigh News and Observer editorial...is the latest example of why a Hagan-Tillis matchup in the general election “if he wins his primary,” would be a stark contrast for North Carolina families. Voters would have a choice between Kay’s bipartisan track record of commonsense results – restoring tuition benefits for service members, passing legislation to boost small businesses, protecting women’s health, Social Security and Medicare – or Tillis’ disastrous record pushing a special interest agenda– giving tax breaks to the wealthy while teachers go without a raise, restricting women’s access to health care, and calling a minimum wage increase a “dangerous idea.”
From the Raleigh News and Observer:
…The business consultant clearly has enjoyed being king of the House hill, but in the Senate campaign he’ll face a formidable foe in incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. That’s if he wins his primary...
He presided over the House at a time when the legislature passed controversial restrictions on abortion rights (not a good run-on issue with women) and backed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. And his Republicans managed to find themselves cast as critics of public education in general and public school teachers in particular. The speaker has been opposed to a minimum wage hike, even though North Carolina has many people making minimum wage...
Read the full editorial HERE.
Poll: Senate race pretty much a dead heat
By Matthew Burns
March 11, 2014 WRAL
House Speaker Thom Tillis has lost his early lead among Republican U.S. Senate candidates, and Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is statistically even with all eight GOP challengers, according to a poll released Tuesday... Tillis has been the early front-runner in a crowded GOP field seeking to defeat Hagan, but he and Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary, a tea party favorite, are tied at 14 percent among the 334 Republican voters PPP surveyed...
PPP, which works mainly for Democratic candidates, attributed Tillis' slide to "his gaffes on the campaign trail," noting that he has, in recent weeks, advocated abolishing the minimum wage and referred to the Affordable Care Act as "a great idea that can't be paid for." Neither statement played well with the GOP base, PPP contends...
PPP notes that Hagan's head-to-head results are better than in recent polls... Each of the Republican candidates have lower approval ratings than Hagan's... More than 70 percent of those polled responded "not sure" when asked of their impression of each of the other seven candidates. Forty-six percent of respondents gave Tillis a "not sure." read article
Most appellate court races will wait until fall
March 4, 2014 By Mark Binker WRAL
Four state Supreme Court races and three Court of Appeals races will be on the ballot this year, although most of those will wait until the General Election.
Court races are putatively nonpartisan, although the political affiliations of judges are often well known, and parties often support a specific slate of candidates. Because those races are nonpartisan, the state holds a primary only if more than two people file for the same seat. All voters are able to make a selection in the primary.
This year, the race for the seat currently occupied by incumbent state Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin Hudson will be the only statewide judicial race on primary ballots.
Hudson, a Democrat, is a former Court of Appeals judge who was elected to an eight-year term on the state Supreme Court in 2006. Two others have filed to run against her. Eric Levinson, a Republican from the Charlotte area, is a Superior Court judge first appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue. Jeanette Doran, a Republican from Raleigh. read article
As he files for US Senate, Tillis says he opposes minimum wage hike
by John Frank February 26, 2014 N&O
Speaker of the N.C. House Thom Tillis...as he files to run for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at the N.C. State Board of Elections in Raleigh.
U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis on Wednesday said he opposes President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the federal minimum wage, calling it a “dangerous idea.” The Republican went even further to suggest government shouldn’t set a minimum wage, labeling it an “artificial threshold.”
“I have serious concerns with the discussion around minimum wage because it drives up costs and it could harm jobs,” Tillis said...
Obama has proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2015. An estimated one in five North Carolina workers make the current minimum wage ($7.25 an hour)... Hagan supports the president’s plan and intends to make the minimum wage hike a central issue in her re-election bid. A recent survey from Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh-based Democratic firm, found 56 percent support for increasing the minimum wage to $10 a hour with 33 percent opposed. read article
Brannon verdict could impact US Senate race Feb.18, 2014 WRAL
The road to the Republican U.S. Senate nomination got rockier for Dr. Greg Brannon Tuesday when a Wake County jury found him liable for misleading investors in a civil securities fraud case... "It can't have an positive impact for Brannon," said Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University. "What makes it especially problematic is that the Brannon campaign is based on fiscal policy – issues of fiscal prudence, a steady hand and care of the public purse...
Brannon is one of at least five Republicans who say they are running to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. The other candidates are state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Charlotte pastor Mark Harris, Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant and former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander... The North Carolina primary is May 6. In order to avoid a runoff, candidates must win with at least 40 percent of the vote. If a candidate doesn't hit that 40 percent mark, the second place finisher can call for a runoff. The conventional wisdom is that Tillis is hoping to make that 40 percent threshold, while Harris and Brannon have the best shot at having a good enough showing to force a runoff. read article
Massive money race for North Carolina Senate seat
All In 02/12/14 MSNBC
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., doesn’t even have an official Republican opponent yet but is already facing an $8.2 million ad campaign to unseat her. watch video
Filing for 2014 elections opens Monday
Feb 10, 2014 WRAL
The 2014 election officially gets underway Monday as the candidate filing period opens at noon... The only partisan statewide election on the ballot is the U.S. Senate race, in which Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan will attempt to keep her job. Republicans will choose Hagan's challenger in the May 6 primary. House Speaker Thom Tillis, Cary doctor Greg Brannon and Charlotte pastor Mark Harris are the best-known contenders in the GOP field.
Races to replace four of the state's seven Supreme Court justices will also be on the statewide ballot... they are nominally non-partisan.
North Carolina's 13 U.S. House seats are also all up for election, with the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Renee Ellmers [being challenged by Clay Aiken [who] will enter the Democratic primary against former state Commerce Sec. Keith Crisco.
Voters will also select all 50 seats in the state Senate and 120 state House seats. On the county level, voters throughout the state will be selecting candidates for a variety of offices, including sheriffs and county commissioners.
The candidate filing period closes on Friday, Feb. 28. read full article
Kicking off the state Supreme Court elections
2/5/2014 by Sharon McCloskey NC Policy Watch
By all accounts proved to be one for the record books. More money than ever poured in to help re-elect one justice and secure a conservative majority on the court – with most of those dollars coming from groups far from the state’s borders.
Records set [in the state Supreme Court election in 2012] are likely to be shattered in 2014... For conservatives, the coming races will be about adding to the Republican presence on the court. But for progressives, who are challenging much of the legislation coming out of the conservative playbook in the courts, everything could be at stake.
...Without question, the enactment of the so-called “monster voting bill” in 2013 has radically changed the election landscape in North Carolina — judicial races included. For one thing, candidates will have to do a lot more fundraising, as the state’s highly acclaimed public financing program has been eliminated.
...that means more money flowing into judicial elections by those who, well, have more money. And the “dark money” influence by outside, hard-to-identify political groups and special interests will increase, as advertising disclosure rules have changed. Those groups can now spend unlimited amounts on negative attack ads during the summer leading up to the election without disclosing the source of funds for those ads to the public or the State Board of Elections...
Apply those changes to a race involving seven candidates for four open seats on the court and what do you get? A potential circus in place of what should instead be a controlled and open contest for a position many call the most critical to a democracy.
Mark Harris camp cries foul over Thom Tillis abortion ad
by John Frank on April 28, 2014
Republican Thom Tillis’ new television ad highlighting his opposition to abortion and gay marriage is turning heads – and eliciting reaction from rivals. “Being conservative, it’s not something you say, it’s something you do,” he says in the 30-second spot, which notes his endorsement from National Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization. ...The 30-second spot is airing in all markets except Charlotte and Raleigh... Democrats... jumped on the ad, which may have implications for the fall race... “Tillis has a record of reducing women’s access to health care and even supports measures that could make birth control illegal,” said Sadie Weiner, a Kay Hagan campaign spokeswoman, in a statement. read article/watch ad
HPU/UNC Poll: voters would like to ban super PAC spending
April 10 By Mark Binker WRAL
Voters surveyed in a new High Point University / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill poll are unhappy with the idea of super PACs spending unlimited sums to help or harm candidates. The poll question defined super PACs as organizations that "can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of candidates they support." Although a "super PAC" is a particular type of campaign entity, that definition could apply to a number of nonprofit groups that raise and spend unlimited campaign cash.
But given that definition, 63 percent of respondents said they believed "somewhat" or "strongly" that it should be illegal for such groups to spend what amounts to unlimited money to influence elections. read article
NC gerrymandering takes full effect
Rob Schofield April 8, 2014 Progressive Pulse
North Carolina is a large and complicated state with a population approaching 10 million. Still, even the most unrepentant defenders of the the state’s gerrymandered political map will have to admit that the following fact borders on the absurd:
During next month’s primary election, there will be 3,069 different ballots...
Here’s an idea for combating voter “fraud” (and general chaos in North Carolina elections): Simplify our voting districts by doing away with gerrymandering and enacting non-partisan redistricting ASAP. read article
Art Pope candidate forces runoff in
non-partisan Supreme Court race against Dem on Court
by teddy rooseveltp Mon, 03/31/2014
The News and Observer reports on a surprise for the May primaries. State Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson - one of only two Democrats on the state's highest court - thought she was only going to have one challenger for her seat.
One of only two Democrats on the seven-member court, Hudson assumed she would be facing a general challenge in the fall from Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson, a Republican. But near the end of the filing period, a second opponent emerged, Jeanette Doran. “She came out of nowhere,” Hudson said. Doran is a former general counsel and executive director at the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, a group backed by Art Pope... read article
Oops! N.C. GOP Senate Candidate Inflates His College Credentials
DANIEL STRAUSS – MARCH 20, 2014
Talking Points Memo
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC) has listed two different colleges as his alma mater... Tillis' LinkedIn page listed the University of Maryland at College Park as where he got a Bachelor of Science Degree in Technology Management, Technology & Project Management. Similarly on Tillis's biography page on his House Speaker website, Tillis listed the University of Maryland as his alma matter and links to College Park's website. But according to officials contacted at both the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Maryland University College, Tillis graduated from the University of Maryland at University College... "We have no graduate by that name on file," University of Maryland at College Park Assistant Vice President Brian Ullmann told TPM... But University of Maryland University College Assistant Vice President Bob Ludwig confirmed that a Thomas Roland Tillis graduated from there... It primarily exists as a career-oriented distance-learning institution today that gets most of its students through online enrollment, much like the private for-profit University of Phoenix. read article
Friday Follies: The misfire of the anti-ACA committee, Press release fever in McCroryland, The myth of high corporate taxes
3/21/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon
NC Policy Watch
The folks at the think tanks on the Right are upset that the absurd anti-Affordable Care Act show at the General Assembly this week didn’t garner the one-sided stories they had hoped for about the health care law. But they only have themselves to blame. Legislative leaders created a committee allegedly to discuss the effects of the ACA on North Carolina. One of the committee chairs said the hearings were designed to “gather information about the law.”
But it was clear from the outset of the group’s first meeting Tuesday that it was all simply a thinly-veiled attempt to bash the ACA as part of a larger political strategy in an election year... Republicans clearly think they can gain politically by bashing the Affordable Care Act and distorting what it does. The creation of the committee—and presentations from “experts”— is just another part of that overall strategy, one they hoped to couch in less blatantly partisan rhetoric. But their star expert Tuesday, Chris Conover from Duke University and the American Enterprise Institute, began his remarks by referring to the health care law as the “Abominable Care Act,” not exactly a scholarly beginning. Conover has also made widely inflated claims about the ACA on Fox News and other media outlets and used the word “fascist” to describe President Obama. Those statements were noted in many of the media accounts of Tuesday’s meeting, calling into question the credibility of Conover’s analysis and claims about the law. more
Republicans launching early campaign to turn out voters
by John Frank on March 17, 2014
...Matt Pinnell, the Republican National Committee state party director, told reporters Monday the unprecedented effort will use data to target voters at precinct level and mirror the program in Florida that helped win the party a much-watched special election last week. “We are in North Carolina earlier than we have ever been before,” he said... Republican Party officials said they began the “N.C. Boots on the Ground” campaign six months ago and about 10 staffers are working in North Carolina now. More staff are expected to help coordinate the precinct-level volunteers who will go door-to-door targeting voters with information and making sure they vote in 2014.
The data will prove valuable in the open presidential contest in 2016, in which North Carolina is positioned as a swing state once again. “We are looking at this as a lead in, really ramping up all the way to 2016,” said state Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope... Pope said the effort will back whoever wins the party’s nomination. Eight Republicans are vying for the slot in the primary. “Whoever wins that primary is going to know that the day after the primary they’ve already got an incredible operation – ground game – in place... read article
Senate candidate owes investors more than $450,000
By Mark Binker March 13, 2014 WRAL
U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon will have to pay $454,631.12 to a pair of investors if a Wake County Superior Court jury verdict is upheld. A Wake County jury found Brannon liable for misleading two men who invested in a technology start up company called Neogence. Branon was on Neogence's board of directors and helped convince the two men to invest. In an judgment sheet and formal award of costs and findings filed today, Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins ruled that Brannon must repay the $250,000 originally invested, along with interest and attorneys fees. read article
Filing period reveals upshot of redistricting: fewer challengers
BY MEGAN CASSELLA AND JOHN FRANK
February 28, 2014 News and Observer
Nearly one-third of state lawmakers will face no challengers to their election bids this fall. When the filing period ended at noon on Friday, 12 members of N.C. Senate learned they had effectively been re-elected. Eight Republicans and four Democrats will face no opposition, including Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham.
On the other side, 43 members of the N.C. House of Representatives will run unopposed, a split pool of 22 Republicans and 21 Democrats. Democrats Paul Luebke of Durham, Darren Jackson of Raleigh, and Republican Paul Stam of Apex, are among those who will get a pass.
But at the top of the ballot, the crowded race for the U.S. Senate is now overflowing with candidates. Two new candidates – a Democrat and a Republican – joined the race in the last hours before Friday’s noon deadline, pushing the final tally of contenders to 13, including incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. Eight Republicans, three Democrats and two Libertarians will compete in the May 6 primary.
The glaring number of uncontested races is higher than it was in 2012, indicating more politicians are choosing not to run in areas where winning seems impossible, said David McLennan, a political analyst and professor at William Peace University in Raleigh.
Kay Hagan Puts North Carolina First
Feb 24, 2014
Kay is focused on doing what's right for NC families, but special interest outsiders like the Koch Brothers have made her their #1 target in 2014.
Donate to our campaign at kayhagan.com.
Amid filing, an early look at top statehouse races
by Caitlin Owens February 20, 2014
News & Observer
With one week of filing left, some state legislative races are looking more interesting than others.
The N.C. Free Enterprise Foundation, a business-backed political group that analyzes state politics, identified a handful of Senate and House races to keep an eye on, predicting competitive primaries or general election contests because of incumbent departures. In its report, the foundation said the General Assembly is set to lose roughly 200 years of collective legislative experience. read article
Republicans launch web attack on Hagan
Feb 12, 2014
The Republican National Committee is launching a new online ad attacking U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, paying to promote the message on video streaming services... As the Republican field sorts itself out, the Republican party has kept up a constant stream of criticism against Hagan for her support of the Affordable Care Act.
The latest ad builds on that theme, one of the most common for Republicans and conservative groups targeting Democrats this year. The ad makes the case that the Affordable Care Act, a measure sometimes called "Obamacare," is a drag on the economy... The ad cites a Congressional Budget Office report issued last week that suggests American workers will cut back on the number of hours they work, enough to add up to the equivalent of more than 2 million full-time jobs, because of the health care law. The report does not suggest companies will cut those positions, but Republicans have repeatedly cited it as evidence the president's signature bill damages the economy. read article/watch video of ad
Tillis Vs Hagan on Teacher Pay
Tillis’ Bad Record on Education Spending, Teacher Pay: Under Tillis’ leadership in 2013, the General Assembly slashed education spending by nearly $500 million and teachers did not receive a raise
Kay Made Teacher Pay a Priority And Balanced Budgets: When Kay served as state Senate Budget Co-Chair, her budgets included teacher pay raises every year for a total average increase of 21%.
read full memo report from Kay Hagan
Support Kay Hagan Here!
Ads Attacking Health Law Stagger Outspent Democrats
By CARL HULSE JAN. 15, 2014 New York Times