As Tillis fumbles, Hagan widens edge, Republican primaries risk repeating 2010, 2012 mistakes, Mitch McConnell’s "Worst Week," Christensen’s 19th Century history lesson for #NCGA, The American Conservative hits #NCGOP on legislative session, why McCrory may be the next Tom Corbett, NC teachers are ‘fed up,’ teachers quitting, layoffs looming, the U.S. House GOP’s ‘big bills’ hypocrisy, President Obama stares down House Republicans over potential government shutdown, doubts surround Rand Paul 2016, Hillary & women who break barriers and Fitzsimon on ‘desperate’ #NCGOP
Washington Post: The Fix’s top 10 Senate races of 2014
8. North Carolina (D): It’s been a rough couple of months for state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), who has been plagued by headlines about major donors getting seats on the UNC Board of Governors and the money he’s received from the gaming industry, and criticism over his decision to launch a Senate campaign while the legislature was still in session. None of it means Tillis can’t compete with Sen. Kay Hagan (D), who remains vulnerable. But his rough start was not the way to begin what promises to be a hard-fought campaign. (Previous ranking: 6)
Dome: After Tillis’ rough start, The Fix lowers NC Senate race
The Fix had rated Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election campaign as the 5th hottest Senate race, then lowered it to sixth, and now they have lowered it to 8th. Why? Because her most likely GOP opponent, House Speaker Thom Tillis continues to garner bad publicity.
Fayetteville Observer: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan tells The Fayetteville Observer she is ready for her campaign re-election
North Carolina’s Democratic freshman U.S. senator, Kay Hagan, says she is gearing up for her re-election bid in 2014. “I’ve got a great team in place,” she said. “I feel very confident that I’m going to win this race.” Hagan said she has been to all 100 counties in the state since she won her seat in 2008. “I’ve had town hall meetings in every county,” Hagan said. “I think constituent service is a hallmark of my office.”
Dome: Is Virginia Foxx testing the Senate waters?
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx will speak at a fund raiser for the Republican Women’s Club of Chapel Hill on Sunday, in a move likely to spur speculation that she is testing the waters for a Senate race next year.
Bloomberg: Republican Primaries Risk Repeat Misfires in Senate Majority Bid
The infighting has raised Democratic expectations that they can keep control of the chamber and perhaps capture seats in Republican-leaning states. They did that in Indiana and Missouri in 2012 against inexperienced candidates backed by the small-government Tea Party branch of the party. Democrats control 54 Senate seats, compared with 46 held by their partisan adversaries. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win the 100-member chamber, because Democratic Vice President Joe Biden also serves as president of the Senate, and Democrats are defending seven seats in states won by Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.
Washington Post: Mitch McConnell’s “Worst Week” (VIDEO)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell learned that lesson this week when his campaign manager Jesse Benton was heard saying that he was “holding his nose” in his current job in hopes of helping Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential prospects.
The Hill: GOP anxiety grows over Ga. Senate race
Republicans are increasingly concerned about Georgia’s Senate race, where a crowded primary threatens to produce a flawed candidate who could put a seat in a Republican-leaning state at risk. Recent polling shows the two candidates Republicans are most anxious about — Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) — leading the pack. Whoever emerges from the clown-car primary, with seven candidates and counting, will face a candidate Democrats are high on in a state where shifting demographics benefit their party.
Politico: 5 House primaries to watch
The 2014 primary season won’t get under way in earnest for another half-year or so, but lawmakers are already looking nervously over their shoulders. Most of the attention so far has centered on three Republican senators — Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — who are girding for serious challenges from within their own party. Yet much of the primary action is likely to come on the House side, where a handful of members from both parties have already attracted formidable opponents — with more likely to come.
News & Observer: Christensen: Low taxes, little government, ridicule – NC has seen it before
We have seen this before in North Carolina – the reign of the green-eyeshaded men who thought low taxes trumped all, and if there were any coins left in the till at the end of the day they would throw it into the education pot. It was called the 1800s. And Walter Hines Page had a name for them. He called North Carolina’s leaders “the mummies” as in very old, well-wrapped, very dead Egyptians because of their complacent conservatism.
The American Conservative: How Raleigh’s Republicans Forgot the Working Class
At the beginning of North Carolina’s latest General Assembly, Republican lawmakers began pushing a legislative agenda that sparked months of “Moral Monday” demonstrations and heated attacks. The protests’ leader Reverend William Barber wrote to the Wall Street Journal to call GOP policies “cruel, morally indefensible and economically insane.” Republicans have countered with incessant appeals to “fiscal responsibility” and “small government.” Elected with a super-majority, Republicans have decisively lost that advantage in public opinion after implementing their agenda.
Charlotte Observer: North Carolina tax changes: Where you stand
Sweeping new changes to the North Carolina tax code will touch the purses and wallets of virtually every taxpayer in the state. Legislation approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory last month will affect everything from the size of our annual tax bills to the way we shop for back-to-school clothes. But that’s where the agreement ends. Leaders of the GOP-controlled General Assembly say that by lowering corporate and personal income taxes, they’ve made the state a magnet for new companies and new jobs. Democrats say it drains the state of more than $2 billion in revenues in the next five years – a budget hole that they fear will be filled by cutting education or other government services.
WRAL (VIDEO): Senate flip-flopped on judicial discipline bill hours before adjourning
Good-government advocates, lawyers and even state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker are questioning the maneuvering that led to a bill on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk that would hide most complaints about judges from the public.
Dome: Bill Maher on North Carolina: So much for a comedian to work with
So what does he think of North Carolina politics right now? Maher: "One reason I like to travel the country is I feel like I should know what’s going on if I’m going to talk about it. So I get out there, talk to people. Wherever I am, I’ll ask the kid driving me from the airport what’s going on, what people are talking about, local political issues. But in the case of North Carolina right now, I don’t have to do that because it’s been all over the national news.
Fayetteville Observer: NC’s Pat McCrory Might be the Next Tom Corbett
The governor’s race in Pennsylvania might not seem to have any connection to the situation here in NC.
But our governor, Pat McCrory, might want to tune in. In PA, Republican Tom Corbett is a dead man walking, according to polls that show him badly trailing just about any Democrat who is willing to put his or name in the race. Corbett is at 38 percent job approval. Republican McCrory is at 40 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval. It represents a precipitous 15-point drop from June, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning but well-regarded firm.
WRAL: At NC environmental regulator, loyalty to McCrory will run deep
More than 100 state environmental regulators who will implement upcoming legislative decisions on natural gas drilling, offshore oil exploration and changes to air and water quality rules will soon do so as “exempt” employees who can be fired without cause or appeal. A legislative change to the State Personnel Act in 2012 gave Gov. Pat McCrory the ability to designate 1,000 so-called "exempt positions" throughout his cabinet departments, more than any governor in a quarter-century.
WRAL: As McCrory touts accomplishment, big goals await
As Gov. Pat McCrory ponders the 38 bills he has yet to sign from the spring legislative session, he is contending with a microcosm of his political push and pull with lawmakers during the recently end legislative session. Some are seemingly wins for the governor, such as a bill imposing a photo ID requirement on voters, an idea upon which McCrory campaigned. Others present challenges. A measure aimed at banning North Carolina family courts from acknowledging Sharia Law is one of a number of measures that have drawn scorn from cable news networks and late-night comedians, distracting attention from high priorities.
News & Observer: NC Teachers are fed up
What makes this neglect especially galling is that some Republican lawmakers deny it’s happening. State Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Wilmington Republican, wrote recently that reports of reduced funding for K-12 education are fictions being spread by “professional educrats (education bureaucrats) and their buddies in the mainstream media.” He went on, “So where are these cuts? Good question. One can do a web search and find literally hundreds of liberal media articles and reports bemoaning non-existent budget cuts to education. Where is a truthful answer to our question?” The truthful answer is that in dollars adjusted for inflation and the state’s growth, North Carolina will spend $534 million less in the next fiscal year than it did in 2008, according to the N.C. Justice Center. It’s true that spending in raw dollars has increased, but it has not kept up with inflation and it has fallen behind the state’s needs as its population has grown.
WWAY: Low pay forces teacher of the year candidate to quit
Richie Brown is leaving his post at South Brunswick High School for a job in the private sector, but says he is worried that more of his former colleagues may soon follow if there isn’t a change in the bottom line. "I was about to be a seventh-year teacher, and I would be paid the same as I was as a second-year teacher,” said Richie Brown. “When you get into education you know you’re not going to become a millionaire. I wasn’t getting into this because of the money, but you still expect to be compensated fairly."
News & Record: UNCG, A&T could see layoffs
Greensboro’s two state universities could see some layoffs. N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold Martin said Friday that the university will cut about 50 positions this fall. UNCG Chancellor Linda Brady said she’ll decide on job cuts late next week. The pending layoffs come after the UNC Board of Governors on Friday adjusted the budgets of the 16 state universities affected by the new state spending plan that Gov. Pat McCrory signed last month. The legislature cut state spending on 13 of 16 schools.
News & Observer: Companies help immigrant workers obtain US citizenship
For immigrants working toward the American Dream, some employers are now helping them reach their dream of becoming Americans. Health clinics, hotels and a clothing factory are pairing up with immigrant advocates to offer on-site citizenship assistance as one of the perks of the job in greater Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and Silicon Valley as they aim to make naturalization more convenient for the 8.5 million legal immigrants eligible to become U.S. citizens.
Washington Post: The Republican Party’s Latino problem — in 1 chart
The Republican Party’s struggles with Hispanics have been well-documented. Now, a new poll from Gallup shows that it makes little difference whether Latinos living in the U.S. were born in the country or not when it comes to close alignment with the Democratic Party.
Houston Chronicle: ‘Moral Monday’ protests aim past Raleigh
Republicans took control of the North Carolina Legislature in 2010 for the first time since Reconstruction and cemented full control of state government with the election of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in November, 2012. That put them in prime position to implement a conservative platform. After McCrory took office in January, lawmakers moved swiftly. The General Assembly refused to expand Medicaid to about 500,000 more people, cut unemployment benefits and abolished the earned-income tax credit, which serves low to middle-income people. They also passed a voter ID law that shortens early voting by a week and ends same-day registration.
WRAL: Cooper rallies opposition to NC elections bill
Attorney General Roy Cooper has posted a petition on change.org so people opposed to the sweeping elections bill passed by lawmakers last month can lobby Gov. Pat McCrory to veto the measure.
Passed in the closing days of the legislative session, House Bill 589 would require voters to show photo identification at the polls, reduce the early voting period from 17 to 10 days, eliminate same-day voter registration during early voting and end straight-ticket voting.
The Hill: Big bills pile up for House GOP
House Republicans don’t mind passing "massive" pieces of legislation as much as their leaders like to suggest. The GOP majority has passed at least a half dozen bills exceeding 500 pages despite their criticism of lengthy legislation from Democrats and President Obama, according to a review by The Hill.
Huffington Post: Paul Ryan Spending Cuts Face Backlash From Moderate Republicans
Midway between the 2012 and 2014 election campaigns, moderate Republican conservatives are beginning to foment a revolt of their own – a backlash to anti-spending tea party shrillness as budget cuts begin to significantly shrink defense and domestic programs. Tea party forces may have dominated the House GOP’s approach to the budget so far, but pragmatists in the party have served notice they won’t stand idly by for indiscriminate spending cuts to politically popular community development grants, education programs and even Amtrak.
Washington Post: President Obama dares Republicans to shut down government
President Obama delivered a forceful defense of his health care law at a press conference Friday afternoon, daring congressional Republicans to force a government shutdown over their plans to defund the law. He called the 40 House votes to repeal Obamacare an “ideological fixation” and added: “There’s not even a pretense that they’re going to replace it with something better.”
Politico: 5 takeaways from Barack Obama’s press conference
Barack Obama appeared remarkably relaxed — perhaps even subdued — in Friday’s pre-vacation press conference, where he managed to stick to the national security turf that traditionally plays well for a commander in chief. And that was Obama’s plan.
Politico: Samantha Power: United Nations ‘has lost its way’
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power used her first public speech Saturday night to urge young activists to demand results and criticized the U.N. and red tape-mired bureaucracies that don’t always prioritize progress. Power told the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit at UCLA that ideology and entrenched methods sometimes get in the way of the work of the U.N., but praised those who get results and focus on problem-solving.
The Week: 3 signs Rand Paul may not be ready for primetime
At this early stage of the 2016 presidential race, when no politician has yet declared his or her candidacy, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is benefiting from an awful lot of buzz. And in a recent poll of New Hampshire, he trailed only New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As a potential candidate, every interview Paul gives from now on will be parsed with an eye toward 2016. And yesterday, he talked with Bloomberg’s Joshua Green to discuss Washington and the policies behind his "libertarian populism." So how did he do? Columnists on the left (and at least one on the right) think Paul’s performance was pretty subpar. Here are three signs that he may not quite be ready for primetime.
Des Moines Register: Was this Hillary Clinton’s first Iowa campaign event? Sort of.
Moderator O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa asked it directly: Is this Hillary Clinton’s first campaign event in Iowa? The all-female panel at the Madame President town hall meeting looked around. “Is she here?” one panelist asked. She was not there physically, but Hillary Clinton was certainly on the minds of speakers and audience members at the Emily’s List event this morning in Des Moines.
Washington Post: Hillary Clinton’s theme, pre-2016: Women who break barriers
Unlike during her 2008 presidential campaign, when she waited until her concession speech to fully embrace the historic nature of her candidacy, Clinton these days talks freely about women breaking barriers. She has woven a theme of women’s empowerment throughout almost all of her public remarks in the seven months since she stepped down as secretary of state.
Politico: Jeb Bush’s education legacy loses luster
Long viewed as a potential contender in the 2016 presidential race, Bush has taken considerable heat from activists on the right in recent months for his support of the Common Core, academic standards that have been promoted by the Obama administration and adopted by 45 states and D.C. Several of his potential rivals for a GOP nomination, among them Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, have outflanked him by coming out against the Common Core, which many tea-party activists see as a heavy-handed federal intrusion into local control of education.
Winston-Salem Journal: Chris Fitzsimon on the follies of the latest education spin
One of the more entertaining events of this week was the scramble by Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory to take credit for the news that the state’s high-school graduation rate increased to 82 percent, an all-time high. It’s understandable that they are desperate to draw attention away from the woefully inadequate education budget they passed a few weeks ago, the thousands of teacher assistants they fired, the supplemental pay they are ending for teachers with master’s degrees and the deep cuts to instructional support that teachers need in the classroom.
NYT: A Poll I’d Like To See
What I’m curious about, however, is what the public knows. Larry Bartels likes to cite a 1996 poll in which voters were asked whether the deficit had increased or decreased under Clinton (it had, in fact, fallen sharply). A plurality of voters — and a heavy majority of Republicans — thought the deficit had gone up.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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