NCDP Clips August 16, 2013

McCrory defends 35% pay raise for campaign staffers turned state employees; vetoes two bills and asks #NCGA not to override, Tillis expresses ‘disappointment’ to McCrory vetoes, the end of ‘a middle way’ in NC under #NCGOP, McCrory attacks AG Cooper for standing up for voting rights, are Republicans worse off today than they were following 2012 Election? Sabato’s Crystal Ball looks at Hagan’s re-election prospects, New Jersey Senate candidate hits national party, Democrats begin quietly testing 2016 waters


WNCN: McCrory defends double-digit pay raises for 2 state employees
Gov. Pat McCrory is defending the 35 percent raises given to two high-level Health and Human Services employees earlier this year. McCrory said DHHS Communications Director Ricky Diaz and DHHS Chief Policy Advisor Matthew McKillip received their raises as a result of their promotions within the department. Diaz and McKillip were the recipients of those raises beginning in April. Data shows Diaz received a $23,000 a year pay bump, bringing his annual salary to $85,000. At the same time, McKillip began taking home an extra $22,500, bringing his annual salary to $87,500. The 35 and 37 percent pay increases come at a time when most other state employees, like public school teachers, received no raise at all in the state’s new two-year budget.

ABC 11: Young McCrory staffers get big government salaries
Young Republicans who helped elect North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory have been rewarded with big salaries in his new administration. Matthew McKillip was named this week as chief policy adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos. Records show the 24-year-old received a $22,500 raise in April, bringing his salary to $87,500.

WRAL: McCrory urges lawmakers not to override vetoes (VIDEO)
Gov. Pat McCrory issued the first vetoes of his administration Thursday, rejecting legislation that would have required people applying for welfare benefits to pass a drug test and eased rules for employers to verify the immigration status of some workers.

Maddow Blog: McCrory struggles with his own voter-suppression law
Two weeks ago, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) touted the state’s sweeping new voting restrictions, though he clearly struggled with the basics. The Republican governor boasted, for example, that the law allows online voter registration, which turned out to be wrong. When McCrory said new measures are intended to prevent fraud, a reporter asked what eliminating pre-registration for North Carolinians under 18 has to do with preventing fraud. "I don’t know enough, I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill," he replied. This week, McCrory signed the most severe voter-suppression bill in the nation into law — dismissing "scare tactics" from the "extreme left" — but he’s still confused about what it does.


News & Observer: GOP leader Tillis ‘disappointed’ in McCrory’s decision to veto bills
House Speaker and fellow Republican Thom Tillis, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Kay Hagan, issued a statement shortly after the veto announcements objecting to McCrory’s decisions. He said he planned to consult with members of the House and Senate about how to move forward. Tillis said the drug-testing bill was straightforward, and “would deny government assistance to a felon fleeing from justice or to those who have violated parole” and establish safeguards for the state’s public assistance system. Tillis said the immigration bill was designed to help alleviate the problems that employers in the state face because of federal immigration procedures and policies.

NYT: North Carolinians Fear the End of a Middle Way
When Pat McCrory, a Republican former mayor of Charlotte, was elected governor last year, he pledged to “bring this state together,” and to focus on bread-and-butter issues amid an ailing economy. But with Republicans controlling all branches of the state government for the first time in more than a century, the legislature pushed through a wide range of conservative change. The Republicans not only cut taxes and business regulations, as many had expected, but also allowed stricter regulations on abortion clinics, ended teacher tenure, blocked the expansion of Medicaid, cut unemployment benefits, removed obstacles to the death penalty, allowed concealed guns in bars and restaurants, and mandated the teaching of cursive writing.

The Daily Beast: North Carolina’s Attack on Voting Rights
The centerpiece of the law is a strict new mandate for voter identification, that’s more notable for what it bans than what it permits. Of the various forms of state-issued ID, only four are valid for voting: driver’s licenses, passports, veteran’s IDs, and tribal cards. Everything else is unacceptable. This includes college IDs, public or municipal employee IDs, ID from public-assistance agencies, and out-of-state driver’s licenses. It’s no accident that those are the excluded categories. As with similar laws in other states, the restrictions target Democratic voters, from students and young people—who are more likely to rely on university-issued identification—to public employees and the poor. And of course, a large share of these voters are black and Latino. Overall, the state estimates that as many as 318,000 voters could lack (PDF) appropriate identification.


Winston Salem Journal: Cooper defends speaking against NC elections bill
McCrory told WRAL-TV in an interview Thursday that Cooper gave his political opinion and not his legal opinion on the measure, which requires photo identification to vote, reduces the number of early-voting days and ends same-day registration during the period. Cooper wrote the governor a few weeks ago addressing policy objections to the bill and urged him to veto it to avoid litigation. Cooper told WRAL his personal opinions have nothing to do with carrying out his legal obligations. He said he’s got a duty to tell residents what he thinks about legislation.

WRAL: McCrory, Cooper clash over elections law
Shortly after issuing his first vetoes on Thursday, Gov. Pat McCrory criticized Attorney General Roy Cooper for his outspoken stance against the elections law that the governor signed into law on Monday. Cooper launched a petition on last week to rally opposition to the bill, calling it "regressive elections legislation." "The attorney general gave me his political opinion, not his legal opinion," McCrory said in an interview with WRAL News. McCrory said he would have preferred a standalone voter ID bill, but never considered vetoing the wide-ranging proposal.


Politico: Behind the Curtain: Eve of Destruction
It is almost impossible to find an establishment Republican in town who’s not downright morose about the 2013 that has been and is about to be. Most dance around it in public, but they see this year as a disaster in the making, even if most elected Republicans don’t know it or admit it. Several influential Republicans told us the party is actually in a worse place than it was Nov. 7, the day after the disastrous election.

Slate: Southern Discomfort
On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed an omnibus voting standards bill into law. In a video message, he talked only about the voter ID portion of the law and assured citizens that only “the extreme left” opposed the law, for its usual crazy, extreme reasons. He neglected to mention that he’d just cut back on same-day registration and in-person early voting. Hours later the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sued the governor, arguing that he and legislators had “evidence that African-Americans used early voting, same-day voter registration, and out-of precinct voting at higher rates than white voters.”


Bloomberg: Gay Marriage Shows States Luring Discriminated Couples
Hans Bernhard and Mitch Null say they may leave North Carolina — taking their daughter, their jobs as a veterinarian and an information technology business operations manager at Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and the tax revenue from their properties.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the couple is considering moving to Maryland, where they could have a recognized marriage and guaranteed access to the related federal benefits. Bernhard could also become a lawful father to the couple’s 1-year-old daughter, Eva, since North Carolina law prevents residents from adopting a child if they aren’t married to the legal parent.


Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Democrats catching breaks in North Carolina
While we’re keeping the toss-up rating of the North Carolina Senate race, it’s reasonable to question the Republicans’ chances there against first-term Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC). The top announced candidate for the GOP is Thom Tillis (R), speaker of the state House of Representatives. National Republicans do not seem all that thrilled with his candidacy, and grassroots conservative leaders aren’t really on board either. For instance, editor Erick Erickson has endorsed Greg Brannon (R), a conservative physician. Our North Carolina sources don’t seem to think that Brannon would be a particularly viable general election candidate, but the Erickson endorsement is giving him some oxygen at the moment — and, in a Republican primary, who knows what could happen?

WRAL: Judge Robert C. Hunter to retire from NC Court of Appeals
North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Robert C. "Bob" Hunter announced Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election next year. He plans to retire at the end of his term in 2014. Hunter was appointed to the court by then-Gov. Jim Hunt in 1998 and went on to win a statewide election for his seat later that year. He won re-election in 2006.

Politico: Aide: Howard Dean traveling to Iowa
Dean will be focusing on Democracy for America’s “Purple to Blue” program, which was launched in Virginia by focusing on five state house races, a source close to Dean told POLITICO. Now, the grassroots organization, which was founded by the veteran politician, hopes to take the campaign across the entire country hoping to influence key states by targeting the smaller, more local based elections, starting in Iowa for the 2014 cycle.

Buzzfeed: National Democrats Cast New Jersey Senate Candidate As Symbol Of GOP Rebranding Struggles
Shaftan dismissed the RNC autopsy authors as “apologists for Mitt Romney’s failed campaign,” and argued that Lonegan shouldn’t be concerned with Republicans in Washington. “Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer? The ones responsible for losing everything? We’re supposed to listen to them?” asked Shaftan. “We should do the opposite of everything they suggest.” “No one in New Jersey cares what the RNC thinks anyway,” Shaftan said.


RealClearPolitics: Democrats Test 2016 Waters, Even as Clinton Looms
These early presidential flirtations do not appear to have ruffled feathers in Clinton World, as all of the potential Democratic hopefuls have treaded relatively lightly, remaining deferential — albeit in varying degrees — to the woman who could become the nation’s first female president. This collegial dynamic stands in contrast to the GOP’s 2016 soul searching, in which a public spat between Rand Paul and Chris Christie recently earned headlines. And it appears likely to remain in effect, at least in the near term, “unless you start hearing folks say, ‘I’m in, come hell or high water, Hillary be damned,’” as one Democratic operative put it.

Politico: Bush daughter: Hillary Clinton should run
President George W. Bush’s daughter Barbara said she would like to see Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016. Barbara Bush, 31, called Clinton “unbelievably accomplished” in an upcoming interview with People magazine, saying she wants to see the former first lady mount a campaign. The former Republican president’s daughter said that her respect for Clinton wouldn’t necessarily mean she would vote for the former secretary of state, however. “I don’t know who she’d be running against,” said Bush, who is politically unaffiliated but supports gay marriage. Bush’s comments came up during an interview primarily about her work as the CEO of the nonprofit Global Health Corps, through which she works with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. “We want results. We work with people doing great work,” she said of the partnerships.


Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @Micah4NC

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