NCDP Clips August 19, 2013

Patsy Keever elected as #NCDP First Vice Chair Saturday, N.C. Republicans launch war on student voting, Sen. Stein slams voting restrictions, McCrory defends double-digit pay raises for former campaign staffers, North Carolina’s ‘perilous lurch to the right,’ Tea Party groups push GOP Senators to shutdown government over Obamacare, Clinton world calls GOP out for ‘brazen deceit’ on Benghazi, Sen. Hagan defends bi-partisan record as outside groups launch billboard attack, AG Roy Cooper rumored to be testing the 2016 waters and is McCrory ready for prime time?


WNCN: NC Democratic activists elect Keever as No. 2 (VIDEO)
Saturday, Keever told WNCN she thinks she was chosen because she’s experienced and has been tested. "I think the party needs to feel like it has a leader who doesn’t have a lot of baggage and I think I’ve been vetted so many times, because I’ve run for office and served in office, that I’m not bringing any baggage," she said. "I’m here for the people. We’ve got to work together. If our chairman is our chairman, then we’ll work with him. We’ll work with whomever we have to work with, but the point is we need to elect Democrats."

Asheville Citizen-Times: State Democrats elect Keever as No. 2
Former state Rep. Patsy Keever of Asheville is the No. 2 leader of the North Carolina Democratic Party. The party’s executive committee voted 306-236 on Saturday in Greensboro to make Keever the first vice chairman.

News & Observer: Hunt rallies state Democrats
The New York Times and other national media outlets “are talking about how terrible things are in North Carolina,” said Hunt, referencing a widely debated editorial titled “The Decline of North Carolina.” “It’s because they know how good they were,” Hunt said. “North Carolina is going to come back and be the great state that we love so much.” Talk of unity dominated a meeting of state Democratic Party grassroots leaders earlier Saturday, as a proposed confidence vote in the party’s embattled chairman never gained traction.


MSNBC: War on student voting next step for NC Republicans
Rachel Maddow reports on a new phase of the North Carolina Republican war on voting rights in which they are focused on local election precincts and trying to find ways to prevent students from voting.

News & Observer: Christensen: College students will have to work harder to vote in N.C.
North Carolina had traditionally been a state where few people voted. It was ranked 47th in the country in voter participation in 1991, but rose to 34th in 2000 because of changes in the law to make voting easier. It rose to 21st in 2008 and to 11th in the country in 2012. North Carolina had the biggest increase in the country in voter participation between 2004 and 2008. But as far as the Republicans were concerned that was a bad thing, because many of the new voters were young voters attracted to the candidacy of Barack Obama. In 2008, 74 percent of North Carolina voters between ages 18-29 voted for Obama, according to exit polls.

The State: NC elections boards move to curtail student voting
Within hours of Gov. Pat McCrory signing a Republican-backed bill this week making sweeping changes to the state’s voting laws, local elections boards in two college towns made moves that could make it harder for students to vote.

The Watauga County Board of Elections voted Monday to eliminate an early voting site and election-day polling precinct on the campus of Appalachian State University.

The Progressive Times: Sen. Stein: New voting restrictions un-American, offensive (video)
Since signing House Bill 589 on Monday, Governor Pat McCrory has focused on the voter ID aspect mandated by the bill calling it a ‘common sense‘ measure. But Senator Josh Stein says the bill includes dozens of other provisions that have received far less attention, which are clearly un-American. Specifically, the Wake County Democrat says he is troubled that this law eliminates the pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds to vote. Stein says he also finds it offensive that since the bill was signed into law that local elections boards in Watauga and Pasquotank counties have moved to dial back the rights of college-age voters.

The Nation: Three Questions That Will Decide the Fate of Voting Rights in North Carolina
Three lawsuits have been filed challenging North Carolina’s new voter suppression law, which I called the worst in the nationand Rick Hasen says is the most restrictive since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Now comes the question: Will the challenges be successful? Here are three factors that will decide the outcome in North Carolina and the future of the VRA and voting rights more broadly.

WEMU: In Rural N.C., New Voter ID Law Awakens Some Old Fears
For years, Horton and her church have used the state’s early-voting system to make sure as many people as possible could vote. They send vans across the county, door to door, to pick people up and take them to polls. But they’re always short on time. Do the math, Horton says. One church van holds about 10 people. Gathering them up can take more than an hour. Then you have to drive to different polling places, long distances apart. Repeat all of this a few more times in one day, and you’ve only got 50 ballots in the box. And this new law has now cut early voting from 17 days down to 10. "Losing that week is also going to put challenges on us on how we’re going to move across a county that’s two hours wide to get people to voting polls," says Horton.


WNCN: McCrory defends double-digit pay raises for 2 state employees
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 salary data came from the Charlotte Observer’s public employee salary database. "[Diaz] was in my office as a communications person, working as a lower level communications person in the governor’s office," McCrory said Thursday. "My Health and Human Services Secretary [Aldona Wos] was so impressed with him, she wanted him to move to Health and Human Services and head up that whole process." 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.

WRAL: Hefty raises at DHHS raise question of qualifications
Gov. Pat McCrory asked state agencies in March to freeze pay raises wherever possible to help the state cover its growing Medicaid shortfall. State personnel records show the agency that oversees Medicaid, the Department of Health and Human Services, gave out hefty raises anyway, especially to the governor’s former campaign staffers.

News & Observer: McCrory defends big salaries to ex-campaign staff
The taxpayer-supported salaries for McKillip and Diaz are about three times the starting salary for North Carolina public school teachers, who received no raises in the $20.6 billion state budget approved by the Republican-led legislature and signed by McCrory. The budget also eliminated a program that pays teachers more for earning master’s degrees. McCrory did not respond to requests from The Associated Press for comment Thursday. He told WNCN the comparison to teacher pay is unfair.

Salisbury Post: 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 McKillip received a $22,500 raise in April, bringing his taxpayer-supported salary to $87,500. Records show 24-year-old DHHS Communications Director Ricky Diaz got a $23,000 raise in April, boosting his state salary to $85,000. McCrory didn’t respond to requests Thursday seeking comment. Wos also did not respond. Brian Nick to help McCrory-tied committee
Nick will serve as spokesman and other roles for Renew North Carolina, a 501-C4 group that was formed earlier year by McCrory allies to push issues favored by the governor. The group held major fund raisers in Raleigh during the inaugural and more recently at the Grandover Hotel near Greensboro. Nick, who works for the LA-based Strategic Perception consulting firm, was a McCrory advisor during the campaign. But after the election. He did not join the administration, but went to work in McCrory’s old law firm, Moore and Van Allen in Charlotte. He has recently left the firm.


The Fiscal Times: How the NC GOP is Turning the Tar Heel State Blue
Since Republicans took control of North Carolina’s governorship, State Senate and State House last year, they’ve rolled back taxes on business as well as business regulations. They’ve cut entitlement programs and placed restrictions on abortion clinics. Public school teachers are no longer eligible for tenure and are required to teach cursive. Bitzer said lawmakers were able to redraw district lines in a way that provides "a protection plan that will cover them for years to come." It is now nearly impossible for Democrats to win rural districts. When McCrory was elected, replacing Democrat Beverly Perdue, Republicans were able to undo years of progressive policy and implement a conservative agenda. One problem with this strategy is that it’s turning off moderate, independent voters, as well as awakening the state’s Democratic base. But Republicans in North Carolina have a larger demographics problem: the number of Democratic voters in urban areas is growing quickly.

The National Memo: North Carolina Is Damaging The Republican Brand
On Monday, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signed into law a package of restrictive voting and election reforms that will disfranchise poor, elderly, and minority voters, while giving big money greater influence in judicial campaigns. Governor McCrory is not only on the wrong side of history, but on the wrong side of public opinion as well.

Bloomberg: North Carolina Takes Perilous Lurch to the Right
For more than half a century, North Carolina has been progressive on education and public investments, and pro-business — witness the celebrated Research Triangle between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and the financial center in Charlotte — with less racial strife than other Southern states. As Republicans took full control of the state government in Raleigh, there has been a shift to the right. Taxes for the wealthy have been slashed, and spending for education and programs that benefit the poor have been cut. Abortion has been restricted, and guns rights expanded. At the end of the legislative session in July, in a state that has enjoyed relatively good race relations — which the business community both encouraged and benefited from — voting privileges for blacks were targeted.


The Washington Post: Is Washington in a ‘post-policy era’?
Peter Suderman offers the provocative thought that Washington is in “a post-policy moment.” The core fact, he says, is that both parties have achieved the goals they care about most: Republicans have kept taxes low, defense spending high, and the national-security state strong. Democrats, meanwhile, have successfully defended the entitlement state and passed a near-universal health-care bill — and he might have added their recent successes raising taxes on the rich and advancing the cause of gay marriage.

“This is what really lies underneath the recent policy stagnation,” he writes, “not obstructionism, but exhausted party agendas with nowhere left to go.”

The Washington Post: Tea party groups to target skeptical GOP senators on defunding Obamacare
A pair of tea party groups is teaming up to pressure key Republicans to support an effort to defund Obamacare. Tea Party Patriots and the grassroots group For America are launching online ads against a dozen GOP senators who either oppose the effort or haven’t announced a position. Along with the ads, leaders of the groups will embark on a six-state, five-day “Exempt America” tour (the idea being that the American people should be exempt from Obamacare) that will bring them to the home states of several of these senators.


The Hill: Team Hillary assails ‘brazen deceit’ of latest GOP Benghazi claims
A spokesman for Hillary Clinton fired back Friday at what it called the “brazen deceit” of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who earlier in the day said the former secretary of State shouted at lawmakers and deliberately lied to them in a private meeting about last year’s deadly strike on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.


ABC 11: Sen. Hagan defends record as foe uses billboard
A Washington-based group seeking to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate is using North Carolina billboards to take digs at Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan as she seeks a second term next year. Hagan spokeswoman Amber Moon said Friday the senator has had many bipartisan accomplishments, particularly on military matters, and that North Carolina residents know she’s working to help middle class families.

The Hill: Begich goes local in a bid to save vulnerable Dem Senate seat
The first-term senator is touting his stances against the federal government in an effort to emphasize what he says are his Alaska-first policies.
After Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Begich is seen as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat running for reelection next year, and Republican chances of winning the six seats needed to retake the Senate would improve substantially if he loses.


Dome: Roy Cooper testing waters for 2016 governor’s race
Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper has been making calls to supporters testing the waters for a possible bid against Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016, insiders say. Cooper’s calls are described as very preliminary, seeing if the support and money would be there for a possible run. Cooper is said to be angry at the direction of the Republican legislature and McCrory. He also recently sent out an email to supporters blasting the new voter ID law that McCrory has signed.

Washington Examiner: If Hillary is a lock, what’s a Democrat to do? Campaign for veep
While several leading Republicans have visited Iowa to lay the groundwork for possible presidential runs, until Friday not a single Democrat considering a run for the White House in 2016 had traveled to the nation’s first-voting state. Even though Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a decidedly long shot in her party’s sweepstakes, her trip to Clear Lake over the weekend marked a beginning for Democrats in Iowa. And perhaps more importantly, it illustrated the dilemma facing every Democrat not named Clinton who is thinking about running for president. As Democrats convened in Clear Lake’s Surf Ballroom for their annual Wing Ding fundraiser, the presence of Mrs. Clinton was so powerful, and the assumption that she would be the Democrats’ 2016 nominee was so strong, that Klobuchar appeared to conclude that her only choice was to campaign for vice president.


Greensboro News & Record: Not ready for prime time
Gov. Pat McCrory had the right idea when he decided not to hold a public ceremony while signing the state’s sweeping — and repressive — new voting changes into law. There was no sense in calling more attention to this legislative travesty that makes it harder for North Carolinians to vote. Instead, the governor put out a limp, 96-second video that was about as misleading as last fall’s campaign ads in which he pledged to put politics aside and work for all of North Carolina. On YouTube, McCrory’s latest video is titled “Governor McCrory Signs Popular Voter ID into Law.” A more accurate title might be “Governor Ignores Most of New Law’s Meanest Provisions and Is Promptly Sued.”


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

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