State lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory appear to be in agreement that they will increase teacher pay next year, but the legislative session is more than five months away and the details of the plan remain foggy.North Carolina’s teachers are among the lowest paid in the country, and they haven’t seen a real raise in six years. Despite the promises, teachers aren’t holding their breath on the raises, said Brian Lewis, political director for the North Carolina Association of Educators.
To show he isn’t “obsessed with his image,” Governor McCrory sent a response to the Charlotte Observer that showed he is, in fact, obsessed with his image. This calls to mind Virginia Sen. William L. Scott. In 1974, New Times magazine labeled Scott the country’s "dumbest" congressman. Scott called a press conference to deny the charge. He “met with a notable lack of success,” one observer noted. Two things got Governor McCrory in this fix. First, he had 90-plus minutes with an editor who has been sympathetic and supportive. But McCrory apparently spent most of the time complaining about what the media is saying, not talking about what he is doing.
Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior House Republican eyeing a powerful committee chairmanship, is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party’s gay congressional candidates. Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn’t back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to POLITICO by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks. The issue is particularly acute because House Republicans have two promising openly gay candidates in 2014 vying for seats held by Democrats. Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. John Tierney in 2012, is running again in northeastern Massachusetts. And in San Diego, Carl DeMaio, a former city councilman, is trying to knock off Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.
The Charlotte Post: Dems Hire Outreach Director
Marjorie Fields Harris, a seasoned political operative, is the new constituency outreach coordinator for the N.C. Democratic Party. “As a lifelong, proud Democrat, I am honored to have been asked to join the strong team of experienced, hardworking Democrats at the state party,” she said. “I believe that the auxiliaries and caucuses of the North Carolina Democratic Party represent the ornate and diverse fiber of our party.” NCDP Executive Director Robert Dempsey said he hired Harris because she “brings years of experience” that will provide support to the auxiliaries and the communities they represent. He said their goal is simple: to re-elect Kay Hagan to the U.S. Senate and pick up seats in the General Assembly. “The North Carolina Democratic Party continues to build a winning operation for 2014, and Marjorie will play an important role in that process,” he continued. “Marjorie will work hand in hand with our eight statewide caucuses to build an effective, organized auxiliary operation.”
The Virginia attorney general recount will start on Dec. 16 in populous Fairfax County and Dec. 17 in the rest of the state, a judge said Wednesday. Democrat Mark Herring leads Republican Mark Obenshain by 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast in the Nov. 5 election, according to results certified last month by the Virginia State Board of Elections. The recount dates, first reported by NBC 12 in Richmond, were confirmed by spokespeople for the campaigns. With no automatic recount in Virginia, Obenshain requested a new tally after the board certified the results. Because the margin is within 0.5 percent, the recount will be publicly funded. If Herring ultimately takes office, Democrats will hold all five statewide posts for the first time since 1969. Both campaigns have named transition teams.
Consider the 2014 legislative election season underway: Melvin “Skip” Alston, former chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, announced a run Wednesday against state Sen. Gladys Robinson. The two Democrats will face off in District 28, which runs from eastern Guilford County through Greensboro into High Point. Alston is the first challenger to announce for any of Guilford County’s nine legislative seats, but there almost certainly will be more. State Reps. Alma Adams and Marcus Brandon, both D-Guilford, are eyeing U.S. Rep. Mel Watt’s soon-to-be-vacant congressional seat, setting up a potential shake-up in the county legislative delegation.
In 2014, youth turnout will exceed expectations. Granted, that statement has a certain “you don’t sweat much for a fat person” quality. Yet facing tough obstacles, Democrats need all the votes they can get. A close look reveals young voters may provide some of them. Democrats have an opportunity to inform them of all the other outrages. And Republicans violated (or tried to) all of the young’s dearest concerns. Endangering the planet? Check. Encroaching on sexual freedom? Check. Disrespecting LGBT people? Like you wouldn’t believe. That said, information alone won’t rouse them. Thomas is right that Democrats must court the youth vote online. The outreach should target engaged young people, the kind who don’t delete Obama for America emails. When reached, these voters could then serve as emissaries to their less political peers. Voters usually respond more robustly to people they know, and this is especially true of the apathetic.
Well, it looks like Lillian’s List is doing its job. Democratic women seem to be lining up to take on incumbent Republican legislators in districts that are in play. And between the demographic make-up of the electorate and the GOP’s tone during the legislative session, the incumbents should be nervous. Just this week, Cary Town Councilwoman Gale Adcock announced she will challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Tom Murry andKim Hanchette, founder and executive director of Diabetes Management Solutions, jumped in the race against freshman Republican Rep. Jim Fulghum in another Wake County District. In addition, rumor has it that people are urging former District Attorney Nancy Lamb to run against Republican Rep. Bob Steinberg in Northeastern North Carolina. Both of the Wake districts are highly competitive. Obama actually won Murry’s district and got 47% of the vote in Fulghum’s. Both districts reflect the new realities of politics in urban districts. Unaffiliated voters make up almost 30% of the registration in Fulghum’s district while Democrats and Republicans are almost evenly split. In Murry’s district, unaffiliated voters make up 39% of the registration, outstripping voters in either party. And in Steinberg’s district, Democrats hold a 14% advantage over Republicans and unaffiliated voters hold a 4 point margin over the GOP.
Politico: GOP men tutored in running against women
The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to make sure there are no Todd Akin-style gaffes next year, so it’s meeting with top aides of sitting Republicans to teach them what to say — or not to say — on the trail, especially when their boss is running against a woman. Speaker John Boehner is serious, too. His own top aides met recently with Republican staff to discuss how lawmakers should talk to female constituents. There have been “multiple sessions” with the NRCC where aides to incumbents were schooled in “messaging against women opponents,” one GOP aide said. While GOP party leaders have talked repeatedly of trying to “rebrand” the party after the 2012 election losses, the latest effort shows they’re not entirely confident the job is done.
GOP state Sen. Torrey Westrom will announce Thursday that he will challenge longtime Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., in the 7th District. Westrom, the first legally blind person elected to the Minnesota Legislature, will make the announcement Thursday morning in the northwestern part of the state, according to a news release from the campaign. Westrom is the first Republican to announce a bid against Peterson. Republicans have made the 12-term Democrat a top target in 2014.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday that she will serve out her full term in the Senate and will not run for president in 2016. “I pledge to serve out my term,” she said at a news conference in Boston, according to the Boston Herald. “I am not running for president.” Warren was elected to the Senate last year and her term lasts through 2018. Asked how she feels about the presidential speculation, Warren said she doesn’t mind if it helps her advance the issues she advocates for in the Senate. “I am working as hard as I can to be the best possible senator that I can be and to fight for the things that I promised during my campaign to fight for,” she said, according to the Boston Globe.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the RNC has begun “focusing in” on Hillary Clinton as a candidate for 2016 and will continue to do so. Priebus was asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday whether the RNC would work to attack Clinton as the presumed Democratic nominee for president in 2016, according to a show transcript. The RNC chairman said the group is focused on the 2014 midterms, but he agreed it needs to aggressively set the conversation about Clinton early.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) "continues to make headlines for what is ostensibly a roll-out for another run at the White House in 2016, but a new Smart Politics report demonstrates that the nation’s pollsters are not convinced and have largely ignored the Texas governor this year."
"Perry ranks as just the 11th most listed Republican candidate in horse race polling questions of the GOP presidential primary field for the 2016 cycle. The names of only three Republicans have been given as a choice to survey respondents in all 17 such polls conducted this year: Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio. Paul Ryan and Rand Paul are next with 15 followed by Bobby Jindal with 12, Ted Cruz with 10, Rick Santorum with nine, and Scott Walker and Susana Martinez with six."
North Carolina voters aren’t the only ones who will soon have to present photo identification. State officials said Wednesday that, as of Feb. 1, anyone seeking unemployment benefits will have to present a photo ID in a face-to-face meeting within four weeks of filing a claim. The current system lets people file for jobless benefits either online or by telephone, but Assistant Commerce Secretary Dale Folwell, who heads the Division of Employment Security, said there’s been a growing number of fraudulent claims by people using someone else’s name or Social Security number. Identity theft among jobless claims is a problem both for those whose personal information is stolen and for the state, Folwell said.
Almost 17,200 additional students packed into North Carolina schools this year while the number of teachers dropped, according to new payroll data, leading to what some advocates say are larger class sizes that inhibit learning. There were 95,725 teachers working with more than 1.5 million students after the normal churn of the new academic year settled down in October, said the state Department of Public Instruction’s chief finance officer, Philip Price. The payroll and enrollment figures for the current year come as the state Board of Education opened its monthly two-day meeting Wednesday with an annual report on teacher turnover during the school year that concluded in May. Teacher turnover in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools tempered slightly, falling about two points from its high in 2011-12.
Teacher turnover in North Carolina reached a five-year high last year with more teachers leaving their classrooms to take new jobs in education or move. About 14.3 percent of teachers left their positions in the 2012-13 school year, according to the annual report, up from 12.1 percent in 2011-12. School districts employed 95,028 teachers last year, and local districts reported 13,616 left for a variety of reasons. As in previous years, most of the teachers who left their jobs did so for other education jobs in and outside the classroom. A relative handful of teachers resigned because they were dissatisfied with teaching or changed careers, but the numbers are steadily increasing; 887 last year compared with 541 in 2008-09. Early retirements are also up, from 228 in 2008-09 to 574 last year.
There’s over $1 trillion of outstanding student debt. That’s more than any non-mortgage form of personal debt, and young people know it’s a problem. According to a survey of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, student debt is both pervasive and worrying for young people. The survey found that 42% of 18- to 29-year-olds either had some student debt or someone in their household did, while 58% of college graduates in that group had some debt. But worries about student debt are not limited to those young people who have it. The survey also showed that 79% of respondents said that student debt was a major or minor problem, while only 4% said it was “no problem.” These results were also consistent across political boundaries — 62% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans said student debt was a major problem.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
|Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.|