June 9, 2014
North Carolina Is Ground Zero for Unemployment Extension Fallout: With Congress showing few signs of passing an unemployment extension in 2014, North Carolina’s tossup Senate race will be a key test of the issue’s political potency. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, state Speaker Thom Tillis, have taken sharply different stands on unemployment benefits, and the issue could cut both ways. Read more here.
FiveThirtyEight Senate Forecast: Toss-Up or Tilt GOP?: The Senate playing field remains fairly broad. There are 10 races where we give each party at least a 20 percent chance of winning, so there is a fairly wide range of possible outcomes. But all but two of those highly competitive races (the two exceptions are Georgia and Kentucky) are in states that are currently held by Democrats. Furthermore, there are three states — South Dakota, West Virginia, and Montana — where Democratic incumbents are retiring, and where Republicans have better than an 80 percent chance of making a pickup, in our view. Read more here.
Both Parties Face Major Hurdles In Achieving Their Senate Dreams: Four Democrats now seeking re-election proved that in 2008, by winning after their states voted Republican in the previous presidential contest: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mark Begich of Alaska. Hagan’s victory, however, came on the same day Obama narrowly carried her state. He lost North Carolina in 2012. Privately, Democrats have all but conceded West Virginia and South Dakota, where Obama lost badly and longtime Democratic senators are retiring. They’re also deeply worried about Montana, where Obama also lost. Read more here.
NC Democrats, GOP seek unity for US Senate race: In Raleigh, Hagan touted her record in Washington. Fellow Democrats approved a resolution to congratulate the Obama administration for a successful roll-out of the federal health care law. Democrats also agreed on a resolution supporting the "Moral Monday" protests against actions of GOP Gov. Pat McCrory and the large Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Read more here.
Notebook: Fear and loathing in Cherokee: Entering the event Republicans had plenty to fear. A contentious U.S. Senate primary and a contested location cast a shadow on the “party unity” message. More loathing came from the reporters – this one in particular –who confronted restrictions on movement imposed by the tribal company managing the casino. Read more here.
Lawmakers get slow start to week after GOP convention: Senators are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. tonight. The only bill on the Senate calendar is a measure reorganizing the Commerce Department.The House has already sent over a separate bill that clears the way for the use of a Public Private Partnership. However, the Senate version of the bill also creates a new grant program for film incentives. Read more here.
Rucho defends controversial tweet: Republican N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho was unapologetic Monday after his controversial tweet sparked a firestorm of criticism online, on national television – and even from his state party chairman. On Sunday, alluding to the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law, he tweeted, “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined.” Read more here.
Obama aims to expand student loan relief: President Barack Obama is signing an executive order that lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in student loan payments. The measure expands on a 2010 law that covered those who started borrowing after October 2007 and kept borrowing after October 2011. Read more here.
6 cities bid for Democratic National Convention in 2016: Six cities submitted bids to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016: Birmingham, Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix, Democrats announced Saturday. In April, the Democratic National Committee invited 15 cities to make a proposal and these are the ones that responded by the deadline. Read more here.
WNC universities await budget decisions: As state lawmakers hash out the budget for the upcoming year, Western North Carolina’s public universities are waiting to find out what’s in store for them and whether more cuts could be on the way. Universities have seen deep reductions in state appropriations for operating expenses since the recession hit, and per pupil state spending remains below prerecession levels. Read more here.
Wake County school board against using its reserves to pay for teacher raises: The school board wants $29.1 million from the county to provide all school employees a 3.5 percent raise that would give teachers at least $1,000 more a year. But commissioners want the school district to dip into its reserves to provide smaller raises of around $237 a year. Read more here.