“If Governor McCrory had remained in corporate America, he would’ve been subjected to a mid-year review by his boss to ensure he’s on target to meet his goals and objectives.“Let’s see how he’s doing as governor.”
Cl Charlotte: McCrory’s ridiculous TV ad
Pat McCrory’s new TV campaign ad is stunning, and I don’t mean it’s beautiful. Rather, it’s stunning in an "I can’t believe I’m seeing this" way – cheesy, vapid and desperate and, depending on your view of the guy, either sad or sickening. Moreover, it’s also stunning to see just how many half-truths, distortions and outright lies the producers managed to pack into one minute. For sure, those qualities mean that McCrory’s ad fits right in with the tenor of the slick, image-making modern political ads we’ve all gotten used to. But considering that the commercial is McCrory’s attempt to counter abysmal poll numbers (only 35 percent of North Carolinians approve, according to latest surveys), and the growing perception of him as a lightweight who was stampeded in the legislature by the wingnuts in his own party, you’d think the ad would be more than a parade of dubious platitudes. You’d think he would offer more than shadings, spin and, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit. If you haven’t seen
Gov. Pat McCrory shrugged off his low approval rating Thursday after a wide-ranging talk with Jackson County business leaders about reforming state government. Public Policy Polling has his approval at 35 percent after a summer of protests and criticism over Republican policies. Critics of the Charlotte Republican and the GOP point to cuts to education, restrictions on abortion, sweeping restrictions on how people vote along with high salaries in state government jobs for former McCrory campaign aids as reasons North Carolinians are unhappy.
Now we have Republican Gov. Pat McCrory proving that back-scratching political cronyism is a bipartisan affair. McCrory has been appointing neophyte political staffers to highly paid positions in state government as teachers and other state employees go without raises or lose their jobs. To be clear, the governor has been accused of no crimes, and his administration’s hiring practices may adhere to “every personnel law and policy,” as a spokeswomen claims. But his hiring of thinly qualified young political staffers to lucrative positions is politically tone-deaf and insensitive to state employees who have been losing jobs and living for years without raises.
Local officials are worried that the input they were promised in Gov. Pat McCrory’s transportation-planning reform bill might be diluted by the N.C. Department of Transportation. DOT staffers charged with implementing the new law have rolled out a proposal that indicates the agency’s 14 in-house division engineers will have a big say, equal in weight to that of local elected officials, in how money flows to regional- and division-level road and transit projects. The idea has already sparked discussion and dissent at both the state and local levels. Elected officials from Durham and Orange counties who sit on a joint road-planning group will weigh in via a letter to the state.
WHEN partisan political realignments take place, they tend to come not subtly but swiftly. Karl Rove’s dream of a permanent Republican majority looked feasible in 2004, doubtful in 2006 and laughable two years later. Similarly, the talk of Republicans facing demographic extinction seemed far more plausible in 2008 than in 2010, when Republicans took back the House of Representatives and seized 20 state-legislature chambers from the Democrats.Among them were both houses of the General Assembly of North Carolina, a quintessential swing state. Just two years earlier, in 2008, Barack Obama won North Carolina by the narrowest of margins. He lost the state in 2012, and Republicans—thanks in part to crafty redistricting in 2011—consolidated their state-level gains, winning supermajorities in both houses and electing Pat McCrory, the Republican former mayor of Charlotte, as governor. Republicans took control of North Carolina’s state government for the first time in a century, despite a voter-registration disadvantage of more than 750,000.
The NAACP and other voting-rights groups say students will lead a "Moral Monday" rally at the governor’s mansion next week to protest voting law changes and education cuts. Student groups affiliated with the NAACP, Common Cause, Democracy North Carolina and the North Carolina Student Power Union are also planning to tour college campuses around the state, explaining the changes to voting laws and what students now need to do in order to vote.The new voting law bans same-day voter registration, cuts the early voting period from 17 days to 10, removing one weekend, and bans pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds – provisions that, according to rally organizers, helped thousands of students vote in 2008 and 2012.
Concerned about “unusual contracts” at the Department of Health and Human Services, Rep. Garland Pierce (D-Wagram) led a press conference this week to demand answers from Gov. Pat McCrory. “At time when the governor and the General Assembly told teachers and state employees there was no money for a one percent pay raise … now comes word that the DHHS has given out big fat increases to some young, inexperienced political appointees,” Pierce said, flanked by other members of the Legislative Black Caucus, a group he leads. Pierce said his concerns revolve around the department’s payment of $228,000 to a consultant for eight months of work.
About 70,000 unemployed workers who were cut loose by their employers were cut off by their government at the end of June. They lost federally funded extended unemployment benefits because of a new state law that overhauls North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system.
Sam Spencer, president of the Young Democrats of North Carolina, politely reminded me that his group did just what I asked, before I asked it. They did a multi-city political tour/food drive and collected 400 pounds of food this weekend here in Greensboro alone, according to chapter president Emily Brown.
When then-Senator Trent Lott praised Strom Thurmond and his segregationist campaign for president in 1948—"We voted for him. We’re proud of it."—it all but cost him his career. In a sane world, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would also be on the political ropes, in his case, for cheering the late Jesse Helms of North Carolina, an unreconstructed bigot who devoted his life to the defense of white supremacy and the advancement of far-right politics. Instead, Cruz—who in many ways is the ideological successor to Helms—will lose nothing, and continue to act as the avatar for forces that will destroy the Republican Party if they aren’t stopped. First, the details. Yesterday, Cruz delivered a foreign policy address at the conservative Heritage Foundation for the Jesse Helms Lecture Series. (That this even exists is fitting for an organization that—until this year—employed a scientific racist to write a report on why Congress should reject comprehensive immigration reform, and in particular, an easier to path to residency and citizenship for low-income Latino workers.)Cruz’s speech began with a little trivia about his political history: His first campaign donation—at ten years old—was to Helms. He continued with a declaration: "We need 100 more Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate."
Republican lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with what they say is a lack of communication from their leaders. Both centrist and conservative members in the House believe that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants could have done more earlier this year to counter the Tea Party’s effort to defund ObamaCare. Some Republicans on Capitol Hill say such an effort is politically impossible with a Democratic-controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House. Regardless, the rift on what to do on ObamaCare has opened up a civil war within the GOP. That deep division is flaring at a time when fiscal showdowns are front and center following the August recess. A number of lawmakers, who spoke with The Hill on the condition of anonymity, say they are upset that their leaders don’t appear to have a strategy and didn’t communicate more with them during the summer break.
Tea party activists, once unquestioned as a benefit to the Republican Party for supplying it with votes and energy, are now criticizing GOP leaders at seemingly every turn. They’re demanding that Congress use upcoming budget votes to deny money for putting in place President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, despite warnings the strategy could lead to a government shutdown. They’re upset that Republicans didn’t block a Senate-passed immigration bill. Many are outspoken opponents of any U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that more than 7 in 10 self-identified "tea party Republicans" disapprove of the job performance of GOP congressional leaders. Many of the major tea party groups are backing 2014 primary challengers against Republicans the activists deem too moderate, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky conservative once declared it his job to make Obama a one-term president.
Republicans have the next move in the fight over how to prevent a government shutdown, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday.“What’s next is what the Republicans will come up with,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. Pelosi took part in a meeting between bipartisan leaders of both chambers just hours earlier in the Capitol, as the lawmakers search for a way to fund the government and prevent a shutdown on Oct. 1.
With Congress momentarily freed from the Syrian crisis, lawmakers plunged back into their bitter fiscal standoff on Thursday as Speaker John A. Boehner appealed to the Obama administration and Democratic leaders to help him resolve divisions in the Republican ranks that could lead to a government shutdown by month’s end. In meetings with Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders on Thursday after a session with Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew on Wednesday, Mr. Boehner sought a resumption of negotiations that could keep the government running and yield a deficit-reduction deal that would persuade recalcitrant conservatives to raise the government’s borrowing limit. Much of the federal government will shut down as of Oct. 1 unless Congress approves new spending bills to replace expiring ones, and by mid-October, the Treasury Department will lose the borrowing authority to finance the government and pay its debts.
Lots of people think John Boehner has lost control of the House Republican caucus. Apparently John Boehner does, too. On Wednesday, the speaker and his lieutenants had to stage yet another embarrassing retreat—this time, by postponing a vote on a “continuing resolution” that would fund government operations past September 30, when the current CR expires. Figuring out a way to pass such a bill has been one of Boehner’s biggest challenges for the last few weeks. And primarily that’s because the Republican Party’s right wing insists on linking a CR to Obamacare. Both in the House and in the Senate, Tea Party Republicans and their allies want the president’s health care law off the books or, at the very least, delayed and defunded. If they don’t get their way, they say, they won’t vote for any CR—even if that means the federal government shuts down.
USA TODAY: Ky. Sen. Mitch McConnell faces hard choices on spending
As Congress faces a potential meltdown over the budget and spending, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is staring at tough political choices. Should the Kentucky Republican get involved in trying to cut another budget deal and open himself to charges from the right that he is giving in to President Barack Obama? Or should he let others negotiate and be subjected to criticism that he gets nothing done? With a series of battles looming over spending, budget cuts, health care and the debt ceiling — as well as the threat of a government shutdown Oct. 1 — McConnell will be "caught between a rock and a hard place," said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan spending watchdog group.
Roll Call: Conservative Preacher Joins North Carolina Senate Primary | #NCSEN
Harris is the latest Republican to announce a challenge to Hagan, joining at least six others including state Speaker Thom Tillis and conservative activist Greg Brannon. North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger and former ambassador to Denmark Jim Cain are also considering bids. Responding to Harris’ ensuing candidacy, Robert Dempsey, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said Harris “is from the Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee wing of the Republican Party.”“Mark Harris might not have the deep unpopularity of the legislature, but his agenda is a perfect match for the extremists in the general assembly,” Dempsey said.
North Carolina’s GOP Senate field could hurt Republicans’ chances to knock off Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), pushing the candidates to the right and forcing them to use resources better saved for the general election. Baptist Minister Mark Harris (R) told supporters Thursday that he plans to run, joining North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) and Tea Party candidate Greg Brannon (R) in the race. North Carolina state Senate President Phil Berger (R) is running television ads touting his work on voting rights and has ripped Hagan on a number of issues in recent days, a sign he’s still interested in running for the seat. The growing field could give Republicans headaches by forcing the mostly unknown candidates to spend money early instead of saving it for Hagan, whose seat is viewed as the tipping point for GOP Senate control. The party needs to pick up a net of six seats to win the majority.
North Carolina State Sen. Phil Berger (R), the pro tempore president of the Senate, has been weighing a challenge to United States Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) but hasn’t officially made any decision yet — but several things signal that he’s ready to jump in the race. The Washington Post asked earlier this month if Berger was positioning himself for a senate run after he announced a $100,000-plus ad campaign that touted the state’s new voter ID legislation. “You need a photo ID to drive, cash a check, even to buy medicine. Shouldn’t you show a photo ID to vote? Liberals like Obama and Kay Hagan say no,” the ad’s voiceover said.
REACTION FROM THE HAGAN SIDE: Mary Stench, a spokeswoman for Emily’s List writes: "Republicans continue their saga of struggle and embarrassment in the North Carolina Senate contest, as conservative Pastor Mark Harris today announced his candidacy. Harris, a Republican who subscribes to the extreme, backward priorities of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, continues the pattern of fringe, right-wing extremists lining up in North Carolina."
Attorney General Martha Coakley, who only three years ago appeared to be finished politically, will join the race for governor with an announcement in her hometown of Medford on Monday followed by an 18-city barnstorming tour for the next three days, a top Coakley political aide said. Her campaign will test whether Democrats are ready to take another chance on her leading the ticket next year as she emphasizes a theme of expanding economic opportunity, job creation, and improving education. “Massachusetts is poised to take off,” Coakley said in a statement she released Sunday. “We can either grab this moment and move forward together, or risk falling behind. I believe we must continue to rebuild our economy in a way that gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, and launch new education reforms so that every child and adult has the skills they need to compete in a global economy.” She will release a video announcement Monday morning and begin her day at Dempsey’s Breakfast and Lunch in Medford, before heading to Brockton, Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford, and Hyannis for her first day of campaigning.
Daily Mail: Eyes on Natalie Tennant Senate decision
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is expected to announce her candidacy Tuesday for the Democratic nomination to become West Virginia’s next U.S. senator. Long rumored to have interest in running, Tennant began calling Democrats across the state Friday to let them know her plans, said an unnamed Democrat. State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio said Sunday afternoon he hadn’t spoken with Tennant yet this weekend, but he expects her to enter the race Tuesday morning. All citing anonymous Democratic sources, local talk show host Hoppy Kercheval, the Washington Post, websites Politico.com and RollCall.com and others reported Friday that Tennant is preparing to announce her candidacy.
Less than a year into Gov. Pat McCrory’s term, a new Democratic poll indicates that voters are looking for an alternative. Public Policy Polling — a Raleigh firm never shy about looking far ahead to the next hypothetical political contest — tested the Republican governor against four Democrats and found the challengers all held an edge, though ever-so-slightly in certain cases. Attorney General Roy Cooper shows the best in a potential 2016 matchup, topping McCrory by 6 percentage points. State Treasurer Janet Cowell, former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and state Sen. Josh Stein all edge the governor but within the margin of error. (From PPP: McCrory’s down 48/42 to Cooper, 47/43 to Cowell, 45/42 to Meeker, and 44/42 to Stein.) The Sept. 6-9 poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus four percent. At the same time, those Democratic candidates are barely known — making it appear that voters sentiment may reflect an anyone-but-McCrory (ABM) mentality after a first term filled with controversies and a contentious legislative session. All this makes good fodder for the capital’s chatting class — but again it’s way too early to count McCrory out in 2016.
A new national poll in the battle for the 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential nominations indicates what you would expect: Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming Democratic frontrunner, and there’s no real leader among the possible GOP White House hopefuls. But if you get beyond the obvious, the CNN/ORC International survey released Monday becomes more revealing. It showed 65% of Democrats and independents who lean toward that party say they would likely back Clinton as their presidential nominee. Vice President Joe Biden comes in a distant second, at 10%, with freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 7%, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at 6%, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 2%.
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court wins on marriage issues this June, the Human Rights Campaign is bringing a successful state advocate to D.C. to help the organization narrow the gap between states that have made significant progress on LGBT issues and those that have thus far been left behind. Saying it’s time for him “to take on a new challenge,” Brad Clark is leaving his role as the executive director at One Colorado — the state’s LGBT rights group — to join HRC next month as its director of programmatic development. Prior to joining One Colorado in May 2010, Clark was the campaign director at One Iowa.“At my core, I’m still from what many people would describe as a flyover state. We’ve made huge advancements in both Iowa and then in Colorado. I have that small-town experience, and I think that’s a really important voice in moving things forward,” Clark told BuzzFeed Thursday.
Chris, I just got back from a week in Raleigh covering the legislature’s special session, the dysfunctional relationship between the legislative and executive branches, Sen. Kay Hagan’s race for re-election and as many cool little brew pubs as I could find. By the numbers, Democrats should run the state – there are almost 2.8 million registered Democrats and just 2 million registered Republicans, according to the state Board of Elections. But in reality, Republicans hold filibuster-proof majorities in both the state House and Senate, they control 9 of 13 Congressional seats, and it was one of just two states, along with Indiana, that voted for President Obama in 2008 but flipped to the red column in 2012.So, I put the question to you: Is North Carolina still a swing state?
FIX: I say yes.
The clear message from the new campaign-style commercial featuring Gov. Pat McCrory misrepresenting the actions of his administration and the Republican General Assembly is that the folks in power in Raleigh are very worried about the overwhelming backlash against their right-wing agenda.No governor in North Carolina’s history has been forced to air television commercials to defend themselves just nine months into their first term. McCrory and his political team are obviously panicked about the governor’s plummeting approval ratings and the widespread protests against his agenda that are drawing huge crowds at Moral Monday events from Burnsville to Manteo.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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