Gov. Pat McCrory’s approval rating declined 10 points in six months, according to the latest High Point University poll released Monday. The HPU poll found North Carolina resident put the Republican’s approval rating at 39 percent — equal to President Barack Obama. Another 42 percent disapprove of McCrory’s handling of his job — a 17 percent increase from six months ago — with 19 percent unsure, HPU found. The poll, which has an approval rating of plus-or-minus 5 percent — did not screen for registered voters or likely voters.
A new HPU Poll finds that 39 percent of North Carolina residents approve of Governor Pat McCrory’s job performance. In the spring, the HPU Poll surveyed 548 adults in NC and found a 49 percent approval rating for McCrory. The poll also finds that more than two thirds (69 percent) of the same respondents believe the country is on the wrong track versus only 20 percent of North Carolina residents who see the country headed in the right direction.
The president of the Civitas Institute removed his story from the conservative-leaning think tank website last week that was critical about "cronyism" in Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration and hit hard at his chief-of-staff. Francis De Luca’s story (cached by Google here) criticized the Republican governor for failing to change "the culture of cronyism and insider dealing in Raleigh" by pointing to his appearance at the Sept. 5 inaugural Minority Enterprise Development celebration. De Luca wrote that the event featured two speakers of a group tied to the coalition behind the "Moral Monday" protests and was hosted by the N.C. Women and Business Enterprise Coordinators Network. The story noted that network is a client of Capitol Access, a lobbying firm led by Yolanda Stith, the wife of McCrory’s chief of staff, Thomas Stith. It went further to say that it "may be that Thursday was not the first time that Ms. Stith’s clients benefited from a cooperative governor," highlighting how her clients budget cuts received only small budget cuts in McCrory’s proposed budget. However, state lawmakers ended funding for many of the programs. De Luca declined to comment Monday about why he removed the story. Stith is a former vice president of the Civitas Institute, which was founded by McCrory’s state budget director, Art Pope. Pope resigned from the Institute’s board to take the administration post.
WRAL: McCrory absent as NC NAACP protests at mansion
About 150 people marched in a solemn procession around North Carolina’s Executive Mansion on Monday to protest voting law changes by the state’s Republican-led legislature. But Gov. Pat McCrory wasn’t there to see them. His office said he was attending a Republican Governors Association meeting in Charleston, S.C. The marchers carried empty caskets to memorialize the four little girls killed in the bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., church 50 years ago this week. North Carolina NAACP President William Barber said the blood of those girls helped ensure the passage of voting rights that must now be defended. "We call on the governor to remember the blood that had to be shed for us to come this far and why we can never go back," Barber said.
The Southern Growth Policies Board, a think tank based in the Triangle for more than 40 years, is being dissolved, on the recommendation of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. The board, the brainchild of former Gov. Terry Sanford, has since 1971 spun out reports on how to improve the economy of the South on such subject as innovation and technology, globalization, and the changing nature of the workforce. But in July, McCrory, the chairman of the board, suggested the think tank be dissolved and absorbed into the Southern Governor’s Association. McCrory’s recommendation was unanimously adopted by the group’s board representing its 12 Southern states, according to Ted Abernathy, the board’s executive director. "It was decided to strengthen both organizations, it was decided that the Southern Governor’s Association would start doing policy and research as part of their work," Abernathy said. "The board voted to dissolve the interstate compact for growth and the Southern governors will integrate some of their work into activities. We have officially ceased as an organization.”
As former N.C. Rep. Valerie Foushee prepares to fill Ellie Kinnaird’s vacated seat in the N.C. Senate, Democrats in Orange and Durham counties are starting the process of filling another vacant legislative position. Foushee was named Kinnaird’s replacement last week by a selection committee, and she will represent District 23 in the Senate through December 2014. Foushee did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding her new position.With Foushee’s House of Representatives seat now empty, Democrats from across District 50 are beginning to declare candidacy for the open position.
Town Council member Laurin Easthom became the second candidate Friday to seek state Rep. Valerie Foushee’s N.C. House District 50 seat."I just care," Easthom said. "I really want to do what I’ve been doing (on the council). I really like helping people out." She joins Durham businessman Tommy McNeil, who ran in 2008 for the Orange County Board of Commissioners and in 2012 for the Orange County Board of Education. McNeill, the owner of Mid-South Medical LLC, announced his bid shortly after Foushee was chosen Aug. 8 to fill former state Sen. Ellie Kinnaird’s District 23 seat.
Nearly 200 demonstrators were part of the procession that moved slowly from the First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh to the Executive Mansion. The event, touted as the 18th “Moral Monday,” was led by Youth and College NAACP groups from across North Carolina.Gov. Pat McCrory was attending a Republic Governors Association meeting in Charleston, S.C., his staff told the media, and not at the Blount Street mansion while the young and old walked the perimeter of the property. “We’re going to make one circle around the governor’s mansion to let him know we plan to go all around this state,” the Rev. William Barber II, head of the state NAACP, told the demonstrators, On Monday, it was the youth doing most of the rallying, though. “Just because the governor is gone doesn’t mean the issue is gone,” said Isaiah Daniels, a Shaw University student at the event.
A Mecklenburg County senator is using a civil rights museum as a backdrop to express his concerns over North Carolina’s newly enacted election laws. Democratic Sen. Malcolm Graham is hosting college students from the Triad for a Tuesday tour of the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro. After the tour, Graham will join student leaders for a news conference to answer questions on the new elections laws, which include requiring identification at the polls, reducing the in-person early voting period and ending same-day voter registration. A lawsuit has been filed challenging the law, passed by the GOP-led General Assembly in July.
John Drescher of the News & Observer once called Sen. Phil Berger “a serious elected official with ambition and vision.” And Drescher was right. Unfortunately for all but the wealthiest of us, Berger’s vision includes as little government as possible and that includes public schools, economic development, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and a host of other programs and services that help middle-class families and those struggling to get by. He used his legislative muscle to shape a tax plan that shifted the tax burden from corporations and beneficiaries of our financial system to those of us who are just trying to get by. When he saw the Rural Center as a problem, he appointed a guy who was ideologically opposed to economic development programs to its board of directors. Within a year, that appointee, Bob Luddy, helped create a story for the News & Observer and was calling for the demise of the center. That fox didn’t get into the henhouse. Berger threw him in and then locked the door.
Cleveland County’s LeGrand Center will be the site of the 53rd annual state convention of Democratic Women of North Carolina from Sept. 20-22. About 200 people are expected to hear political leaders, strategize for 2014 general elections, and work on the nuts and bolts of turning North Carolina “blue” again. Among the speakers will be U. S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who writes that she’s happy the convention will be in the town where she was born.
Chair Ann McCracken announced that the Executive Committee of the Lee County Democratic Party had voted to support the city bond referendums that will be on the primary ballot. She asked for volunteers to work with Sanford Matters in supporting the bonds. She also announced that N.C. Democratic Party Chair Randy Voller will be the guest speaker at the Sept. 10 meeting of the Democratic Women of Lee County. The next monthly meeting of the Lee County Democratic Party will be on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. Former Senator Ellie Kinnaird of Carrboro will be guest speaker.
The Republican party has voted unanimously against establishing the Affordable Care Act in the Senate and then in the House of Representatives, then voted some 40 times to repeal or cripple it; it has mounted a nearly successful campaign to nullify it through the courts and a failed presidential campaign that promised to repeal it; and it has used its control of state governments to block the law’s implementation across vast swaths of the country, at enormous economic cost to those states. Yet somehow, in the wake of all this, the party is consumed with the question Have we done enough to stop Obamacare? This peculiar subject of introspection, as if Joe Francis were lying awake at night cursing himself for his prudery, reflects the deepening mix of terror and rage with which conservatives await the enrollment of millions of uninsured Americans beginning in October.
A debt ceiling vote is creeping its way into the government funding fight. The House Republican leadership, facing rank-and-file GOP lawmakers skeptical that the party is willing to defund or delay Obamacare, is weighing ways to tie an increase in the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling to a government funding bill, which must be enacted before Oct. 1, according to several leadership aides involved in the discussions. One option under consideration is an accelerated vote on the debt ceiling. There is discussion in House Republican leadership circles about setting a debt ceiling vote before Sept. 30. If Republican leaders show in the next few weeks how they will use the debt ceiling to delay Obamacare, it will display that the party’s brass is serious about an all-or-nothing legislative brawl with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama. That could help ease the passage of the continuing resolution to fund the government.
House Republicans return to Washington today still at loggerheads over how to thwart President Barack Obama’s health-care law without shutting down the federal government on Oct. 1. House Republican leaders are considering alternatives that would mollify those who want to defund and delay the president’s signature domestic achievement. House Speaker John Boehner “believes that threatening a government shutdown or engaging in one is not only bad for the country but I think he believes it is the only way that Republicans lose the House in the next election,” Steve Bell, a senior director at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, said in an interview.
They’re virtually an afterthought in the battle to keep the government open into October, but House Democrats are more than willing to work with Republicans to cut a deal. As long as it costs the GOP something. House GOP leadership’s decision last week to back away from a continuing resolution from the floor amid Republican opposition raises the possibility that Speaker John Boehner might ultimately have to call on Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. He has relied on the minority before, most notably during the fiscal cliff deal that raised taxes on top earners earlier this year.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Congress on Tuesday that waiting until the last minute to raise the nation’s limit on borrowing could lead to irrevocable damage to the economy. "We cannot afford for Congress to gamble with the full faith and credit of the United States of America," Lew told the Economic Club of Washington, a business forum. The government has been scraping up against its $16.7 trillion debt limit since May but has avoided defaulting on any of its obligations by employing emergency measures to manage its cash, such as suspending investments in pension funds for federal workers. Lew repeated a warning he made last month that the nation would run dangerously low on cash in mid-October. As that date approaches, the risk would also rise that investors could lose confidence in the government and might stop reinvesting in U.S. government debt.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, will appear at a fundraiser for state House Speaker Thom Tillis’ U.S. later this month. A source close to Burr confirmed he would headline the event on Sept. 24, which will also feature Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo. The appearance, which was first reported by The Hill newspaper, the source said, does not constitute an endorsement. However, it will almost certainly be read as good news by backers of the Mecklenburg Republican. The speaker is the best known, but not the only member, of the Republican field lining up to challenge Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. Already, the Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Charlotte, has declared he will run with the support of former N.C. Republican Party Robin Hayes. In addition, Cary obstetrician Dr. Greg Brannon, has announced a bid and has won support from a national Tea Party group.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s anticipated entrance into an open-seat Senate race on Tuesday will bring the recruitment phase of next year’s competitive Senate landscape closer to its conclusion. Senate Democrats, who can afford a loss of no more than five seats in the 2014 midterms to retain a majority, are on the brink of filling the remaining few gaps on the party’s roster of candidates. With Tennant in and Lt. Gov. John Walsh potentially running in Montana, the party has just one vulnerable seat left where it is still searching for a candidate: South Dakota. Republicans are playing offense in all but two of the top races next year and therefore had far more recruiting to do, but they have also landed candidates in nearly all of their highly targeted races. While the search is ongoing in some second-tier states, most of the party’s biggest midterm question marks stem from the rampant competitive primaries that will play out next summer.
"The GOP’s brand is showing no sign of recovering from what led to the party’s thumping in 2012, and second-term fatigue does seem to be plaguing Democrats. We could be seeing an election in which the two forces cancel each other out, with little change in the House, and Republicans picking up three, four, or five Senate seats but still coming up short of the six they need to gain a majority. Under those circumstances, it might be questionable in 2016 whether the electorate would want a third Democratic term in the White house, but it is equally unclear whether voters would choose to turn the executive branch over to Republicans. At the very least, Americans might want to prepare themselves for Washington to muddle along for the next three years until the 2016 election."
Democrats have their recruit in the West Virginia Senate race, as Secretary of State Natalie Tennant officially launched her campaign Tuesday.
Post Politics reported Friday that Tennant was set to enter the race, for which she remained the Democrats’ last big-name recruit.Tennant finished third in the 2011 Democratic gubernatorial primary — a crowded field that included then-acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Assuming she wins the general election, Tennant will likely face Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in what should be one of the marquee Senate races of 2014.
In two years, Culbreth Middle School teacher Chuck Hennessee will be fully vested as a public educator and can retire — facing a decision to stay in the profession or find something else.“Right now, it makes a whole lot more sense for me to step out of the profession and look at some things that will be less stressful, more appreciating and at the same time more financially intelligent as far as continuing to work,” he said.Like Hennessee, some teachers and education majors in North Carolina are reconsidering career options after education issues dominated the N.C. General Assembly’s recently concluded long session. UNC senior Avery Keese is pursuing a minor in education, but has almost completely ruled out teaching in North Carolina. “It’s not all about money, but I can’t really live on what North Carolina is going to pay me,” she said.
For decades now, cycles of education “reform” have swept across America and North Carolina. Testing programs, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and now Common Core.Sunday’s New York Times Magazine had more: give every student a tablet and start teaching “emotional intelligence.”In North Carolina today, Republicans have their hobby-horses: have more charter schools and give tax money to private schools. Here’s a wild idea: Why not just let teachers teach? Why not trust the people who know most about teaching today’s student? Why do we instead listen to people who haven’t been inside a classroom in decades and are driven by politics and ideology? And let’s stop assuming that people who are successful in business – or, more accurately, have big titles in big corporations – know what to do in the schools.
Activists seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples in North Carolina continued their search Monday for an official willing to flout state law and issue marriage licenses as an act of personal conscience as similar officials in New Mexico and Pennsylvania have done this summer. Two lesbian couples requested and were denied marriage licenses by Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen. He said he’d be honored to do it but was barred by North Carolina law. "I want you to know that I’m truly sorry I have to do this today," Thigpen told Cheryl Bridges and Tracey Bridges of Greensboro, who spent $800 in legal bills to change their names to the one they share.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
|Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.|