Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

Mark Harris has become a familiar name on the Republican ballot in North Carolina. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014, losing to Thom Tillis. Two years ago, he lost to Robert Pittenger in the primary race for the 9th district in Congress by just 134 votes.

This year, Harris is back for another shot at Pittenger. Both say the circumstances are different and in their favor for next week’s primary.

NCGA

If history is any indicator, turnout for the North Carolina primary on May 8th may be low, especially with no glitzy federal or statewide candidates on the ballot—fewer than 8 percent of voters cast a ballot in 2016. But this year may be different. The races highlight one of the biggest political stories of 2017: our state’s election maps.

 

Electing a sheriff – even in one of North Carolina’s largest counties – doesn’t usually draw a lot of attention. But this year’s democratic primary in Buncombe County is different.  Voters will select a new sheriff for the first time in 12 years.  And law enforcement practices and reforms are center stage in the campaign because of an incident that took place within the county.

Duane Hall
NC Legislature

Duane Hall stands behind a large wooden desk on the second floor of his law office in downtown Raleigh. The Governor’s Mansion is visible out the window. That’s where Hall used to shoot baskets with his friend, Governor Roy Cooper, and where he proposed to his now fiancé last December. It doesn’t feel so close anymore. These days Representative Hall is, perhaps, the loneliest man in North Carolina politics.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

With President Donald Trump’s approval rating low, Democrats nationwide are hoping midterm elections will trigger a blue wave this year that will change the balance of power in Congress. Some political observers believe that wave could wash over some North Carolina districts, including the 2nd, where three Democrats are battling for the chance to replace incumbent Republican George Holding.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Democrats suing Republican legislative leaders over a law canceling judicial primaries this year subpoenaed records from the North Carolina GOP, which, this week, turned up memos outlining the state Republican Party's strategy targeting political opponents.

headshot of Josh Stein, NC flag in the background
Courtesy of NCDOJ

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has signed onto several federal lawsuits since taking office in January 2017. He joined 14 other Democratic attorneys general in a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. Earlier this month Stein signed on to a multi-state lawsuit to block a question about citizenship on the upcoming 2020 Census. A week later, he and 15 other Democratic attorneys general filed a motion to intervene in a Texas lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

School bus
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

Gov. Roy Cooper is calling for $130 million in the state budget to go toward student safety and mental health measures.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this week's episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Politics Reporter Rusty Jacobs sits down with Meredith College Political Science Professor David McLennan, who also directs Meredith Poll.

The two talk about the races for U.S. Congress in North Carolina that are most likely to be competitive in next month’s primary, and this fall’s general election.

As the debate over tariffs on Chinese products and a potential trade war intensifies, there’s another battle emerging.

It concerns a multi-governmental agency called CFIUS - the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. CFIUS reviews foreign purchases of American companies to make sure they don’t jeopardize national security.

But a bipartisan group in the U.S. House and Senate says the committee needs expanded powers. In the House, North Carolina Congressman Robert Pittenger is leading an effort to overhaul CFIUS.

photo of tammy hooper in the blue ridge public radio station
Amanda Magnus

In late February, leaked bodycam footage of a white Asheville police officer beating a black pedestrian went viral, and the city is still reeling. The footage captured an incident that took place Aug. 24, 2017 when former Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman confronted city resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush over alleged jaywalking and trespassing. Footage shows Hickman beat, choked, punched and stunned Rush.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

On this week's review of North Carolina politics, a much-criticized Legislative committee tasked with studying the pros and cons of breaking up large school districts adjourned without making any policy recommendations. Also, the most recent revenue projections forecast a state surplus of more than $200 million. When legislators reconvene next month, what are the top two things they should do with that money?

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Patrick Woodie is President and CEO of the NC Rural Center, and is nearly complete with an 80-county road trip across the state.

He sits down for this week's episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast to discuss broadband, healthcare, and improving the quality of life in our state's rural regions.

photo of asheville and the surrounding mountains at dusk
Michael Tracey/Public Domain

Asheville city police face potential budget cuts a month after body camera footage of an officer beating a black pedestrian was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times. The beating prompted outrage and led to the arrest of the former officer who beat the pedestrian and the firing of City Manager Gary Jackson. Blue Ridge Public Radio News Director Matt Bush speaks with host Frank Stasio about the latest updates from the story.

photo of tom perez speaking at a microphone, an american flag in the background
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez took the helm of the Democratic National Committee in early 2017 when its reputation was in tatters. The Clinton-Sanders primary created a rift in the party, which was further devastated by the Russian email hacking scandal and big losses in the 2016 election.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Denver Post reporter John Frank joins this week's episode of the WUNCPolitics podcast to discuss the findings of a new independent report about sexual harassment at Colorado's Capitol.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

China issued the latest shot in a looming trade war this week, announcing it would increase tariffs on pork products. That decision could have an impact on farmers in eastern North Carolina counties. In an unrelated swine development, a series of nuisance lawsuits were back in federal court.

photo of scott pruitt
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Creative Commons

This week President Donald Trump announced he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the fight against ISIS in Syria. In a news conference with Baltic leaders Trump said the U.S. was “very successful against ISIS.” The president has since pulled back on an urgent removal plan, and instead instructed the military to withdraw from the conflict within a few months.

photo of Kim Pevia
Courtesy of Women AdvaNCe

A record number of women are running for public office this year for positions ranging from state legislators to governors and members of Congress. Whether or not they will be elected still remains uncertain, but their attempts could counteract staggering statistics: for every one woman who holds office as a governor, member of congress or state legislator in the United States today, there are three men, according to analysis from The Washington Post.

photo of Chris Hickman conversing with other officers, johnnie rush is handcuffed in the background
City of Asheville

Asheville resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush was walking home from work on Aug. 24, 2017 when he was stopped by police for jaywalking. Rush felt he was being harassed and ran away to avoid arrest. Bodycam video of the incident was leaked to the Asheville Citizen Times in February 2018, and it went viral. 

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

It was a relatively mundane week in North Carolina Politics - with good news for the Green Party, an ongoing messaging battle over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and some new details in the Cambridge Analytica saga.

Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, with NC Policy Watch, discuss some of this week's stories with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Susan Roberts, political science professor at Davidson College, joins this edition of the WUNCPolitics Podcast.

Roberts teaches about the presidency and offers her thoughts on what makes Donald Trump both unique, and similar to other commanders-in-chief. She also makes a bold prediction for the next speaker of the U.S. House, and shares which team she will be rooting for.

photo of john bolton speaking at a podium
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Former President Jimmy Carter called John Bolton a “war-like” figure who has advocated for attacks against Iraq, Iran and a pre-emptive strike against North Korea. He considers Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser “a disaster for our country.”

 

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

For the first time since 2016, North Carolina has a state board of elections. The nine-member panel was seated on Wednesday.

Also this week, questions emerged about money that the 2014 Thom Tillis U.S. Senate campaign spent on Cambridge Analytica. And, a proposals for new gun regulations was rolled out by Democrats, who called the issue non-partisan.

Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, with NC Policy Watch, discuss some of this week's stories with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.

 

Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis shake hands after the debate at UNC-TV Wednesday night.
Mike Oniffrey / UNC-TV

Facebook’s stock plummeted at the news that 50 million user accounts had been breached and used to create profiles of prospective voters. Since then the company behind the breach, Cambridge Analytica, has been suspended from Facebook. The damage in North Carolina has already been done.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

The special election in Pennsylvania this week turned a reliably red district blue. Democratic candidate Conor Lamb beat Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. Is this a wake-up call for the Republican party?

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

This week in North Carolina politics, Governor Roy Cooper called on reforms to gun laws. However, it remains unclear what legislators have an appetite for.

Meanwhile, the state board of elections and ethics will soon be seated, despite a lawsuit challenging its very structure. And, a special congressional election in Pennsylvania could serve as an cautionary result for Republicans here.

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the liberal N.C. Policy Watch join WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii for a conversation about the week's news.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this week's WUNC Politics Podcast, Colin Campbell of the NC Insider sits down for a conversation about writing his weekly column, an ongoing feud over the state board of elections, and harassment protocols at the General Assembly.

He and WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii also talk beer on boats, and a little NCAA Basketball.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina state lawmakers are getting opportunities to learn more about what constitutes workplace harassment so as to prevent it within the legislative branch.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this week's episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Billy Ball, of NC Policy Watch, and Elena Schneider, of Politico, join WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii to discuss the latest political news.

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