Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

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.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Democratic state lawmaker Duane Hall (D-Wake) has no plans to step down from his elected post, despite calls from some powerful members of his party. Hall has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, but disputes the allegations and the story, which was published by NC Policy Watch.

The Asheville Police Department badge.
Courtesy of APD

North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake) was met with harsh criticism from other Democratic lawmakers, including Gov. Roy Cooper, when he refused to step down amid claims of sexual harassment by multiple women.

A picture of people in voting booths
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr Creative Commons

Last November, some voters in the small Eastern North Carolina town of Sharpsburg showed up to the polls but were unable to cast ballots. Due to a technical error, the Wilson County Board of Elections only printed 12 ballots for their precinct, even though that precinct has over 200 eligible voters. The mayoral race was decided by three votes, and the man who lost has since successfully challenged the results in court.

photo of a gun and ammunition
Wikimedia Commons

Since the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump says teachers should be armed. Last week North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson polled teachers around the state about the matter.

photo of Rep. Duane Hall
NC Legislature

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A state lawmaker accused of sexual harassment says he will not resign from his seat, despite calls from leading members of his party to step down.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

The filing period for legislative and congressional candidates concluded this week and every race will be contested in 2018.

photo of Donald Trump, speaking and gesturing
Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Two of the nation’s largest gun sellers announced they will take steps to curb firearm sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods says it will stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, and they’ll also require those buying guns to be over 21, whether it’s required by local laws or not. Walmart will no longer sell guns to people under the age of 21, and they’ll stop selling items that resemble assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns. 

photo of Rep. Duane Hall
NC Legislature

Democratic leaders in Raleigh are calling for one of their own to step down. According to reporting from left-leaning publication NC Policy Watch, five women say North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake) engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct. Hall denies the allegations, But Governor Cooper and other Democratic leaders say he must resign from his post.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

The candidate filing period has concluded in North Carolina and there are hundreds of competitors for congressional, legislative and judicial races.

Jonathan Kappler, Executive Director of the NC Free Enterprise Foundation, sits down to talk about some of the candidates running for office, which districts he expects to be the most competitive, and what issues may swing voters in this mid-term election cycle.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

For the first time ever, all 170 races for the North Carolina General Assembly will have candidates from both major parties.

Donald van der Vaart
DENR

Donald van der Vaart was North Carolina’s top environmental official under former Gov. Pat McCrory.  When Gov. Roy Cooper took office, Van der Vaart demoted himself and was later placed on suspension after writing a controversial opinion piece in an environmental law journal. However, he recently reemerged as a candidate for President Trump's Council on Environmental Quality.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

With candidates filing to run for state legislative seats, another lawsuit was filed this week, challenging a few of the political boundaries.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, join WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii to discuss this latest redistricting challenge, as well as what firearm, or school safety policy changes, may be feasible in the wake of a school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead. They also discuss the influence of famed Evangelist Billy Graham, who died this week at the age of 99.

Amanda Magnus

When Juana Ortega walked into St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro last Spring, she was seeking sanctuary from deportation. But she may have also inspired a movement.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The White House has shifted stories multiple times this week regarding the timeline of spousal abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. That shifting timeline has impacted the credibility of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and spurred rumors of his firing.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

There was another mass shooting in the United States this week. That means another round of emotional reactions, social media sparring and carefully delivered messages by elected officials. If recent shootings serve as any example, it's also likely that no legislative action will follow.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

State legislators have departed for an extended break, but unsurprisingly, the partisan spats are not quieting down.

This week in North Carolina politics saw disputes over the constitutionality and possible ethical issue stemming from a $57.8 million mitigation fund related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State legislators have adjourned until May after voting to fix a long-standing issue over mandated class sizes, while delaying further action on the GenX water contamination issue.

Photo of Donald Trump at a microphone
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost half of North Carolinians are satisfied with how things are going in the state, and there is a large political divide when it comes to how voters in the state perceive the new tax law.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

It was a hectic week in downtown Raleigh, where lawmakers sparred with Governor Roy Cooper, debated the components of a multifaceted bill, and closed in on the 2018 election, which begins Monday with candidate filings.

Lauren Horsch, a reporter with the NC Insider, reviews the week with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii and notes her favorite winter Olympic sport.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a class size bill, and North Carolina’s redistricting saga are among the issues in the news this week in state politics. Also, how open is North Carolina state’s  government and how accessible is it for journalists and the public to access what happens at the General Assembly?

Photo of the NC state senate chambers
Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked new voting maps for Wake and Mecklenburg counties. The districts are in the state’s two most populous counties, and the decision comes just days before candidates are set to start filing for office.

Mickey Michaux
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Democratic Rep. Mickey Michaux, currently North Carolina's longest-serving state legislator and a fixture at the General Assembly in the fight for voting rights and funding historically black colleges, said Thursday he won't seek re-election.

Cedar Fork Elementary in Wake County would have to add three more kindergarten classrooms under the class-size change scheduled to go into effect in the fall.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Updated 3:15 p.m. Feb. 9, 2018

Republican legislation to phase in North Carolina's upcoming class-size mandate has passed one General Assembly chamber. Democrats complained it is loaded with other provisions targeting Gov. Roy Cooper and the state elections board.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The North Carolina General Assembly signaled action later this week on environment, education and possibly elections administration legislation, ending a nearly monthlong hiatus as lawmakers returned to Raleigh.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Significant court rulings, the latest round of campaign finance reports and policies that might help combat the opioid epidemic were among the political topics that received attention this week.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, join WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about these and other topics in the week's political news.

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