Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Democrats in North Carolina's State Senate have returned four lawmakers to leadership positions for the upcoming session after the GOP defended its majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

Jim Morrill started covering politics during the Reagan administration. After reporting on dozens of elections, 11 national conventions and countless elected officials, the longtime Charlotte Observer journalist is retiring.

Host Jeff Tiberii asks Morrill to reflect on his five-decade career and the state of journalism. And later, Jeff does some reflecting of his own, about his father-in-law, who died this week.


Voting signs were posted outside of White Rock Baptist Church in Durham on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

The North Carolina State Board of Elections certified the results of the November general election on Tuesday, awarding the state's 15 electoral votes to President Donald Trump.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Senior Associate Justice Paul Martin Newby
Courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch

Like it or not, Cheri Beasley's tenure as Chief Justice will be defined in large part by her response to COVID-19.

Election Day month rolls on with a recount in the North Carolina Chief Justice Supreme Court contest. A crowded field of candidates is forming for a vacant U.S. Senate seat. In our latest review of North Carolina politics, Aisha Dew and Becki Gray discuss those races, the likelihood Republicans will decriminalize marijuana, and what they're appreciative for this November.


A white man, Donald Trump, standing in front of a wooden podium. The podium has a blue sign with a red border with the words 'Trump Pence' in bold, white text. Trump is wearing a dark colored suit and a red tie with a white shirt
Gage Skidmore

The election is over, but many big questions remain for the political future of our nation. Which political party will control the U.S. Senate? Will the Democratic Party move more to the left or more to the center under a Biden administration?

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Courtesy of Josh Stein

Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein won a second four-year term after the canvassed totals showed him leading by more than 13,600 votes over Republican Jim O’Neill. The margin was outside the threshold for O’Neill to request a recount. The Associated Press called the race for Stein late Tuesday after the canvass was complete.

In the last 40 years, North Carolina has voted for a president and governor from separate parties in seven out of 11 elections. Each time the state has split the vote, North Carolinians have elected a Republican president and a Democratic governor. The 2020 election produced the same result, as thousands of people voted for President Donald Trump and Governor Roy Cooper.

On this episode of The Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with Peter Francia, political science professor and director of the ECU Center for Survey Research, about the reasons why voters might split their ticket, and the history of the phenomenon in North Carolina. Jeff also talks with one split-ticket voter about their choice to cast a ballot for Trump and Cooper.


Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Senior Associate Justice Paul Martin Newby
Courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Elections officials will recount votes in the race for North Carolina's Supreme Court chief justice. The statewide recount will begin later this week and must be completed by next Wednesday.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Senior Associate Justice Paul Martin Newby
Courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch

Candidates in North Carolina's still-undecided races for Supreme Court chief justice and attorney general on Monday awaited final official results from several counties, two of which had to adjust previous tallies due to administrative errors.

County elections boards have finalized their official vote tallies. Still, on Friday the race to be chief justice of the state Supreme Court looked almost certainly headed for a recount.  

Meanwhile, the Democratic challenger in the U.S. Senate race conceded this week. And a former Wake County Public Schools superintendent moved into a top (interim) role at the Pentagon. 

Host Jeff Tiberii, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation review those stories along with the latest grim pandemic news.


An animated picture showing a red and blue wolves circling a white lamb with DEMOCRACY in large letters above
john8322.blogspot.com

If there is one thing a majority of Americans can agree on, it is that we do not have much trust in our federal government. Congress currently boasts an 19% approval rating and presidential approval has dropped steadily for decades, according to Gallup. Despite these trends, citizens continue rallying around elections with the dream that this time will be different. But did you ever vote for the electoral system itself?

Workers at the Durham County Board of Elections process absentee ballot requests while maintaining safety during the coronavirus pandemic in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
File, Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Counties across the state are finishing up the ballot count today and will hold canvas meetings to tally final results from the 2020 General Election.

Voters walk past campaign signs at the Graham Civic Center polling location in Graham, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP Photo

North Carolina Republicans are frustrated that national media outlets haven't called the state for President Donald Trump yet in last week's election.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., celebrates with his wife Susan, at a election night rally Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Mooresville, N.C.
Chris Carlson / AP

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis has won reelection to his U.S. Senate seat, confirming that Democrats must now win both runoff races in Georgia in January if they are to seize Senate control from the GOP.

Your Election Day Vote May Not Be Showing Up Yet Online. That's Normal In NC

Nov 11, 2020
Workers at the Durham County Board of Elections process absentee ballot requests while maintaining safety during the coronavirus pandemic in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

On Election Day, North Carolina voters insert ballots into the scanners that count votes in every precinct. Voters know their votes are counted when they see their ballot disappear into the machine, and the voter tally goes up by one. 

But this year, elections administrators, legislators and news organizations around the state have received calls from concerned and often confused voters who want to make sure their votes counted.

Governor Cooper looks off-camera
NC Dept. of Public Safety

Down-ballot Democrats struggled in North Carolina’s 2020 elections. While Gov. Roy Cooper garnered a hefty lead over his challenger, Republicans furthered their control over the council of state and general assembly. While there is expected friction between Cooper and the GOP legislature over the usual issues like Medicaid expansion and public school funding, the party lines are drawn differently in the council of state.

President Trump, a white man with light orange and white hair, standing in front of a podium with a microphone. He is wearing a white shirt with a red tie and a dark suit jacket. His mouth is open
Michael Vadon

Three major broadcast news networks cut away from President Donald Trump’s press conference last week because of his on-air lies about election fraud. CBS, ABC and NBC cut away from his live stream to fact check the claims. Fox and CNN carried the entire press conference but reported afterward that the president had no evidence to back up his accusations about the election.

North Carolina Lt. Gov-elect Mark Robinson is shown at his home in Colfax, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Robinson will serve as North Carolina's first Black lieutenant governor. He hopes he can work with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and state lawmakers on v
Gerry Broome / AP

Republican Mark Robinson opposes the statewide mask mandate, doesn’t believe President Donald Trump has sowed chaos in the country and has published a barrage of divisive Facebook posts in recent years that are often critical of fellow Black people.

Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

Young voters helped contribute to record turnout for North Carolina's 2020 general elections.

For all the hundreds of millions of dollars that were spent in North Carolina during the 2020 election cycle, not all that much changed. The GOP will maintain legislative majorities, and likely again spar with a Democratic Governor. Conservatives were able to add seats on the state courts, which may benefit them when it comes time for the next round of redistricting. On this latest episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast Meredith College Political Science Professor David McLennan and Associated Press  Statehouse Reporter Gary Robertson delve into the questions of what happened - why - and what we can expect moving forward.


Chris Carlson / AP Photo

Updated at 6 p.m.

Democrat Cal Cunningham conceded to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina on Tuesday, saying “the voters have spoken” and it was clear Tillis had won.

With Cunningham’s concession, all eyes turned to Georgia, where two U.S. Senate runoff races in January are likely to determine the balance of the upper chamber.

Eight young people pose making an X with their arms, which is the North Carolina Central University Eagles hand sign.
Peyton Sickles for WUNC

Youth voters came out in record numbers in North Carolina and across the nation. By the end of early voting, North Carolinians aged 18-29 had already reached 93% of their total 2016 turn out, according to data from NextGen America. More data about the impact of youth voters in the 2020 elections is still forthcoming, but preliminary analysis by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University suggests the youth vote helped power Biden into the White House in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

NPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden will address the American people as president-elect after a win in Pennsylvania put him over the 270 electoral-vote threshold needed on Saturday.

Election Day brought little closure for our nation or our state in 2020.

There will be counts and recounts and court filings and calls to concede before all is said and done.

Guest host Will Michaels walks us through a week of the democratic process at work — and assesses some of what we do know regarding election outcomes with Becki Gray, of John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch.
 


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, joined by his wife Kristin, speaks after being declared winner over Republican Dan Forest in the governor's race in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP

North Carolina’s first lady has apologized after a screenshot of her saying she "flipped off" supporters of President Donald Trump during a rally in the state was circulated on social media.

Voting signs were posted outside of White Rock Baptist Church in Durham on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

In addition to outstanding mail-in ballots, election officials in North Carolina have another pool of votes to work through.

NCSBE

Over 5 million North Carolinians cast ballots in this year’s election, many of them opting for mail-in and early onsite voting. While there is still a lot we do not know about voter demographics, we do know that the pandemic did not deter voter engagement. 

Marchers made their way across downtown Durham on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 calling for all votes from Tuesday's election to be counted.
Jay Price / WUNC

As North Carolinians await final results in key political battles in an unprecedented election year, state officials say it's business as usual.

Jim O' Neill is challenging incumbent Josh Stein for the post of North Carolina Attorney General. As of Thursday morning, the race was still too close to call.
Campaign Photos

The Republican challenger in the race for North Carolina’s Attorney General – Jim O’Neill – says he's filed a complaint against Democratic incumbent Josh Stein over a campaign advertisement.

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