Political news from around NC and beyond.

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

President Trump used his veto pen for the first time Friday, after Congress tried to reverse his national emergency declaration and rein in spending on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congressional critics do not appear to have the votes to override Trump's veto. So, as a practical matter, the administration can continue to spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than lawmakers authorized, unless and until the courts intervene.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The week in state politics included an appointment to the North Carolina Supreme Court, a new ranking on average teacher pay, and a surprising compromise between craft brewers and the North Carolina Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association.

Thom Tillis speaking

The Senate voted on a resolution to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration. Twelve Republican senators sided with Democrats, but North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis was not one of them, although he previously stated he would vote against the emergency declaration.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo


Changing his vote from the public stance he took last month, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis voted Thursday to support President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency to pay for his border wall.

WUNCPolitics Podcast

David Lewis is one of the most influential lawmakers at the North Carolina General Assembly. The nine-term Republican and House Rules chair from Harnett County joins the podcast to discuss a range of topics.

Rep. Lewis talks with Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest appointment to the judiciary (starting at 2:57), redistricting (13:00), learning to live with a speech impediment (30:05) and the political middle (38:37).

Executive director of the Board of Elections Kim Strach listens during the public evidentiary hearing on the 9th Congressional District investigation Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh, N.C.
Juli Leonard / The News & Observer via AP, Pool

As the state gears up for a new race in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, elections officials are pitching measures to make absentee voting in the state more trustworthy.


Raleigh's mayor says she will not run for another term. Independent Nancy McFarlane's fourth term in office expires later this year.

Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Mark Davis was appointed to the state Supreme Court on Monday afternoon, filling the void left by Cheri Beasley who was elevated to chief justice last month. She occupied the vacancy of Mark Martin, who retired abruptly to be dean at Regent Law School in Virginia.

Public Domain / Architect of the Capitol

The filing period for North Carolina's new 9th Congressional District race opens today. Candidates have until the end of the business day Friday to enter the new election.

A sample of the ballot envelope, with spaces for two witness signatures.
N.C. State Board of Elections

The last of five people charged with illegally collecting mail-in ballots in North Carolina's undecided congressional election has turned herself in.

WUNCPolitics Podcast

Joining Jeff Tiberii on the politics podcast this week are Rob Schofield of the N.C. Justice Center and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation.

N.C. General Assembly

North Carolina Democratic Party leaders are calling for the resignation of a Republican state lawmaker charged with cyberstalking related to a domestic case.

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. poses for a portrait in his office on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, in Washington
Andrew Harnik / AP

The slate of candidates seeking to succeed the late North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones Jr. is getting mighty crowded.

Gov. Roy Cooper addresses reporters on Thursday, May 10, 2018 regarding his $24.5 billion spending proposal.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Promoting what he called North Carolina's "chance for a bold future," Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday formally unveiled his budget proposal, which includes expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, borrowing for school buildings and helping revive rural communities.

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Flickr user Erik Hersman

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says a trial judge's ruling striking down North Carolina's new constitutional amendment mandating photo identification to vote "has a sound basis" in the law but ultimately will be resolved by higher courts.

Voter stickers
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

A judge will soon decide whether one of many pending lawsuits challenging North Carolina's new photo voter identification laws should go to trial.

The election timetable for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District special election.
N.C. State Board of Elections

Next week marks the start of a new round of elections in the nation's last unresolved congressional race after November's results were thrown out because of concerns about ballot tampering and state officials called for a do-over.

Executive director of the Board of Elections Kim Strach listens during the public evidentiary hearing on the 9th Congressional District investigation Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh, N.C.
Juli Leonard / The News & Observer via AP, Pool

A new election has been set for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. And the May 14 primary is likely to feature a crowded GOP field.

Democrat Dan McCready, second from right, will run again in special election for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.
McCready For Congress

North Carolina officials set a Sept. 10 date for a new election for the nation's last unresolved congressional race after the November results were thrown out over concerns of ballot tampering. Parties will hold their primaries on May 14.

Democrat Dan McCready, running for a U.S. congressional seat, visits a Lumberton shelter and thanks the nurses for their long hours on Twitter.
@McCreadyForNC Twitter post

A ballot-fraud scandal that brought down a Republican candidate and led North Carolina to order a do-over congressional election could give Democrats a strong shot at taking back a seat that has been held by the GOP since John F. Kennedy was in the White House.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Last week, McCrae Dowless was arrested for illegally possessing absentee ballots. Dowless allegedly paid people to collect mail-in ballots from voters in Bladen and Robeson counties while working as an independent contractor for GOP candidate Mark Harris's 2018 9th Congressional District bid.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

The first wave of indictments stemming from fraud in the Ninth Congressional election came down this week.

There was also the latest proposal to limit the government's ability to use eminent domain, and yet another piece of legislation that would limit use of a cell phone while driving a vehicle.

Rob Schofield  and Becki Gray discuss some of the stories from this past week, including the implications of one controversial court ruling.

Mark Harris fights back tears at the conclusion of his son John Harris's testimony during the third day of a public evidentiary hearing on the 9th Congressional District voting irregularities investigation Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.
Travis Long / The News & Observer via AP, Pool

Prosecutors have indicted Leslie McCrae Dowless, the political operative accused of harvesting absentee ballots in favor of Republican candidate Mark Harris in the 2018 midterm election. Dowless was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and illegal ballot possession related to both the 2016 and 2018 elections. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast

Mark Meadows, special congressional elections, and hands-free driving are all fair game on this week's podcast.

The testimony on Wednesday from Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer who is headed to federal prison in early May, was a potentially seminal moment in the myriad investigations into the Trump administration House Democrats are expected to launch now that they control the chamber.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

11:55 a.m.

An operative in North Carolina's unresolved congressional race has been charged with obstruction and illegal ballot possession related to 2016 and 2018 elections .

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, is testifying on Capitol Hill.

Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison, to begin in May.

He pleaded guilty last year to charges of campaign finance violations and other charges related to his work for Trump.

Travis Long / The News & Observer Pool

Three well-known Republicans are staying out of a North Carolina congressional race that had to be re-run because suspicions of ballot fraud tainted the first try, leaving lesser-known candidates to try to maintain the GOP's 50-year hold on the seat.

President Trump and Kim Jong Un provided upbeat optics at the launch of their second summit in Hanoi on Wednesday. With cameras flashing, the leaders strode before the international press corps at the luxurious Metropole Hotel, grasped hands and posed with American and North Korean flags as a backdrop.

The summit continues Thursday, when the two sides are expected to get into the nitty gritty of an agreement.

Juli Leonard / The News & Observer Pool

Republican Mark Harris has announced that he will not run in a new election in North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District. His decision comes after state election officials conducted an investigation into the Harris campaign for hiring an operative who allegedly harvested absentee ballots. At the end of a hearing last week, the State Board of Elections ordered a new election for the district's U.S. house seat.