Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

A photo of a sign saying 'Vote' with an arrow on a pole.
hjl // Flickr

While going to the ballot box on Election Day is an important ritual for many voters, the coronavirus pandemic has introduced a change in routine. As of Tuesday, Sept. 28, the North Carolina State Board of Elections has received more than a million absentee ballot requests. At this time in 2016, the Board of Elections had received just over 100,000. While some voters hope to stay healthy by avoiding the polls, mail-in voting still presents some anxiety and uncertainty, especially for historically disenfranchised voters like African Americans and Latinos.

Follow NPR's live coverage of the first 2020 presidential election debate, including fact-checking and analysis.

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are in Cleveland for the event, moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News.

The debate is expected to begin at 9 p.m.

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Oxford, NC, the seat of Granville County
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

On a late afternoon in Granville County, Linda Smart took a stroll around beautiful Lake Rogers Park with her husband, Henry, and a friend.

"We're hikers and kayakers and stuff, so we're usually at parks," said Smart, 65.

The Smarts recently moved north from Durham to Granville to find a little more wide open space.

President Donald Trump speaks on stage during the first day of the Republican National Committee convention, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte.
Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump's campaign committee and the Republican National Committee sued Saturday to block North Carolina election officials from enforcing rule changes that could boost the number of ballots counted in the presidential battleground state.

Pro-Trump caravan participants drive past counter-protesters holding 'Black Lives Matter' signs in downtown Hillsborough on Sat., Sept., 26, 2020.
Mitchell Northam / WUNC

The Orange County Republican Party hosted a 'Trump Train' Saturday to show support for President Donald Trump and other North Carolina Republicans on the ballot this November. The caravan began in Hillsborough and made its way to Mebane, before looping back to the organization’s headquarters in Hillsborough.

Noah Fortson / NPR

President Trump is announcing his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18.

Watch the announcement live starting at 5 p.m.

Board of Elections absentee north carolina vote
Gerry Broome / AP

Ken Raymond and David Black suddenly resigned from the North Carolina State Board of Elections late Wednesday claiming they were misled about a proposed settlement of lawsuits over absentee voting rules. It was an abrupt turnaround from the unanimous vote the two members joined just days earlier in a closed session of the elections board.

Board of Elections absentee north carolina vote
Gerry Broome / AP

It didn't take long for a GOP candidate to exploit the resignations of the two Republican members of North Carolina's State Board of Elections.

Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Updated at 6:55 p.m.

More than three-and-a-half years into his presidency and 40 days from an election, President Donald Trump on Thursday launched what aides termed a “vision” for health care heavy on unfulfilled aspirations.

Boxes of absentee ballot requests sit at the Durham County Board of Elections office in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

The two Republican members of North Carolina's state elections board have resigned after signing off on a legal settlement to alter absentee ballot rules for this fall.

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first campaign appearance in North Carolina Wednesday since the primaries when he spoke in Charlotte at Camp North End in what his team said was a Black Economic Summit.

Biden talked about ways for African Americans to grow their household wealth.

He touched on expansion of the Affordable Care Act, increasing homeownership and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

North Carolina has 13 congressional districts, though only one race is likely to be particularly close this fall. After a judicial panel determined the old map illegally favored Republicans and the boundaries were redrawn last year, the 8th District is now a competitive outlier.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with Chris Cronin, political science professor at Methodist University, about the impact voters in Fayetteville could have on the outcome in the 8th District race. And we hear from Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the Democratic nominee challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Richard Hudson.
 


Gerry Broome / AP

Republican U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham squared off Tuesday night in the second of their three debates, and questions about the potential successor to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hung heavy over the debate.

Seal of the North Carolina Judicial Branch
The North Carolina Judicial Branch

Races for executive and legislative positions in North Carolina are in full swing — but what about the third branch of government? There are 190 judicial seats up for election this year, most notably three seats on the North Carolina Supreme Court. 

Ronnie Chatterji, smiling
NC Department of Transportation

Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji is a first-time political candidate, running as a Democrat for the position of North Carolina Treasurer. He knows it is a challenge, facing off against an incumbent. And he knows a win would be unprecedented: If elected, he would become the first Indian American elected to statewide office in North Carolina. 

This year, North Carolina voters will make crucial decisions at the polls that could impact state politics and laws for at least the next decade.

In addition to casting their ballot in the race for the White House, North Carolinians will also vote in statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate, the state attorney general, the state supreme court, and U.S. House races.

A screenshot from an ad by Everytown for Gun Safety.
Everytown for Gun Safety / YouTube

Gun regulation advocates hope to flip the U.S. Senate this November. But they want to influence local elections in North Carolina, too.

To win, they're targeting suburban women with a new campaign.

This week:  Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham had their first debate. The Democrat's answer to a hypothetical question about the COVID-19 vaccine caught some attention. 

On the reopening front, Gov. Roy Cooper announced elementary schools could welcome back all their students soon — as long as they wear masks and practice social distancing. Meanwhile Cooper's opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, said face covering requirements would be dropped come January if he were to win the governor's race.

Offering insight and making their debut as our commentators are Aisha Dew of Higher Heights and Clark Riemer, former chair of the North Carolina Young Republicans and a staffer in the state House.
 


Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Like many Americans, Ricky Hurtado had plans for his summer.

He formally launched his first bid for public office in March and expected to spend sweltering days knocking on doors, clenching glossy campaign literature and making his case directly to voters. This summer, he was going to prove that a 31-year-old son of Salvadoran immigrants could give Latinos a say — even in North Carolina, even in part of Donald Trump’s America.

Tiffany Tertipes / Creative Commons/ Unsplash

More than a tenth of registered voters in North Carolina have requested absentee ballots this year — significantly higher than in previous elections.

A semi-truck bearing the logo of XPO Logistics
Raymond Clarke

Campaign finance records show suspicious donation patterns from former employees at New Breed Logistics. Several former employees at the High Point-based company described an illegal donation scheme — workers’ political donations to specific candidates would be compensated with bonuses from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the chief executive of New Breed at the time. 

Louis DeJoy
USPS

United States Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has long been a political fundraiser in North Carolina. He’s amassed millions for Republican candidates in races for governor, Congress and president. Now that fundraising has come under scrutiny for possibly violating campaign finance law while the postmaster was CEO of New Breed Logistics.

When Lanisha Jones went to vote in the 2016 election, she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong. She thought she was simply exercising her right to vote. But in 2019, the district attorney in Hoke County charged her with voting illegally because at the time she was still on probation from a felony conviction.

Since then, Jones has been fighting the charges, and says she was unfairly targeted for committing a crime she didn't know was a crime when she voted.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberri joins colleague Leoneda Inge, co-host of WUNC’s podcast Tested, to talk with Jones about the charges, and how her experience fits into a larger story of disenfranchisement in North Carolina.
 


Incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham faced off last night in the first of three televised debates. This race is one of the most closely watched in the country as it is considered a true toss up. 

The North Carolina Council of State is one of two collective bodies that make up the state’s executive branch. It consists of 10 elected positions, including the governor, lieutenant governor and offices overseeing labor, agriculture, the treasury, insurance, education and more. Do you know what each of the 10 positions does or how the Council of State differs from the North Carolina Cabinet? 

Merigrace Ramsey / WRAL

Republican Senator Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham sparred over the pandemic, systemic racism and each other’s records Monday night during a socially distanced debate.

Thom Tillis Cal Cunningham U.S. Senate
Campaign Photos

Follow live updates of the first televised debate between North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.

Watch live here starting at 7 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham hasn’t campaigned in person since the first stay-at-home order was issued in March.

Thom Tillis Cal Cunningham U.S. Senate
Campaign Photos

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham are meeting for their first televised debate in a campaign whose outcome could determine which party controls the Senate.

This week: A Washington Post story alleged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy cajoled GOP campaign donations from employees of the logistics business he ran in Greensboro. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation consider whether the latest controversy surrounding DeJoy will affect Republican candidates in North Carolina this year.

Also, census watchers are sounding the alarm to Congress about a potential undercount in the state, and the major party candidates for U.S. Senate have their first debate next week. 


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