Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.


Joe Biden was sworn in as the nation's 46th president on Wednesday, as Kamala Harris became the first female, Black and Asian vice president.

In our weekly review of political news, Aisha Dew and  Clark Riemer discuss the moment, potential policy pitfalls for the Democrats, and how Republicans should proceed.


Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are being sworn in Wednesday as the president and vice president of the United States.

Richard Burr
Graeme Jennings / Pool Photo via AP

Sen. Richard Burr said Tuesday that the Justice Department has told him it will not prosecute him over stock sales made during the coronavirus pandemic, ending an insider trading investigation that led him to at least temporarily step aside from a powerful committee chairmanship last year.

Erin Keever / WFAE

The 2020 election was like no other — the first in modern memory during a deadly pandemic. Election officials had to prepare for record-breaking turnout and adjust for social distancing and changes in how people would cast their ballot.

Donald Trump was a divisive president, however his popularity persisted in North Carolina. Enthusiasm over the unconventional leader helped Republicans drum up a win in 2020.

Now with Trump gone from office, conservatives are navigating how to proceed. A collection of Republican voices weighs in. 



Congress held an unprecedented impeachment vote this week, following the president’s role in the January 6th act of domestic terrorism on the U.S. Capitol.

Rob Schofield of the progressive N.C. Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation discuss Trump’s second impeachment, and whether unity is really in the political forecast. Later, they review North Carolina's vaccination rollout.

 


A photo
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

As partisan rancor flared in Washington during congressional debate over the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, state lawmakers in Raleigh sounded a note of cooperation at the start of this year's North Carolina General Assembly session.

As state lawmakers begin a new legislative session Wednesday, a top House Republican says it's up to Gov. Roy Cooper and his fellow Democrats whether there will be a negotiated two-year budget plan or more stalemate. WUNC's talks with NC House Majority Leader Rep. John Bell.


North Carolina lawmakers start a new legislative session on Wednesday. In a one-on-one conversation with WUNC's Rusty Jacobs, the incoming Democratic leader of the state house, Rep. Robert Reives, says he believes mob violence by Trump supporters on Capitol Hill last week could actually lead to more civility in Raleigh.
 


Rep. John Bell (R-District 10) is the Majority Leader of the North Carolina House. Rep. Robert Reives (D-District 54) is the new Minority Leader for the 2021-22 session.
Campaign Photos

North Carolina lawmakers start a new legislative session this week at a time when partisanship and bitterness nationwide have reached a peak.

The only successful political insurrection in American history took place in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898. On this episode of the podcast Duke professor Deondra Rose discusses that little-known dark chapter in U.S. history, and how it might help us understand the events of last week.


Liam James Doyle / NPR

The U.S. House of Representatives is taking up a resolution that would call on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and take over President Trump's duties. The effort comes as the House is also pursuing a second impeachment against the president over the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Watch the House proceedings live. 

You can also listen to NPR's live special coverage on WUNC radio starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Credit Courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch

Updated at 5:20 p.m.

The hiring of a new top administrator of North Carolina's court system is one of several significant personnel changes in a shake-up atop the state Judicial Branch since Chief Justice Paul Newby was sworn in this month.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

A recently defeated state legislator and a small-town mayor were formally appointed on Monday to fill vacancies at the North Carolina General Assembly just before the new session convenes this week.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper takes the oath of office to be sworn in for his second term on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. The ceremony had limited in-person attendance due to COVID-19.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Starting his second term, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Saturday called on residents to learn from the state's recent triumphs and trials and to commit to shared goals for education, health care and racial equality, and to "cherish our democracy."

It was an extraordinary week in American history. After a failed insurrection on Capitol Hill, Congress certified the election of Joe Biden over Donald Trump. In our weekly political roundup, Clark Riemer and Aisha Dew discuss.

  

As the events of January 6 unfolded in Washington, D.C, Western North Carolina’s newly-elected congressman, Hendersonville Republican Madison Cawthorn, hadn’t even been on the job for three full days.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

Updated at 8:15 p.m.

In a Tweet issued Wednesday afternoon, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called for President Donald Trump to either step down or be removed from office. The Tweet was personally signed, indicating that it came directly from Cooper and not a member of his staff. 

Biden transition graphic NPR
Caroline Amenabar / NPR

President-elect Joe Biden is formally introducing his nominee for attorney general, Merrick Garland, Thursday afternoon.

U.S. House of Representatives

Updated at 11:45 a.m.

All but one of North Carolina's Republican delegates to the U.S. House had said publicly that they planned to object to electoral college votes before the chaos that interrupted the certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory Wednesday.

U.S. House of Representatives

Members of Congress are formally counting the Electoral College votes from the 2020 Presidental Election on Wednesday.

Georgians are voting in two Senate runoff elections on Tuesday. Incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue face Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The races were too close to call in November and now their outcome determines the balance of power in the Senate. Follow the results live below.

Democratic U.S. House Representative Deborah Ross was sworn into the 117th Congress on Sunday. Ross now serves a redrawn Wake County district, and is optimistic about politics in 2021. On this episode she talks about crucial Senate runoffs in Georgia, and shares how many GOP colleagues she has cell phone numbers for.

  

Updated 11:30 a.m. Jan. 5

The U.S. House and Senate are scheduled to vote Wednesday on certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. It will be a test for North Carolina Republicans, some of whom plan to challenge the Electoral College votes.

The state’s two senators — both Republicans — appear to support the certification of the election results.

2020 was an exhausting year for North Carolinians, and in the world of news and politics.

Host Jeff Tiberii, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation review some of big stories from the past year, and turn their attention to 2021. Will it be more of the same, or different?


Darren Jackson has served two terms as the House Minority Leader and has been practicing law for 24 years.
NC General Assembly

A top Democrat in the North Carolina House of Representatives has been appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals by Gov. Roy Cooper.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported Wednesday that Darren Jackson will resign his seat. Jackson has served as House Minority Leader and represents parts of Wake County.

Marc Basnight
Laura Leslie

Former state Senator Marc Basnight, an Outer Banks Democrat who became one of North Carolina's most powerful leaders while serving a record 18 years as Senate leader, died on Monday, a family spokesperson said. He was 73.

Basnight, who had been ill for years with what was later diagnosed as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, died on Monday afternoon at his Manteo home, according to Amy Fulk, who served as Basnight's chief of staff while he had the chamber's top job.


It was unprecedented, exhausting, unrelenting and — to at least one local reporter — bananas. The 2020 calendar will be remembered for a pandemic, racial reckoning and a once-in-a-generation election. On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, journalists reflect on what they will remember most from this wild year.



Several elected officials from North Carolina are in the mix for positions within President-elect Joe Biden's administration. State Environmental Secretary Michael Regan, for one, has been tapped to lead the EPA.

Aisha Dew and Clark Riemer discuss the developments in our weekly review of state politics. They also share who makes their naughty and nice lists for 2020.


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

North Carolina's final outstanding November election was resolved Friday when state officials certified results showing that Paul Newby received the most votes for Supreme Court chief justice.

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