Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

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.

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Democrats are moving quickly to try to roll back President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency to siphon billions of dollars from the military to fund construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tuesday's vote in the Democratic-controlled House comes on legislation to revoke Trump's executive order from earlier this month and would send it to the Republican-held Senate, where it would take only a handful of GOP defections to pass it.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper sits for an interview with WUNC in the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Cooper addressed the opiod crisis affecting the state.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Speaking to a legislature and electorate now more favorable to his party, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday pressed lawmakers to better fund public education, expand Medicaid and help rural North Carolina by improving broadband access and distributing more Hurricane Florence aid.

Then North Carolina NAACP president, Rev. William Barber, center at podium, gestures as he is surrounded by supporters during a news conference at the Third Street Bethel AME Church in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, June 21, 2016.
Steve Helber / AP

Republican legislative leaders have appealed a court ruling striking down new North Carolina constitutional amendments mandating photo identification to vote and lower caps on income tax rates.

Thom Tillis
www.thomtillis.com

North Carolina junior Senator Thom Tillis on Monday became the second Republican to promise a vote to block President Donald Trump's declaration of an emergency at the Mexican border.

WATCH LIVE: The State of the State

Feb 25, 2019

Watch the State of the State adress live:

A Marine Corps Honor Guard carries the casket of Congressman Walter Jones, Jr., after his funeral service at St. Peter's Catholic Church, in Greenville, N.C., on February 14, 2019.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Two more people are extending the list of Republicans wanting to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Walter Jones in an eastern North Carolina congressional district.

President Donald Trump, center, gives a thumbs up as he shows his support for congressional candidates Rep. Ted Budd, right, and Mark Harris, left, during a campaign rally in Charlotte in October.
Chuck Burton / AP

President Donald Trump is spreading tall tales about election fraud.

Asked about ballot malfeasance involving a Republican in North Carolina, the president insisted he condemns voter fraud "of any kind, whether it's Democrat or Republican" and pointed to a "million fraudulent votes" cast in California. But no such case exists.

Travis Long / The News & Observer Pool

With a new election ordered in North Carolina's disputed congressional race, a key question remains unanswered: Who could face criminal charges after a state elections board hearing exposed evidence of ballot fraud?

Among those in potential legal trouble are the central figure in the scandal, political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless, and some of those working for him. According to testimony heard by the board, they illegally gathered up voters' absentee ballots and, in some cases, filled in votes and forged signatures.

www.ncleg.net / NC General Assembly

There was plenty of dramatic testimony during an evidentiary hearing related to election fraud this week.

On this review of North Carolina politics, WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii speaks with Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of N.C. Policy Watch, about the drama stemming from the 9th Congressional race, as well as the latest proposal to establish improved political maps.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Congressman David Price returns to the podcast to discuss some of what is playing out in the political landscape.

He discussed a range of topics in front of a studio audience in Chapel Hill, on Thursday.

Price weighed in on election fraud, his late friend Walter Jones, while also answering a myriad of questions from constituents.

Mark Harris at hearings into allegations that his campaign committed election fraud.
Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is calling for a new vote in the state’s 9th Congressional District. The unanimous decision came after four days of dramatic hearings into allegations of election fraud by the campaign of Republican Mark Harris. 

AP IMAGE
Juli Leonard/The News & Observer via AP, Pool / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Updated at 4:40 p.m

There will be a new election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. The unanimous decision from the North Carolina State Board of Elections comes after four days of dramatic hearings into suspected election fraud.

Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET

After months of insisting that he knew of no illegal activity being done on behalf of his campaign, Republican Mark Harris, who leads the race for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, called Thursday for the State Board of Elections to hold a new election.

Shortly afterward, the bipartisan state board voted unanimously to redo the only congressional race left from the 2018 midterm elections that remains undecided.

Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

Updated at 4:05 p.m.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has voted unanimously in favor of a new election for the contested 9th Congressional District.

Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

The state election board's hearing into possible vote tampering in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District race featured some explosive testimony Tuesday.
 

The star witness was Andy Yates, who founded political his political consultancy, Red Dome Group, in 2013.

Republican Mark Harris hired the Charlotte-area firm in 2017 to oversee his campaign for the 9th District congressional seat.

Travis Long / The News & Observer via AP, Pool

Updated at 7:10 p.m.

The son of the Republican candidate in the 9th Congressional District testified Wednesday that he warned his father in 2017 about a political operative who his father ultimately hired for the 2018 elections. John Harris spoke during the hearing over ballot irregularities in the election between his father Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready.

In the N.C. Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning. Lawmakers were set to will consider a bill to restore the Court of Appeals to 15 judges. Republicans had reduced the bench from 15 to 12, two years ago.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Some North Carolina Republicans now want to give up on the law they approved two years ago that reduces the number of Court of Appeals judges from 15 to 12 as retirements and other vacancies arise.

Mark Harris at hearings into allegations that his campaign committed election fraud.
Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

Disarray in the administration of the country's last undecided congressional election was illustrated Tuesday when three poll workers testified some votes were counted days ahead of Election Day.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The state elections board opened its hearing Monday into alleged ballot fraud in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District race. And how it went all depends on whom you ask.

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 Republican operative, who last year rounded up votes for a GOP candidate running for Congress, conducted an illegal and well-funded ballot-harvesting operation, North Carolina's elections director said Monday.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A moment of reckoning has arrived for the newly appointed state elections board. The five-member panel begins an evidentiary hearing Monday into alleged vote tampering in North Carolina's 9th congressional district.

Wikimedia Commons

A unique figure in North Carolina politics died earlier this week.

Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, discuss the legacy of Congressman Walter Jones, who passed away at age 76 on Sunday.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Chuck McGrady sits down for a conversation about some of the notable legislation he is pursuing this year at the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Republican state representative from Henderson County has introduced a bill to establish independent redistricting, wants to change ABC regulations, and continues to have an eye on environmental issues.

McGrady also discusses his time leading a summer camp and his friendship with Congressman John Lewis.

State Lawmakers Scrutinize DMV Relocation Plan

Feb 12, 2019
Specialty license plates are becoming more common in North Carolina.
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles / N.C. Department of Transportation

Some state lawmakers worry that a plan to move the Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters from Raleigh to Rocky Mount doesn't account for the cost to relocate workers or the impact of a longer commute.

About 400 DMV workers would be impacted by the move, with many facing an average commute time of about two hours round trip.

DMV employee Nicole Hunter told members of the State House Transportation Appropriations Committee on Tuesday the move will make it hard for her to care for her grandchild and aging family members in Raleigh.

 U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., points at a photograph of Marine Sgt. Michael Edward Bits of Ventura, Calif., the first military funeral he and his wife attended,
Andrew Harnik, File / AP

North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones died Sunday, the day of his 76th birthday. Jones gained a reputation as a political maverick during more than 24 years in Washington.

Official portrait of U.S. Representative Walter Jones
U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina died this Sunday at age 76. He was the second in his family to serve in Congress and was known for voting across party lines and for crossing those lines himself. He served as a Democrat in the North Carolina General Assembly for five terms before switching to the Republican party ahead of his first run for the U.S. House. 

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

Walter Jones, a second generation North Carolina Congressman who was both a Republican and a Democrat during his time in public office, died Sunday on his 76th birthday. 

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