Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

Louis DeJoy, depending on whom you talk to, is either a Republican political operative beholden to President Trump, or a savvy businessman who's the right person to fix what's broken at the U.S. Postal Service. When senators question him this week, they will want to know which narrative is closer to the truth — and whether he is suited to head the service at this time.

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

Few people, if anyone, track voting data in North Carolina more closely than Michael Bitzer. The Catawba College political scientist posts near daily upates on his Old North State Politics blog, crunching the latest numbers from elections officials across the state. And Bitzer's steady stream of tweets make something very clear: 2020 is shaping up to be very different from previous presidential election years.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden taking a selfie with supporters during a campaign rally in Durham's historically-black Hillside High School on Sunday, October 27, 2019.
Peyton Sickles / For WUNC

Joe Biden is formally accepting the Democratic Party's nomination for president on Thursday. NPR reporters are providing live analysis of his remarks.

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State Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) talks with reporters after a session of the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

North Carolina state Rep. David Lewis was accused Thursday of federal bank fraud and tax violations stemming from a scheme to transfer money from his campaign committee to help his ailing farm, according to documents.

Ebony West
Courtesy of Ebony West

The all-virtual Democratic National Convention ends tonight with a speech from the party's presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

This week, Democratic delegates from across the country, including North Carolina, have joined the convention mostly from their homes.

Follow live updates and analysis of the Democratic National Convention. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is speaking Thursday night.

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Mecklenburg County Elections Director Michael Dickerson demonstrates a new touch-screen voting unit.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Touch-screen ballot-marking machines will remain in use in North Carolina this fall, a judge ruled in a case in which voters questioned the equipment's accuracy and health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An undated file photo provided by Robert Brown Public Relations of Greg Lindberg.
Robert Brown Public Relations/Greg Lindberg / via AP

A major political donor convicted of attempting to bribe a North Carolina elected official to secure preferential regulatory treatment for his insurance business was sentenced Wednesday to more than seven years in prison.

Follow live updates and analysis of the Democratic National Convention. Wednesday's speakers include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama.

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Incumbent Republican State Rep. Stephen M. Ross stands outside the Alamance County Republican Headquarters in Burlington on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. Ross is up for reelection for North Carolina's House District 63, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

While races for the White House and North Carolina Executive Mansion headline the many political contests of 2020, there is perhaps no greater prize up for grabs than power of state legislatures. In addition to weighing-in on Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Roy Cooper or Dan Forest, North Carolina voters will also determine who gets authority over the next round of redistricting.

Follow live updates and analysis of the Democratic National Convention. Tuesday's speakers include New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former President Bill Clinton.

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Updated 7:50 p.m. ET

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has announced he will suspend the controversial changes he instituted to the U.S. Postal Service until after the November election.

"To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded," DeJoy said in a statement.

Republican nominee candidate for NC Congressional District 11 Madison Cawthorn is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct.  BPR spoke with Cawthorn at a law enforcement rally over the weekend:

Follow live updates and analysis of the Democratic National Convention. Monday's speakers include Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former first lady Michelle Obama.

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This week: American political history was made as Joe Biden introduced U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the presidential race. Her presence on the ticket might impact voter turnout in North Carolina. Then again, it might not.

Meanwhile, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest dropped a lawsuit against his gubernatorial opponent, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, plus: what Postmaster General Louis DeJoy means for 2020, and signs of relief for North Carolinians who are still out of work.


Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper (left) will face Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (right) in the November general election.
Ben McKeown for WUNC / AP

North Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest ended a testy legal battle with campaign rival and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday after a judge recently rejected Forest's demand to block Cooper from shuttering businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madison Cawthorn for Congress

A young Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina says suggestions from his rival and others that he has an affinity for white supremacist causes are ridiculous and based on a lack of historical knowledge.

The 2020 Census is beset with challenges. COVID-19 led to cuts in outreach and information campaigns, as well as pushed back the process of door-to-door census-taker visits. As a result, North Carolina and several other states across the country are set for historic lows in population reporting. 

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper won another legal victory defending his COVID-19 executive orders on Tuesday, this time when a judge rejected Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's demand that they be blocked by declaring his lawsuit is unlikely to succeed.

Jim Hunt was first elected Governor of North Carolina in 1976 when he was just 39 years old. He served four terms in the Executive Mansion, spanning four different decades. 

During his time in office, Hunt remained a steadfast supporter of public schools and prioritized education policy. In 1984, Hunt also set his sights on the U.S. Senate, and lost a bitter race to longtime Senator Jesse Helms.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, Hunt discusses his legacy as a governor, recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and a time he hitchhiked to the Midwest.


 

Delegates at the scaled-back Republican National Convention later this month in Charlotte, N.C., must wear masks, and the GOP plans to track everyone's movements with badges equipped with Bluetooth technology.

The special badges will allow officials to find out whom they came in contact with if someone later gets sick from the coronavirus, said Jeffrey Runge, the convention's health consultant.

That will make contact tracing easier, he said.

This week:  Governor Cooper criticizes President Trump and Lt. Governor Forest over their pandemic responses. And close to 150,000 voters have requested absentee ballots for the November election. This week a federal judge ruled that a witness requirement will remain in place, however, voters will have a chance to correct administrative errors on their ballots. Becki Gray and Rob Schofield discuss Cooper's criticisms, the latest in mail-in balloting, as well as a troubling video released by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department. 


Flickr/Phil Roeder

What insight do the polls hold less than 90 days away from the November elections? North Carolina has remained a bright purple target in the Electoral College and has received increased attention from presidential candidates in the 21st century. Former Vice President Joe Biden currently holds the lead in the Old North State, with four percentage points over President Donald Trump in a CBS Battleground Tracker Poll published on Aug. 2.

There are 435 elections this fall in the United State for the House of Representatives.  North Carolina’s 11th district will be unique in at least one way – candidates will be talking about reparations.  That’s because Asheville city council voted earlier this month to start the process for reparations to the city’s Black community.

This week:  North Carolina played host to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Meanwhile, David Lewis, a powerful state legislator, will not be on the ballot, as previously expected. And with the State Fair canceled for the first time since the second World War, Becki Gray and Rob Schofield ponder whether college athletics can realistically take place this fall. 

The last time redistricting was at stake, in 2010, Republicans flipped 20 state legislative chambers from blue to red nationwide, including both houses in North Carolina. They seized control of mapmaking after the census.

This time, Democrats are mobilizing.

The chief judge for the Enka/Candler Library polling place in Buncombe County, Beth Aldecoa, works during the June 23 Republican runoff election in the 11th Congressional District.
Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

The dynamics of the global pandemic are driving up the need for more poll workers while simultaneously making people willing to work the polls harder to find.

Anthony Jackson has been an educator for more than 30 years, but there's never been a school year that’s begun like this one.

Jackson is the superintendent of Vance County Schools, and like many other districts across North Carolina, his decided to start the upcoming semester with all-remote instruction. 

On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, Jackson discusses the state of education in his rural district, whether there will be a "COVID-19 slide" for students, and how he stays centered during this unprecedented time.


Absentee voter ballot envelope
Flickr / Nadya Peek

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many North Carolina voters are choosing to cast their ballot via mail. Over 90,000 North Carolinians have requested a mail-in absentee ballot so far, nearly five times as many requests as this time in 2016. 

This week in state politics: The effects of the pandemic continue to be felt in wide and various ways. From touchscreen voting machines to an annual bar exam, there are questions about risk and necessity.

In their weekly review of state politics, Becki Gray and Rob Schofield discuss remote learning, elections preparations, and President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back plans for the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.

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