Rusty Jacobs

Political Reporter

Rusty Jacobs is a politics reporter for WUNC. Rusty previously worked at WUNC as a reporter and substitute host from 2001 until 2007 and now returns after a nine-year absence during which he went to law school at Carolina and then worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Wake County.

As a reporter, he has covered a wide array of topics including military affairs, sports, government and damaging storms.

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Even as the number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina climbs – and local governments begin issuing stay-at-home orders to contain further spread of the pathogen – evictions continue in some counties.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS / CDC

U.S. Rep. Mark Walker hosted a call-in town hall Tuesday evening for people to pose questions about the spread of coronavirus. The North Carolina Republican praised the work Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and his administration have done confronting the outbreak.

Downtown Raleigh
Mark Turner / Wikipedia

Public health concerns over COVID-19 could mean reduced customer traffic for small businesses in North Carolina cities and towns. Economic development boosters are trying to help.

Credit: Raleigh Police Department

The Raleigh Police Department released body camera footage on Wednesday evening of an officer’s non-fatal shooting of Javier Torres. A judge authorized the release of the body and dash camera footage of the incident earlier on Wednesday.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A Raleigh police officer's shooting of a man near a strip mall off New Bern Avenue earlier this week sparked angry protests and rampant rumors in a city that has grappled with community-law enforcement tensions.

A map of North Carolina showing which counties went for former Vice President Joe Biden and which went for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
North Carolina State Board of Elections

Super Tuesday narrowed the Democratic presidential field to a race between two men: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The majority of Democratic North Carolinians cast their ballots for Biden, giving him the state and adding fuel to his comeback after a landslide win in the South Carolina primary. And today former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Biden.

Father and son, Allen and Joshua Crockett, celebrating primary night at the state GOP HQ, in Raleigh. Joshua cast his first vote today.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

  The mood was triumphant on primary night at the Republican Party headquarters in Raleigh. U.S. Senator Thom Tillis won his GOP primary and will run for re-election against Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.

In North Carolina's 2016 primaries, about a third of voters cast ballots early, with the remaining two-thirds turning out on election day.

"If that pattern holds, we could be talking about a million registered voters participating on Tuesday.  That would be pretty substantial," said Michael Bitzer, professor of political science at Catawba College, noting that North Carolinians cast just under 800,000 early votes by absentee ballot and at one-stop polling sites this year. There are more than 6.9 million registered voters in the state.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper is running for re-election this year and, with more than $8 million raised and a little known challenger who has raised just over $1,500, he is highly likely to win his Democratic primary. The more significant contest is on the GOP side, between Lt. Gov. Dan Forest or State Rep. Holly Grange.

Rusty Jacobs, WUNC.

Not too long ago, a Democratic primary in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District was little more than an exercise in futility: picking a candidate to run a losing campaign against an entrenched Republican incumbent.

After three days of one-stop, early voting, which started on Thursday, the number of accepted ballots cast in Democratic primaries is 44,189, over 13,000 more than the 30,539 Republican primary ballots. 

In this image from video, presiding officer Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts listens during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30 2020.
Senate Television via AP

The battle over whether to call for additional witnesses in President Trump's impeachment trial is expected to come to a head today with all indications rank-and-file GOP senators – excluding, perhaps, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – will stick with their party and vote no.

Four Republicans would need to join all Democrats for the simple majority needed to approve the appearance of witnesses such as ex-Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton.

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

Michael Dickerson’s voice rippled with the excitement of someone showing off a new sports car.

"This screen will now come up with every ballot, every precinct, every ballot style on it, and I can tap that screen and that gives that person that ballot," he said, his voice trailing off to a hush full of wonderment.

Rusty Jacobs, WUNC.

State lawmakers adjourned today without taking up a vote on overriding Governor Roy Cooper's budget veto. 

Updated on 12/27/19: A federal court is expected to issue an order next week to block a new North Carolina voter ID law from going into effect for the  primary elections in March. The law requires voters to show a photo ID to cast a ballot. A full trial is still needed to determine if the law should be permanently struck down.

State and county elections officials have been scrambling to educate voters as well as poll workers about the new photo ID law going into effect for 2020. A 12-page informational mailer put together by the North Carolina State Board of Elections will be printed and sent out to the more than four million households across the state.

Michael Dickerson, director of elections for Mecklenburg County, demonstrating a voting machine.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

With the March 3rd primaries just around the corner, the state elections board has OK'd upgrades to a newly approved voting system, allowing the vendor to bypass a lengthier certification process. 

Portrait of George Holding
Courtesy of George Holding

North Carolina's newly redrawn congressional map has convinced at least one Republican incumbent not to run for reelection next year. U.S. Rep. George Holding issued a statement today acknowledging that changes to the 2nd Congressional District factored into his decision not to seek another term in 2020.

Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

A state court has given the green light to open candidate filing for North Carolina's 2020 congressional elections. The judicial panel ruled Monday that the importance of holding the state's March 3 congressional primaries on time was more pressing than the need to resolve lingering legal questions about North Carolina's new congressional map.

Matt Couch / WUNC

The Confederate statue known as Silent Sam will never again stand on a UNC campus, according to a consent order handed down today by a state court.

Wikimedia Commons

A host of new state laws take effect December 1, including a number of criminal justice measures.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

An investigation launched by the Republican-controlled General Assembly has concluded that Gov. Roy Cooper improperly handled negotiations over a $57.8 million fund related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The North Carolina Senate could vote Friday on newly redrawn congressional district lines to replace the current electoral map. A Republican majority pushed the map through the House on Thursday, hoping to avoid postponing North Carolina's Super Tuesday primaries in March.

A breakdown of North Carolina's Congressional delegation through the years
UNC Library / Jason deBruyn

A joint legislative committee finished up its work Wednesday on redrawing North Carolina's 13 congressional district boundaries, producing more than a dozen possible replacements. Now,the redistricting process must move through the house and senate with candidate filing for 2020 less than three weeks away.

State lawmakers will be back in Raleigh Tuesday to continue work on redrawing North Carolina's 13 congressional district boundaries. A joint house-senate redistricting committee is acting on a state court's urging that lawmakers fix what the judges indicated was a map gerrymandered with excessive partisan bias.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks to a capacity crowd of more than 3500 people at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

A top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination made a campaign stop in Raleigh last night.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren energized a capacity crowd at Broughton High School with an unabashedly populist message.

In this July 26, 2017 photo, a member of the gallery tries to display her sign while lawmakers convene during a joint select committee meeting on redistricting in Raleigh, N.C.
Gerry Broome / AP

Updated at 4:10 p.m.

North Carolina legislators have started the process of redrawing the state's current congressional map after state judges last week blocked its use because they said there was evidence of likely excessive partisan bias in those districts. A House-Senate committee held its first meeting on Tuesday.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A bill awaiting the governor's signature or veto aims to rid North Carolina voter rolls of non-U.S. citizens. But critics see it as a blatant attempt at voter suppression targeting a minority community.

Kay Hagan
Gerry Broome / AP

Updated at 9:11 p.m.

Kay Hagan, a former bank executive who rose from a budget writer in the North Carolina Legislature to a seat in the U.S. Senate, died Monday. She was 66.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A Wake County Superior Court panel will decide whether to block the use of North Carolina's current congressional district maps in next year's elections, with candidate filing for the 2020 contests just around the corner.

The North Carolina Legislative Building
Dave Crosby / flickr

State lawmakers will look at proposals for reforming the way political boundaries are drawn for North Carolina elections. Sponsors of three bills will address the House  Redistricting Committee Thursday just as a state court takes up a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's current congressional maps.

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