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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A sample ballot for the 2018 midterm elections
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

State Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill to re-constitute the state elections and ethics boards, again.

After Democrat Roy Cooper won the governor's race in 2017, the General Assembly's GOP leadership changed the law to combine the elections and ethics boards and assume more control over appointing members.

File photo of NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

The North Carolina Republican Party's executive director has seen enough to warrant a new election in the 9th Congressional District.

Madeline Moore throws snowballs Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Greensboro, N.C.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

Updated 12:25 p.m. | Dec. 10, 2018

North Carolina has seen a year's worth of snow in little more than a day, according to Governor Roy Cooper.

File photo of NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

State GOP Chair Dallas Woodhouse said he wants the state elections board to fully lay out the facts in its investigation of North Carolina's 9th Congressional District race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready.

A sample ballot for the 2018 midterm elections
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The state elections board will hold a hearing this month on possible vote tampering in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District race. The key question is whether there's enough evidence to warrant a new election.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The only thing that  is certain about the North Carolina Elections and Ethics Enforcement Board is that it is mired in uncertainty. Its chairman just stepped down, a congressional race is in limbo, and a court-ordered change to the makeup of the board was postponed.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is accepting public comment over the next few weeks on a proposed consent order with a chemical company responsible for polluting the Cape Fear River and private wells near its Fayetteville plant.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Around 200 protesters gathered Tuesday morning in Raleigh's Bicentennial Mall across Jones Street from the North Carolina General Assembly.

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

A joint committee of state lawmakers met Monday to discuss voter ID legislation. The meeting comes ahead of Tuesday's special session of the North Carolina General Assembly.

OWASA's Jones Ferry Road water treatment plant, in Carrboro, N.C.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

It has been a tough couple of years for the Orange County water utility that serves 80,000-plus customers in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.

Screen shot: Senator Phil Berger "Protect Voter ID"
Phil Berger

Now what? That might be the question for many North Carolinians after voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring photo identification at the polls.

Former North Carolina governors, from left to right: Jim Hunt, Jim Martin, Make Easley, Bev Perdue and Pat McCrory joined forces to oppose the constitutional amendments.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

North Carolina voters sent two of six constitutional amendments backed by the North Carolina General Assembly's Republican majority to defeat by wide margins.

One amendment would have transferred power to fill judicial vacancies from the governor's office to the legislature. The other amendment would have restructured the state ethics and elections board and given lawmakers the power to appoint its members.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Sheriff Donnie Harrison grew up poor on his family's Martin County farm and says he knew from the age of eight or nine he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement.

At 21, he joined the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and served 26 years. He was assigned to Wake County and never left.

In 2002, running as a Republican, Harrison unseated Wake's first African-American sheriff, John Baker, with a one percent margin of victory.

He has sailed through three elections since then, gaining respect on a range of issues.

Smithfield Foods promised to cut emissions.
humanesociety.org

A major pork producer in North Carolina will address the industry's vulnerability to climate change. The move has won praise from one environmental advocacy group but scorn from another.

The Environmental Defense Fund applauded Smithfield Foods for the company's 10-year plan to capture 85,000 tons of methane per year and generate renewable energy from biogas.

M&R Glasgow / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/urATu

With Election Day just around the corner, WUNC is highlighting and explaining each of six proposed constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot.

Fayetteville State University's marching band kicks off the early vote event with President Bill Clinton at the university in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Rishika Dugyala / Medill News Service

Data from the first week of early voting show North Carolinians are turning out in unprecedented numbers.

So far, of the state's 7 million registered voters, more than 400,000 have cast early ballots at the polls and almost just as many have requested mail-in ballots.

christmas trees
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The North Carolina Christmas tree supply might be a little tighter this year thanks to a variety of market factors.

The 2008 economic downturn slowed sales and that meant less space to plant new trees, which take 7 to 10 years to grow.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina General Assembly unanimously agreed Monday night to set aside another $800 million dollars for Hurricane Florence relief.

Rising water following Hurricane Florence is leading to road closures like this on on Arrington Bridge Road in Goldsboro, N.C., Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Highway officials outlined their Hurricane Florence response and recovery efforts for a house committee in Raleigh this week.

State Department of Transportation Secretary James Trogdon told lawmakers the catastrophic storm dumped an estimated 8 trillion gallons of rain on the state, equivalent to more than 1 trillion cubic feet of water.

"So Florence would have filled Jordan Lake 536 times," Trogdon told committee members.

Many roads have re-opened but not all of them, said Trogdon.

The alligator caught and killed on the second-to-last day of the 2018 inaugural alligator hunting season.
Courtesy of N.C. Wildlife

The approximately 20-year-old male alligator measured around 5-foot-7-inches but was missing a portion of its tail and probably had been closer to seven feet.

The gator was caught and killed on the second-to-last day of this inaugural season by a hunter in the Hyde County town of Swan Quarter.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence top a section of U.S. 421 near the Pender-New Hanover County line north of Wilmington.
NC Department of Transportation

Hurricane Florence lashed Wilmington with high winds when it made landfall more than two weeks ago, and then the trouble started. The storm inundated the coastal city with 30 to 40 inches of rain in three days.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Win McNamee / Pool Photo via AP

North Carolina Democrats want to capitalize on anger over the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process and allegations he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when the two were high school students in the 1980s.

Republicans controlled 10 of 13 Congressional seats in the 2016 election, despite winning only slightly more than half the total votes.
Preliminary 2016 election results / N.C. Board of Elections

Republicans surely will hold onto their majority of North Carolina's 13-seat congressional delegation this fall but Democrats believe they can swing two, if not three, districts.

The candidates battling for the 9th District, which runs from the southeast Charlotte suburbs, along the South Carolina border, to Fayetteville, have already raised a total of $3.5 million, the most of any race in the state, according to the Center for  Responsive Politics website, opensecrets.org.

A poultry farm flooded due to Hurricane Florence
Rick Dove / Waterkeeper Alliance

North Carolina farmers will suffer some heavy losses from the effects of Hurricane Florence. Preliminary reports from the state agriculture department show heavy hits to peanut, soybean, cotton and sweet potato crops.

UNC Carolina AirCare helicopter lands to pick up a pediatric team from UNC Hospitals. The crew will then pick up a neonatal patient from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, where the Cape Fear River flooded.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Hurricane Florence forced a lot of people from their homes. The storm also forced hospitals in affected areas to shift patients to other facilities − making the healing process that much harder.

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.
Chuck Burton / AP

Updated 5 p.m. | Sept. 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 105 mph (165 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

Nichols the loggerhead sea turtle
Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, Topsail Island

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City, North Carolina, has 23 recuperating turtles right now.

Surf City is about 30 miles northeast of Wilmington and sits right around the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence's expected path.

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Flickr user Erik Hersman

The state elections board is refusing to comply with federal subpoenas seeking confidential voter information.

A few dozen neo-Confederate protesters faced off with a few hundred dancing demonstrators at the site of the toppled Silent Sam statue at UNC- Chapel Hill on Aug. 30, 2018.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Updated 8:30 a.m. | August 31, 2018

The torn-down Silent Sam monument was the site of dueling protests Thursday night. About 50 members of a neo-Confederate group were greeted by several hundred counterprotesters on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill. 

Image of three different maps of North Carolina, with different districts.
Courtesy of Jonathan Mattingly

A federal court ruling could have a major impact on Congressional elections this fall.

A three-judge panel ruled Monday that North Carolina's Republican-controlled General Assembly gerrymandered 12 of the state's 13 districts with such extreme partisanship that the maps violate the equal protection and First Amendment rights of non-Republican voters.

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