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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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,

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
Erik Hersman / Flickr

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.

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

The Chemours Company will stop providing bottled water to hundreds of residents whose well water has been tainted by the chemical GenX.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A chemical manufacturer responsible for contaminating residential wells in Bladen, Cumberland and Robeson counties has offered to install filtration systems in some affected homes. But state regulators say it's too soon to take that step.

Amazon announced Raleigh is on the list of 20 possible contenders for its HQ2.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

A North Carolina town will be the site of a new Amazon distribution center that officials say will lead to hundreds of millions in investment and the creation of more than a thousand jobs.

File photo of a pile of logs.
Rick Payette / Flickr, Creative Commons,

State regulators are getting ahead of federal policies in an effort to control a toxic pollutant used in preparing logs for export to China.

a flooded road after Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

North Carolina's director of emergency management said the pace of distributing federal relief funds to Hurricane Matthew victims will pick up soon.

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The new Bonner Bridge could be open to traffic by the end of the year. The state Department of Transportation says the project to replace the existing span that connects Hatteras Island to the northern Outer Banks is 88 percent complete.

One of Progress Energy's solar energy farms.
Duke Energy / Progress Energy

North Carolina joined California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas in seeing the greatest total increases in solar energy generation from 2008 to 2017, according to a report released Tuesday by Environment North Carolina Policy and Research Center.

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina came close but ultimately fell short in its effort to lure the U.S. Army's new Futures Command to the Triangle.

File photo of a GoTriangle bus.
Courtesy of GoTriangle

The Triangle's transit organization is looking at higher capacity buses to ease daily commutes for the area's growing population.

GoTriangle is trying out a higher capacity bus on its busiest routes this month, such as the I-40 stretch from Chapel Hill to Raleigh.

File photo of a protest sign in front of Chemours' President of Fluoroproducts Paul Kirsch during a community meeting hosted by the chemical company Chemours at Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, N.C. on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

Chemours and state regulators may not see eye to eye on a long-term solution for residential wells tainted by GenX.

National Fire Prevention Association

Independence Day celebrations raise concerns about fireworks-related injuries. Nationwide, emergency rooms treated almost 13,000 such injuries last year, according to the non-profit National Fire Protection Association.

WUNCPolitics Podcast

The Republican-controlled General Assembly wrapped up its short session Friday, passing an adjusted budget in time for the start of the fiscal year, above the objections of Democrats and Governor Roy Cooper’s veto.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in the General Assembly rode their majority to pass three more proposed constitutional amendments Tuesday. 

Firefighters battle the downtown Raleigh fire
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Deaths due to residential fires are up in North Carolina, in part a consequence of a new reporting system.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The legislature’s Republican majority pushed forward several proposed constitutional amendments they hope will boost voter turnout in their favor this fall. Among the potential ballot measures, a photo ID requirement for North Carolina voters, the preservation of fishing and hunting as a way of life and a cap on personal income tax.

The sponsors of the proposed constitutional  amendment to cap North Carolina's personal income tax at 5.5 percent present the measure to the House Rules committee. Pictured are Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), at the podium, and Sen. Tommy Tucker (R-Union),
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Lawmakers put in a busy day in Raleigh Wednesday, completing the override of two gubernatorial vetoes and advancing proposed constitutional amendments.