WUNC Politics

The WUNC Politics Podcast is a free-flowing discussion of what we're hearing in the back hallways of the General Assembly and on the campaign trail across North Carolina. 

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The only successful political insurrection in American history took place in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898. On this episode of the podcast Duke professor Deondra Rose discusses that little-known dark chapter in U.S. history, and how it might help us understand the events of last week.


It was an extraordinary week in American history. After a failed insurrection on Capitol Hill, Congress certified the election of Joe Biden over Donald Trump. In our weekly political roundup, Clark Riemer and Aisha Dew discuss.

  

Democratic U.S. House Representative Deborah Ross was sworn into the 117th Congress on Sunday. Ross now serves a redrawn Wake County district, and is optimistic about politics in 2021. On this episode she talks about crucial Senate runoffs in Georgia, and shares how many GOP colleagues she has cell phone numbers for.

  

2020 was an exhausting year for North Carolinians, and in the world of news and politics.

Host Jeff Tiberii, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation review some of big stories from the past year, and turn their attention to 2021. Will it be more of the same, or different?



It was unprecedented, exhausting, unrelenting and — to at least one local reporter — bananas. The 2020 calendar will be remembered for a pandemic, racial reckoning and a once-in-a-generation election. On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, journalists reflect on what they will remember most from this wild year.



Several elected officials from North Carolina are in the mix for positions within President-elect Joe Biden's administration. State Environmental Secretary Michael Regan, for one, has been tapped to lead the EPA.

Aisha Dew and Clark Riemer discuss the developments in our weekly review of state politics. They also share who makes their naughty and nice lists for 2020.


What is the typical gubernatorial profile in North Carolina? Are there patterns in the background, upbringing or political composition of those who have occupied the Governor's Mansion during the last 50 years? And what might these patterns tell us about who could be chief executive going forward?


With hospitalizations and new cases of COVID infections surging, a curfew takes effect on Friday night. Meanwhile the Attorney General joined a lawsuit against Facebook.

Becki Gray and Rob Schofield review those topics, and discuss what — if anything — to do with the more than $1 trillion in college loan debt.
 


Congressman-Elect Madison Cawthorn is set to steal the seat last held by former Representative Mark Meadows. Cawthorn, a Republican, will become the youngest member of the U.S. House of Representatives by six years. On this episode of The Politics Podcast, Cawthorn discusses plans for Capitol Hill, and allegations of anti-semitism. 
 


Republican Congressman Mark Walker announced this week that he will vie for an open North Carolina Senate seat. Meanwhile this week in state politics, a federal appellate court ruled in favor of a photo voter ID requirement. And, the closest statewide race in North Carolina history isn't over quite yet.

Aisha Dew and Clark Riemer speak with Jeff Tiberii about some of this week's developments.


In the beginning of the new year, the 117th Congress will be sworn in and North Carolina will welcome three new representatives to its delegation. Congresswoman-elect Kathy Manning will be among them, representing the state’s 6th District that encompasses most of the Triad. She'll be the first woman to represent that district and North Carolina's first Jewish congresswoman.

In this episode, host Jeff Tiberii talks with Manning about her priorities as a representative, campaigning during a pandemic, and why a medical bill sparked her career in politics.


Jim Morrill started covering politics during the Reagan administration. After reporting on dozens of elections, 11 national conventions and countless elected officials, the longtime Charlotte Observer journalist is retiring.

Host Jeff Tiberii asks Morrill to reflect on his five-decade career and the state of journalism. And later, Jeff does some reflecting of his own, about his father-in-law, who died this week.


Election Day month rolls on with a recount in the North Carolina Chief Justice Supreme Court contest. A crowded field of candidates is forming for a vacant U.S. Senate seat. In our latest review of North Carolina politics, Aisha Dew and Becki Gray discuss those races, the likelihood Republicans will decriminalize marijuana, and what they're appreciative for this November.


In the last 40 years, North Carolina has voted for a president and governor from separate parties in seven out of 11 elections. Each time the state has split the vote, North Carolinians have elected a Republican president and a Democratic governor. The 2020 election produced the same result, as thousands of people voted for President Donald Trump and Governor Roy Cooper.

On this episode of The Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with Peter Francia, political science professor and director of the ECU Center for Survey Research, about the reasons why voters might split their ticket, and the history of the phenomenon in North Carolina. Jeff also talks with one split-ticket voter about their choice to cast a ballot for Trump and Cooper.


County elections boards have finalized their official vote tallies. Still, on Friday the race to be chief justice of the state Supreme Court looked almost certainly headed for a recount.  

Meanwhile, the Democratic challenger in the U.S. Senate race conceded this week. And a former Wake County Public Schools superintendent moved into a top (interim) role at the Pentagon. 

Host Jeff Tiberii, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation review those stories along with the latest grim pandemic news.


For all the hundreds of millions of dollars that were spent in North Carolina during the 2020 election cycle, not all that much changed. The GOP will maintain legislative majorities, and likely again spar with a Democratic Governor. Conservatives were able to add seats on the state courts, which may benefit them when it comes time for the next round of redistricting. On this latest episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast Meredith College Political Science Professor David McLennan and Associated Press  Statehouse Reporter Gary Robertson delve into the questions of what happened - why - and what we can expect moving forward.


Election Day brought little closure for our nation or our state in 2020.

There will be counts and recounts and court filings and calls to concede before all is said and done.

Guest host Will Michaels walks us through a week of the democratic process at work — and assesses some of what we do know regarding election outcomes with Becki Gray, of John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch.
 


The race for president may still be too close to call in North Carolina, nevertheless Election Day did provide conclusions for a number of key races in the state. Republicans are set to maintain control of both chambers of the General Assembly while the Democratic governor keeps his office. 

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs about the latest results and how the voting transpired. 

Virtual learning has changed almost everything about the classroom experience in North Carolina, but implicit racial biases remain as a hindrance to students' education. Microaggressions and discriminatory behavior from teachers and other classmates can have detrimental effects on students of color, especially young children in preschool.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, we feature the WUNC podcast "Tested," and its host Leoneda Inge's conversation with Iheoma Iruka, professor of public policy and director of the Early Childhood Health and Racial Equity program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about what's needed to create an “anti-bias classroom.”
 


At least 4 million North Carolina voters won't be at the polls next Tuesday because they've already cast their ballots. And the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week officials can keep counting mail-in ballots for nine days after Election Day. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch join host Jeff Tiberii to weigh in on what the high court had to say, how huge the huge turnout will ultimately be, and whether or not we'll see North Carolina voters split the ticket again. 
 


One week to go before Election Day 2020 and the votes continue to pour in by the millions. Behind every ballot cast is a voter wielding the pen and filling in the bubbles for who they want to see in office.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, we hear from a handful of voters across the battleground state of North Carolina about what’s on their minds. Host Jeff Tiberii also talks with WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs about Granville County and why it's a region to keep a close eye on this election.
 


With less than two weeks until November 3, more than two million people have already voted. In our review of the week in state politics, Democratic strategist Aisha Dew and former chair of the North Carolina Federation of Young Republicans Clark Riemer discuss when they expect to have results and how they’re feeling about the races. Plus, what to make – if anything – about the Governor’s comment on Cal Cunningham. 



North Carolina is again home to the most expensive U.S. Senate race in the nation's history. During this 2020 election cycle, billions of dollars will flow through the somewhat mysterious apparatus of campaign finance.

On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Jeff Tiberii speaks about the financial landscape with Anna Beavon Gravely of the NC Free Enterprise Foundation, journalist Jeremy Borden, who is also a volunteer leader with the Open Raleigh Brigade of Code for America. and UNC-Charlotte political science professor Eric Heberlig.


This week: North Carolina voters turned out in record numbers for the start of in-person early voting. Lines were made longer by social distancing — the polls are open as cases of COVID-19 across the state are surging. 

Democratic strategist Aisha Dew and Republican Clark Reimer join host Jeff Tiberii to offer some insight into those developments, as well as a confrontational gubernatorial debate between incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper and challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. 
 


Political polling isn’t a crystal ball into election outcomes this November, but it is a useful tool to help us understand where certain groups of voters stand in a given point in time.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii examines what makes a good poll, and what might make a survey less reliable. Courtney Kennedy, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, provides a behind-the-scenes look at political polling. And David McLennan, director of the Meredith Poll in Raleigh, talks about the polling process in this battleground state of North Carolina.


The stakes in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race were already significant – with the winner potentially signaling which party could control the chamber in the next Congress. In recent days, the campaign narratives were upended as Republican incumbent Thom Tillis tested positive for COVID and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham acknowledged sending sexual text messages to a woman that is not his wife. 

Rob Schofield and Becki Gray join host Jeff Tiberii to discuss the possible electoral impacts of the news. They also review the latest in mail-in balloting, and offer reaction to a North Carolina Congressman’s racist tweet.
 


Democrats seeking to transform the landscape of North Carolina politics must take back the state House.

Republicans captured a majority ten years ago, expanded it to veto-proof status in 2012, and in doing so have since fundamentally shifted governance in North Carolina. The GOP is aiming to hold on to its majority this election season, and – with redistricting on the horizon – trying to maintain control for another decade.

On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, a conversation with state legislators Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange, Caswell) and Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) about the campaigns, key districts and one divisive strategy.
 


This week: Donald Trump’s positive coronavirus test has upended the already unstable political landscape. With just more than a month until Election Day, it is unclear how the president going into quarantine will affect the key battleground of North Carolina. In their review of the week in state politics, Rob Schofield and Becki Gray react to the major news, reflect on the final debate for North Carolina's U.S. Senate race, and discuss whether the State Board of Elections went too far in changing rules for mail-in ballots.


North Carolina's ballot stretches well beyond the top of the ticket. One big question looming in 2020 is whether Democrats will regain control of at least one chamber of the General Assembly, or if Republicans will hang on to the reins with their simple majority. 

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii dives into a key state senate race in New Hanover County. He speaks with the University of  North Carolina Wilmington's Aaron King about the political landscape for legislative races. And Democratic Sen. Harper Peterson discusses how President Trump's presence on the ballot plays into his bid for reelection in closely contested District 9. 


North Carolina has 13 congressional districts, though only one race is likely to be particularly close this fall. After a judicial panel determined the old map illegally favored Republicans and the boundaries were redrawn last year, the 8th District is now a competitive outlier.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with Chris Cronin, political science professor at Methodist University, about the impact voters in Fayetteville could have on the outcome in the 8th District race. And we hear from Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the Democratic nominee challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Richard Hudson.
 


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