Daily dose

VOTE ANYWAY: “I am mortified to have taken part in a process that required bars to be closed.” – Election Day comment by Jimmy Breslin, a newspaper columnist and 1969 candidate for New York City Mayor. A few years later, the ban on election-day liquor sales was repealed.

ELECTION DAY OBSERVATIONS:
1 Voter Turnout? To what degree will the $100 million spent on the U.S. Senate campaign drive more voters to the polls today? And, which message – dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama or distress over the actions of Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-dominated General Assembly – will be the prime motivator? In the last two off year elections – 2006 and 2010 – North Carolina voters stayed away from the polls in droves. In 2006, a mere 37 percent of the state’s registered voters cast ballots. In 2010 a slightly less dismal 44 percent of the voters bothered to make the trek to the ballot box. Now, in 2006, there wasn’t a significant statewide race to motivate campaigners or voters – but Democrats and Republicans showed up in equal proportions – 39 percent of the Democrats and 39 percent of the Republicans. In 2010 there was a race for the U.S. Senate as well as the Koch brothers-financed Tea Party movement that particularly energized the GOP. While overall turnout was improved from 2006 with 45 percent of the Democrats voting, 51 percent of the Republicans voted – resulting in the GOP tide of 2010. Will angry public school teachers and disappointed parents concerned about cuts in the classroom – and Moral Monday protesters energized by voter ID laws and cuts in the social safety net -- take out their frustration on Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis? Will frustration and distrust over Obamacare and gun laws and immigration be taken out on Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan?

2. Do Republicans have ground game? In the last few days of the campaign, focus has shifted from campaign money and news media blitzes to voter turnout. The GOP, acknowledging it had been behind in the past, boasted a heightened concern and focus. Republican community organizers boasted of a high tech focus and slick smartphone apps to target get-out-the-vote efforts. Does early voting turnout provide any indication of the effectiveness of the Republicans’ increased effort? Final early voting numbers show 18 percent of the state’s 6.6 million registered voters have already cast ballots: Cumulatively, Democrats are 49 percent of the ballots cast; Republicans 31 percent and others 20 percent.

3. Do candidates matter? The flood of outside cash that has financed “independent” campaigns on behalf of Tillis and Hagan seem to overshadow the candidates and issues of concern to North Carolina voters. Is the fact that Hagan’s campaign has outraised Tillis’ by nearly 3 to 1, any indication of support, or can candidates forgo aggressive campaign fundraising as an indication of backing, knowing they’ll be propped up by the super wealthy and independent committees?

4. Will it be Democrats leading chants of “fraud at the polls”? Last week voters in Guilford County complained that electronic voting machines were switching their votes for Democrat Kay Hagan to votes for Republican Thom Tillis. Elections officials examined the machines and got the same results. While the voters who complained got to recast their ballots of other machines, how many voters didn’t catch the error? Will there be more machines casting zombie votes?

5. Turnout? Bigger turnout, in larger counties, could indicate a friendly wind for Democrats in statewide campaigns. Watch results in Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Orange and Wake counties. Turnout in these counties was generally higher than the state average for Republicans in 2010 and lower than the state average for Democrats.

A final look at the numbers

I was hoping that Thomas Mills would deliver an election eve analysis of the Hagan-Tillis race. And he did!

I still think Hagan has the advantage. Her campaign has been more disciplined and they’ve won the argument most of the time. Regardless, the national environment has continued to deteriorate throughout October, making the race much closer now than it’s been since the summer.

The GOP's "despicable and cowardly" game of voter suppression

Strong words from the N&O on the Republicans' behavior while in office:

The Republican politicians in North Carolina, and elsewhere for that matter, see their attempts to suppress Democratic voters with Voter ID laws and curbs on early voting and on voting sites on college campuses as some clever game. They really do.

The voter suppression laws passed in North Carolina and other Republican-run states are despicable and cowardly. The right to vote is a sacred one, granted to citizens of this grand democracy. That’s the difference in requiring a photo ID to cash a check or use a credit card and requiring one to vote. The first is a privilege; the second is a right.

It's actually more than just a game to them. Republicans believe the majorities they achieved back in 2010 equated to an overwhelming mandate from the people to do anything they wanted, regardless of the legality, Constitutionality, morality, or any other limits to power the general public expects elected officials to operate under. In any sane electoral situation, the voters would soon put that right. But with gerrymandering, it would require many Republican voters to vote against their own party. Which isn't going to happen to any substantial degree.

Daily Dose

ONE STOP VOTING, Through Sat. Nov. 1: TOTAL: 1,097,469; Democrats, 48%; Republicans, 32%; 20% Others.
Nearly 1.1M cast ballots through NC early voting (AP) — In-person early voting is over in North Carolina, and nearly 200,000 more ballots were cast compared to the last midterm election four years ago.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nearly-11m-cast-ballots-through-nc-early-voting-2699113

Senate race drives early voting turnout (WRAL-TV) -- Voters hoping to avoid Election Day conflicts cast early ballots in the U.S. Senate race. Numbers show early turnout is heavier than in 2010, but that doesn't necessarily predict the outcome.
http://www.wral.com/senate-race-drives-early-voting-turnout/14132320/

GOP's revenue deficit bites them

The half-billion-dollar revenue shortfall that's expected to grow to $1 billion is something that the NC GOP doesn't want you to know about, and won't admit. It's direct result of their foolish tax cuts for the wealthy, and it's sending us right down the failed path blazed by Kansas.

Now one of their pet ideological causes is getting the shaft because there's no money in the treasury. Led by nutty Lt. Dan, the NC GOP decided to get rid of Common Core, the set of educational standards that they themselves enthusiastically adopted. They decided this after the Obama administration said Common Core was a good thing.

But there's no money for the nutty ideologues to carry out that mission.

Desperate Tillis ramps up anti-Obama fear-mongering

Oh my God, what if things stay the same as they have been?

“Can you imagine if we don’t get a Senate majority what this president will do in the remaining two years of his term?,” Tillis told about 300 of his supporters Saturday evening in a high school cafeteria.

“He will pack the federal courts with the most liberal activist judges you’ve ever seen. He will sign an executive order granting amnesty, threatening the American workers and threatening our safety and security. He will fail to stand up to Iran, he will fail to stand up to ISIS. And our country will be less safe and secure than he found it. It already is ladies and gentlemen. That’s why I’m running for Senate.”

This is almost as stupid as some of the online ads I've seen from Neocon John Bolton: "Do you want to see a Democrat-controlled Senate?" No doubt there's a startling percentage of the electorate who have no idea the Dems have already controlled the Senate for several years, but the other 82% should see the logical misstep in this claim. First off, Republicans don't need a Senate majority to block the nominations of judges, they've already done that with gusto. And second, a President facing two hostile Houses of Congress is more likely to increase Executive Orders than if he's only facing one. And lastly, Tillis is on record (more than once) demonstrating he has absolutely no idea what he would do about ISIS, which translates to siding with McCain and other war-mongers by putting tens of thousands of boots back on the ground in Iraq. Something I believe most North Carolinians don't want.

Sunday Daily Dose

ONE-STOP EARLY VOTING
All NC Early Votes Reach 1 Million (Old North State Politics) -- North Carolina has reached over a million accepted ballots (or votes) cast before Election Day, through the combination of mail-in and in-person early voting. So far, 1,045,295 ballots have been accepted as early votes through the two early voting methods (both mail-in and in-person). There is currently another 41,047 mail-in and 479 in-person ballots that have not been accepted as early votes. Among the cumulative 991,945 in-person accepted ballots cast so far (through Oct. 31): 49% Democrats; 31 %Republicans; 20% others. Comparing to 2010, total cumulative accepted in-person ballots are running at 120% of 2010: unaffiliated 142%; Democrats 124% percent; Republican 103%.
http://nc-politics.blogspot.com/2014/11/all-nc-early-votes-reach-1-million.html

Early Voting Wraps Up (TWCN-TV) -- By the end of the day Friday, 880,000 North Carolinians had already voted, according to voting tracker Carolina Transparency. Of those, nearly 47 percent are Democrats and just under 32 percent are Republicans.
http://centralnc.twcnews.com/content/news/all_nc_news/713484/early-voting-wraps-up/

Little Ricky: the sequel

Y'all remember Little Ricky Diaz, right? The 24-year-old with no experience to whom Pat & Aldona gave the $85,000 patronage job?

Well, of course, Little Ricky left back in January, having polished his resume and stoked his own personal brand to obtain a PR job in Washington.

With DHHS continuing its incompetence and miserable failures, under the incompetent and failed leadership of Queen Aldona, the agency desperately needed some communications spin, so they've finally hired someone new.

Kendra Gerlach is joining the state Department of Health and Human Services next week as its new communications director, replacing Ricky Diaz who resigned in January.

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