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Tuesday News: The Bidening...


DEM MODERATES BOW OUT AND BLESS UNCLE JOE: The sudden exits of moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar from the 2020 race, along with a stream of endorsements from elected officials and party leaders across the country indicate a clear effort to bolster the former vice president after his dominant victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Tuesday’s series of contests — including primaries in 14 states, the American Samoan caucus and the start of Democrats voting from abroad — is the most significant single day on the nominating calendar, with 1,357 delegates up for grabs. And establishment Democrats have fretted for weeks that an inability to unify before this delegate bounty is dispersed could leave Sanders with an insurmountable advantage. Biden, who was endorsed by Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke Monday evening, is still almost certain to be trailing Sanders in the delegate race once all Super Tuesday’s votes are counted. But the size of his delegate deficit will be the most crucial number to determine whether he can eventually overtake Sanders as the calendar extends to more favorable electoral turf later in March and into April.

Monday News: Farewell, Pete


BUTTIGIEG DROPS OUT OF DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY: The decision by the first openly gay candidate to seriously contend for the presidency — and among the youngest ever — came just a day after a leading rival, Joe Biden, scored a resounding victory in South Carolina. That sparked new pressure on the party's moderate wing to coalesce behind the former vice president. “The truth is the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy if not for our cause,” Buttigieg, 38, told supporters in South Bend, Indiana. “We must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and country together.” He didn't endorse any of his former rivals, though he and Biden traded voicemails on Sunday. Buttigieg has spent the past several weeks warning that nominating progressive leader Bernie Sanders to take on President Donald Trump would be risky.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


WANT TO SAVE NC'S RURAL HOSPITALS? EXPAND MEDICAID NOW: This is no mystery. Expanding Medicaid means there are fewer patients whose care isn’t compensated. Hospitals that get paid for the care they give more patients will have better financial performance. Doctors who know they will get paid for the services they deliver will be more willing to practice in rural areas. This is not complicated. So why does the political party that rules the General Assembly continue to stubbornly keep North Carolina among the minority of states – just a dozen – that refuse to expand Medicaid even though it is almost entirely paid for by the federal government. Those are taxes North Carolinians have already paid. Our North Carolina dollars are helping keep rural hospitals open in other states while hospitals, many in eastern North Carolina counties like Beaufort, Washington and Halifax have closed. These concerns should be front-and-center to the General Assembly’s leaders – particularly Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore – who have seen hospitals in their own districts close or threatened with ceasing operation.

Saturday News: Of course he's a Republican

NC AUDITOR CANDIDATE WAS ON PROBATION FOR STALKING A WOMAN: His criminal charges began, according to court records, when a man reported that on April 8, 2012, Street had hit him in the head and face. That resulted in the charge of simple assault. The charge was dismissed without leave, which means that decision is permanent. Another warrant said Street was reported again in June 2016 for allegedly threatening a different man by saying, “If you want to keep you and your family safe you better give me back my money.” That led to the charge of communicating threats. He was found not guilty on the charge. A woman reported that Street followed her on Feb. 23, 2017, at her house and a family member’s house and refused to leave, and then followed her as she drove, according to warrants. That resulted in his first stalking charge. But a witness did not show up to court, according to court records, and prosecutors dismissed the case without leave. Court records said that Street was accused of following the same victim on multiple occasions between March 30, 2018, and April 26, 2018, leading to a second charge of stalking. He was given a conditional discharge that included six months of unsupervised probation, and the court dismissed the charge.

Friday News: Rewriting history


PROTESTS SCHEDULED FOR CONFEDERATE "INSTITUTE" HELD IN RALEIGH THIS WEEKEND: A group of protesters will try to disrupt a Sons of Confederate Veterans symposium this weekend in Raleigh that is billed by organizers as an educational event and condemned by opponents as racist. The national Sons of Confederate Veterans has staged the Stephen D. Lee Institute annually in different cities around the South since 2003, inviting members to come listen as teachers, writers and researchers lecture about the Civil War, the Confederacy and Southern history. McCollum, an N.C. State University junior from Apex studying political science and French, said she decided to rally the group’s energy against the SCV’s institute after studying some of the writings of its featured speakers. McCollum said the institute and its speakers’ arguments that the Civil War was about states’ rights and was the result of unconstitutional acts by an overreaching federal government are attempts to rewrite history.

Thursday News: Fight for fifteen


ELON POLL HAS 94% IN FAVOR OF RAISING MINIMUM WAGE: The Elon poll found that 94% of respondents supported boosting the minimum wage, which has been $7.25 per hour since 2009, though they differed on how much it should be increased. Just 14% believed it should be more than $15 an hour. All the Democratic presidential candidates still standing favor raising the federal minimum wage, and all but one of them wants to double it — to $15 per hour. The holdout? Businessman Tom Steyer, who recently proposed tripling it, to $22 per hour. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opposed raising the minimum wage as recently as 2015. Now he’s for it. Their argument for the hike: While the federal minimum wage hasn’t budged, the cost of living — including for necessities like housing and prescription drugs — has skyrocketed, forcing some workers to take on two or three jobs to make ends meet.

Wednesday News: The choice is yours to make


GOVERNOR COOPER WILL NOT ENDORSE IN PRIMARY: North Carolina’s governor has decided not to endorse anyone in the Democratic presidential primary. Gov. Roy Cooper already voted — on Saturday during early voting for the state primary on March 3, which is also Super Tuesday. “The Governor hasn’t endorsed in past primaries and won’t be endorsing this year either,” his campaign said in a statement. “He encourages all voters to be sure they get to the polls and make their voices heard.” The North Carolina Democratic Party doesn’t endorse in primaries, either, according to the state party spokesperson Robert Howard. “We like our voters to decide who our nominee is, rather than put any thumb on the scale or anything,” Howard told The News & Observer in a phone interview Tuesday. He said the party has not discussed potential endorsements with any of its elected officials or candidates.

Tuesday News: Private profits, public costs


WILMINGTON SCHOOLS PAY FOR FILTRATION SYSTEMS TO COMBAT FOREVER CHEMICALS: The move to reduce per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, comes after a nationwide report again highlighted high levels of the compounds in water supplies, with Brunswick County registering the highest levels in the country and the Wilmington region listed as the fifth highest. The new filtration systems use reverse osmosis, or RO, the method that’s been determined to be most effective in reducing levels of the compounds. Initial plans call for one RO station at each school. Last week, the Brunswick County Board of Education reviewed a plan for a pilot project to test reverse osmosis stations at Lincoln Elementary and Belville Elementary, both in Leland, and a third-party testing lab to monitor before-and-after results. Earlier this month, the New Hanover County School Board agreed to move $142,582 in its capital projects fund to begin a similar project.

Monday News: Here they come...

DEM PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES HEADING TO NC BEFORE SUPER TUESDAY: Sanders will take part in a 7 p.m. interfaith Ash Wednesday service and forum at Greenleaf Christian Church. Doors for the event will open at 6 p.m. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will make her first campaign stop in North Carolina on Thursday to hold a town hall-style meeting in Cary that will be televised on Fox News. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg bookends rallies he held across the state on the first day of early voting with a stop in Charlotte on Feb. 29, the last day of early voting in North Carolina. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., returns to the state for a get-out-the-vote rally in Raleigh on March 1, two days before the Super Tuesday primary. Not to be outdone, President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Charlotte on March 2, the eve of the primary.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


SILENT SAM'S RESTING PLACE? AWAY FROM UNC WITH OPEN, TRANSPARENT PROCESS: It was a remarkable scheme that Ripley Rand, the outside lawyer hired by the UNC Board of Governors, worked to move through the courts to get Silent Sam in the hands of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We remain astonished that UNC System President Bill Roper would go along with it. And even more remarkable that University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officials signed it. The plan that the Board came up with and initiated lacked ANY open scrutiny or public discussion. The deal was deservedly met with outrage and civil protest. Silent Sam has no place on the UNC campus – that is the only consensus that has emerged from the Board of Governor’s efforts. The Board of Governors needs to focus on its responsibilities and duties. Leave the disposition of Silent Sam to the folks on the Chapel Hill campus.


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