BlueNC's blog

Friday News: Hail Mary pass

LINDBERG WANTS BRIBERY CHARGES DROPPED ON TECHNICALITY: Businessman Greg Lindberg is asking a federal court to throw out his indictment on bribery charges in a case that also ensnared the then-chairman of North Carolina’s Republican Party. Lindberg filed the motion Wednesday in the Charlotte-based court’s Western District. Lindberg and two associates, along with then-GOP Chairman Robin Hayes, were indicted last spring on charges of conspiracy and bribery for their alleged attempts to influence state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, a Republican. In their motion to dismiss, Lindberg’s lawyers rely in part on a 2016 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and established higher standards for proving corruption. The court said the definition of “official acts” was too broad.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235251527.html

Thursday News: Strike Three

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ANALYSTS SAY NEWLY REDRAWN MAPS STILL FAVOR REPUBLICANS: The new political maps approved by the North Carolina General Assembly this week would likely still favor Republicans in the 2020 elections, numerous experts say. The legislature was ordered to redraw a number of the districts used to elect its members earlier this month, after a panel of judges ruled the Republican-led legislature had violated voters’ constitutional rights with their 2017 maps. And those unconstitutional maps were themselves drawn to replace different maps, from 2011, that had also been ruled unconstitutional. “If you go back and analyze the maps, you can see the maps have a Republican bias,” said Sam Wang, a Princeton University neuroscience professor who is also a gerrymandering expert and leads the Princeton Election Consortium.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235176992.html

Wednesday News: It's up to the judges now

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REDRAWN DISTRICT MAPS HEAD TO 3-JUDGE PANEL FOR APPROVAL: The General Assembly on Tuesday finished redrawing dozens of North Carolina legislative districts that a court declared were designed with extreme partisan bias favoring Republicans. The House voted for the Senate remap and the Senate approved the House proposal. Tuesday's discussions were much shorter than when the chambers debated and voted on their respective replacement maps for their own seats in recent days. A timeline set by the trial court allows legal briefs objecting to the replacement districts by Sept. 27, with any response to those objections filed by Oct. 4. Candidate filing begins in early December for next year's elections, starting with early March primaries.
https://www.wral.com/north-carolina-legislative-remap-complete-court-review-next/18641150/

Tuesday News: It's the principle of the thing

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NC SENATE PASSES NEW MAP, WITH SOME DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION: Raleigh Sen. Dan Blue, the top Democrat, vouched for the maps as well as Hise. Blue, a former N.C. Speaker of the House, has been involved in numerous redistricting efforts in past decades in North Carolina and was in the thick of this one as well. “I think it was a remarkable experience, especially when you consider the current political climate,” he said. Of the state Senate’s 50 members, 21 are Democrats. Most followed Blue’s lead and joined their Republican colleagues to support the new maps. But eight voted against the maps. A common refrain from the opponents was that they simply don’t think politicians should be able to draw their own maps in the first place. “These are the fairest maps, and this was the fairest process, in North Carolina in my lifetime,” Charlotte Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson said. Still, Jackson said he was voting against the maps because “independent redistricting would look just like the process we just went through, except it wouldn’t be politicians doing it.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235159817.html

Monday News: Maps!

NC SENATE AND HOUSE WILL HEAR PUBLIC COMMENTS TODAY ABOUT REDISTRICTING: New electoral boundaries for North Carolina General Assembly seats demanded by state judges are on track to be finalized by this week's court deadline. The Senate scheduled floor debate on its proposed plan for Monday evening. The House passed its own map late last week, but it and the Senate are holding a public hearing earlier Monday to take citizen comment. Each map must pass both chambers by Wednesday to meet a directive from a three-judge panel that declared dozens of districts unconstitutional because of excessive partisanship in current lines favoring Republicans. The changes originate from the work of an expert witness for plaintiffs who sued over the maps. Legislators adjusted them to prevent pairs of incumbents from having to run against each other in 2020.
https://www.wral.com/north-carolina-legislature-on-track-to-ok-new-maps-this-week/18637736/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC REPUBLICANS' SHAMELESS THEFT OF DEMOCRACY: The verdict is now plain. North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders — not actually leaders, but connivers — are beyond shame. In a stunning display of contempt for democracy, House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, called a surprise vote to overturn Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget just after a session opened at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Democratic lawmakers and the media had been told by Republican leaders that there would be no vote in the morning. Most Democrats were absent. Enough Republicans, aware of the secret plan, were there. When Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, made the motion to reconsider the state budget, the handful of Democrats on hand objected strenuously. “This is a travesty of the process and you know it,” said Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover.
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article234966387.html

Saturday News: They just can't be trusted

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NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS PASS ANOTHER GERRYMANDERED MAP: There were 14 in the N.C. House, and most of the solutions that legislators came up with throughout the past few days were uncontroversial. However there is one area of southeastern North Carolina, near the South Carolina border, where Democrats think Republicans drew with political purposes in mind, despite a court order telling them not to. “You don’t have to be very astute to know what we are doing in this bill is partisan gerrymandering in the benefit of a member,” said Democratic Rep. Joe Sam Queen on Friday before voting against the maps. A handful of other Democrats also objected to the new maps for Fayetteville, saying this process had taken a bad gerrymander and unintentionally made it worse. Democrat Rep. Billy Richardson said he hadn’t looked at any political data, but he knows the area well enough to believe the new maps are an even worse gerrymander than they were when the court struck them down.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235070982.html

Friday News: Conspiracy

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HARDISTER SENT TEXT MESSAGE ALERTING REPUBLICANS TO "BE IN YOUR SEATS AT 8:30": A GOP leader in the N.C. House of Representatives says he sent a text message to some party members before Wednesday morning’s veto override vote, telling them to be in their seats by 8:30 a.m. Rep. Jon Hardister, the GOP’s second-in-command, told The News & Observer Thursday the text message was routine and that he regularly reminds members to be present for sessions where votes will be held. In this case, he said, he sent the note to 10 members who have long commutes to Raleigh, reminding them to be on time. But House Minority Leader Darren Jackson said he thinks the text message is proof that Republicans planned in advance to hold the controversial vote Wednesday morning without telling Democrats. Jackson said Thursday that Rep. Larry Yarborough, a Republican from Person County, showed him a text message he received from someone in Republican leadership. Jackson said the text to Yarborough suggested that Democrats were planning some sort of action related to redistricting.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235034672.html

Thursday News: Sweet little lies

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IN TEXT MESSAGE TO REPORTER, DAVID LEWIS SAYS "NO VOTES AT 8:30": Lewis, R-Harnett, said he never told Jackson there would be no votes on Wednesday morning, saying that he told him the House wouldn't vote on two "mini-budget" bills added to the floor calendar that would provide money for disaster relief and for prison safety upgrades until after House Democrats caucused Wednesday morning. Lewis did acknowledge telling a WRAL News reporter via text Tuesday night that there would be no votes at the 8:30 a.m. session. But he said that's because he didn't think there would be any. He wasn't on the floor during the override vote. Several House Republicans coming out of a caucus shortly after 10:15 a.m. said they felt the surprise vote was fair game, noting that Moore has made it clear for weeks that he would call the override vote whenever the opportunity arose. "The speaker said at any given opportunity he would call it," longtime Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, said. "The opportunity was there, and he called it."
https://www.wral.com/how-dare-you-do-this-mr-speaker-in-surprise-move-house-overrides-budget-veto/18...

Wednesday News: Gerrymandering wins, again

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BISHOP SLIPS BY MCCREADY IN NC09 DO-OVER ELECTION: Republican Dan Bishop narrowly defeated Democrat Dan McCready on Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, with a strong showing in suburban Union County and three rural eastern counties. With 99% of precincts reporting, Bishop led McCready 50.8% to 48.6% in a race that analysts saw as a harbinger for 2020. Bishop rolled up big margins in Union County and carried Richmond and Cumberland counties, which McCready had won last fall over Republican Mark Harris. He trailed McCready by just over 200 votes in Robeson County, which McCready won handily in 2018. Turnout was about 37%. Trump took credit for Bishop’s win in a tweet: “Dan Bishop was down 17 points 3 weeks ago. He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race.” In fact, polls consistently had shown the race close.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article234890702.html

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