Tillis, Hagan campaign ads take state into new realm (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- This is what a Senate race looks like when money is no object. The North Carolina Senate race is expected to pass the $100 million mark this year, blowing past the old record of $76 million spent in Massachusetts when Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown in 2012. But that will come as no surprise to anybody who has turned on their TV lately and seen a steady rat-a-tat-tat of attack ads – some of which actually contain grains of truth. But is anybody paying attention to the TV blitz? And is anybody benefiting beyond the TV station owners and shareholders?
For Midterms in N.C., Betting on Feet and Good Apps (New York Times) -- In few states has the ground game been as intense as in North Carolina, where both sides are marshaling outside money and advances in data analytics to reach out to voters The foot soldiers in the battle for control of the Senate come well armed. With data-infused smartphones and tablets in hand, they have an unprecedented amount of information about the potential voters they are trying to persuade and more money than ever in a midterm election to do it. This fusion of old-school door knocking and an overlay of data analytics has been changing elections for at least three cycles, but each advance builds on its predecessor with voters largely unaware why the canvassers know so much about them. … In few states has the ground game been as intense as in North Carolina, where Hagan is locked in a close race with Thom Tillis, a Republican. Maria Palmer, a Chapel Hill town councilwoman working a phone bank for Hagan, understands why, from her outreach to Hispanic voters. … Americans for Prosperity, financed by the billionaire brothers David H. and Charles G. Koch, is the most significant player on the Republican side, providing far more clout than either Tillis or the Republican Party. “As far as large-scale, smart operations, nobody on our side compares,” said Donald Bryson, Americans for Prosperity’s North Carolina director.
Hillary Clinton, Hagan rally NC Democrats (AP) — Former Secretary of State of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Democrats in North Carolina to work to re-elect Sen. Kay Hagan, stumping on Hagan's behalf Saturday in a race that will help decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Clinton, Hagan make appeal to women during Charlotte rally (Charlotte Observer) -- Democrat Hillary Clinton helped Sen. Kay Hagan put a spotlight on women’s issues – and women’s votes – at a Saturday rally in Charlotte. Ten days before the Senate election, the star power of the likely presidential candidate helped Hagan draw one of her largest crowds. More than 1,000 people – campaign officials put the number at 1,800 – packed a Charlotte Convention Center ballroom. “There is nothing more important to Kay than who turns out,” Clinton said. “You can always count on Kay. ... Now what’s important is whether Kay can count on you.” Clinton’s appearance came as Hagan continues to be locked in a tight race with Republican Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House. The most expensive race in the country, it’s already flooded North Carolina homes with more than 90,000 TV ads.
Hillary Clinton stumps for Sen. Kay Hagan at campaign rally (Fayetteville Observer) -- The crowd roared so loud it sometimes hurt the ears as it greeted former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a campaign rally Hillary Clinton stumps for Sen. Kay Hagan at campaign rally Saturday afternoon for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan at the Charlotte Convention Center. Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, visited North Carolina less than 24 hours after potential Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry of Texas campaigned in Smithfield before an enthusiastic crowd for GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis. Clinton and Perry have previously run for president.
Clinton decries outside spending in pricey NC Senate race (CNN) -- Negative, expensive campaigns is something Sen. Kay Hagan is getting an education in this year. And something Hillary Clinton knows very well. Clinton campaigned Saturday for her fellow Democrat at a Charlotte rally of about 1,800 supporter. The former U.S. senator and secretary of state -- and widely presumed 2016 presidential contender -- used her appearance for Hagan to decry Thom Tillis, the Republican looking to unseat Hagan in November, as someone who will answer to big business, not raise the minimum wage and slash education funding. And unlike other appearances Clinton has made on the midterm campaign trail, the former first lady spent a portion of her speech Saturday decrying the level of outside spending in the Hagan-Tillis race. "Elections come down often to who has got more money, who is pedaling more fear and who turns out," Clinton told an excited crowd. The former first lady later criticized the "onslaught of out of state money and negativity that is coming in against" Hagan. "You have to prove them wrong," Clinton urged the crowd.
Hillary Clinton campaigns for Hagan (WBTV-TV) -- Saturday afternoon Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton came to Charlotte to throw her support behind Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. “I can only win this election with your help,” said Sen. Hagan to her supporters. A cheering crowd greeted Sen. Kay Hagan at the Convention Center. “I want to make sure we build the best possible future for all of your kids and for all of our grandchildren and Hillary is here today because she knows that that future is on the line right now right here in North Carolina,” said Sen. Hagan. But the excitement to see and listen to Clinton could be felt in the room. “It's a special privilege to be here as we're 10 days away from election,” Clinton said to the excited group.
Clinton: 'Protect women's rights' (The Hill) - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whipped the Democratic base into a frenzy in support of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) in Charlotte Saturday afternoon, looking to boost female turnout for Hagan in what sounded like a first draft of a campaign speech. Clinton ripped into North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) on women's issues, education and voting rights during the speech, leaning hard into potential campaign themes for what many expect to be a presidential run.
NC synagogues organize phone banks to aid voters. (AP) — A Jewish advocacy group is organizing a phone bank to help voters understand their rights. The nonprofit group Carolina Jews for Justice says that on Sunday volunteers in Raleigh, Durham, Asheville and Greensboro will make calls to help black voters and new voters. The group says those groups are disproportionately affected by election rules recently passed by state lawmakers. It says hundreds of volunteers are being organized by several synagogues. The group hopes to reach thousands of voters.
NAACP plans voting rallies in eastern NC (AP) -- A coalition led by North Carolina's NAACP is planning voting rights rallies in eastern North Carolina.
Tillis campaigns in Concord (WBTV-TV) -- North Carolina US Senate Republican Candidate Thom Tillis was in Concord Saturday stumping for votes. He encouraged the crowd to vote early and to bring a friend to the polls. Tillis is in a close race with incumbent Senator Kay Hagan. Tillis tells WBTV his course of action if elected. "The first item on my agenda is to make sure that Harry Reid is not reelected majority leader," Tillis said. "We need to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Candidate with best data wins (Greensboro News & Record) -- Today, campaigns combine technology with door-to-door canvassing to reach the voters.
With Congress stalemate, Hagan, Tillis differ on immigration (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The inability of Congress to resolve how to keep immigration legal, orderly and economically productive is rattling through the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina. It’s a key issue for several important North Carolina industries and institutions, and many backed a bipartisan immigration overhaul bill that was passed by the Senate last year but left to wither in the House of Representatives. Among them: the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte, high-tech companies, universities and the North Carolina Farm Bureau. But when it comes to which party controls the Senate – the marquee question of the midterm elections – politics can trump policy.
Citizenship audit flags 0.02% of registered voters (AP) — Elections officials say a state audit indicates that there may be 0.02% of people on North Carolina voter rolls aren't U.S. citizens — which would render them ineligible to vote. That’s an average of 14 people per county.
Fact Check: Does Tillis' Medicaid flip-flop reflect a flip-flop? (WRAL-TV) -- "The fact that candidates move toward the poles of their party during the primary and back toward the center during a general election is one of those truisms that is really true," said Steve Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University. "This is just a classic example of that." While it doesn't quite rise to level of voting for something before you voted against it, this kind of modification in a candidate's position is nothing new in politics. But it does represent a policy shift that Tillis isn't acknowledging, which earns him a U-Turn on our fact-checking scale.
Republicans Rouzer, Jones hold massive money advantage (Wilmington Star-News) -- Congressional candidates David Rouzer and Walter Jones continue to lead the pack in fundraising.
Negative tone just will not go away (Greensboro News & Record) -- Political action committees and groups not technically connected to candidates all seem pretty off the rails in North Carolina this year.
Hillary Clinton Heckled by DREAMer (Bloomberg News) -- Hillary Clinton publicly faced an immigration-reform activist for the second time in as many months in North Carolina on Saturday, and gave what appeared to be a more practiced response than the one she offered during the last confrontation in Iowa.
U.S. Senate Endorsement to Hagan: Disappointment vs. danger (Charlotte Observer editorial) -- Kay Hagan has done about the minimum you'd expect from a Senator. Tillis has consistently shepherded legislation that is bad for North Carolinians. So the Observer endorses Hagan.
Fjeld for Congress (Greensboro News & Record) -- With Howard Coble retiring, it’s not as easy to choose a representative, but Laura Fjeld seems best-suited to the job.
Children learn to cast ballots at family voting celebration in Durham Raleigh News & Observer) -- Dozens of families turned out for the Kids & Family Early Voting Celebration in downtown Durham. Children learned how to cast ballots at the Durham County library, then marched to a polling site, where parents cast their votes.
POLICY & POLITICS
Former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx faces challenges at DOT (Charlotte Observer) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Charlotte’s former mayor, has dealt with plane crashes, a train explosion and a crisis with America’s biggest car-maker in his first 15 months on the job.
US to recognize same-sex marriage in 6 more states (AP) — The federal government is recognizing gay marriage in six more states, including North Carolina, and extending federal benefits to those couples, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Saturday.
Marriage equality backers accuse Senate chief of 'abuse of power' (WRAL-TV) -- Advocates of same-sex marriage are accusing Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger of abuse of power and a political "stunt" for his continued fight against same-sex marriage in North Carolina.
NC magistrates resign over gay marriage rulings (Charlotte Observer) -- When a federal judge cleared the legal path for same-sex marriage in North Carolina earlier this month, it set off a flurry of weddings and celebrations, mostly in urban areas of the state. But the joy was hardly unanimous, including among some public officials whose jobs include performing marriages. At least six magistrates have quit or announced their resignations since same-sex marriages became legal Oct. 10, the Observer found. Gayle Myrick, 64, a former Union County magistrate, joined magistrates in Gaston, Swain, Graham, Jackson and Rockingham counties who resigned – or announced plans to quit – because of the change in the marriage law. It’s unclear how many other magistrates have similar intentions.
Businesses look to help same-sex couples plan weddings (Raleigh News & Observer) -- North Carolina small businesses, such as Lez Get Married in Durham, are hoping to use the legalization of same-sex marriage as a business opportunity.
State official talks big plans for port (Carteret Times-News) -- The coastal component of Gov. Pat McCrory’s recently announced 25-year vision for infrastructure investment includes deepening and stabilizing the state port’s harbor and Beaufort Inlet at a 50-foot depth, five feet deeper than the current authorized depth. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata delivered that message Friday during a town-hall-style meeting at the train depot at 1001 Arendell St. McCrory’s ambitious package of transportation “solutions needed to make the state more globally competitive” considers the challenges unique to four recognized regions: western, central, eastern and coastal areas of North Carolina.
Bertie County Peanuts poppin' with global growth (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- A dented and charred popcorn popper sitting on the crowded top shelf of the main office of Powell & Stokes farm supply is something of a shrine. The late Jack Powell Sr. began about 40 years ago soaking large peanuts in boiling water, then frying them in oil in the popper. The peanuts blistered into a tasty, crunchy snack. He offered samples to farmers coming to the shop.
Alevo to start production at former Philip Morris plant in Concord (Salisbury Post) -- A big announcement is set for Tuesday at the former Philip Morris cigarette plant in Concord.
Another of Blackbeard's cannons recovered off NC (AP) — State officials say that archaeologists have raised a 600-pound cannon from the wreck of the ship belonging to famed pirate Blackbeard.
NC highway historical marker to honor folklorist (AP) — A newspaper owner, F. Roy Johnson, who also wrote about the history, legends and myths of northeastern North Carolina will be honored with a highway historical marker.
Dr. Ruth is not a feminist but believes ‘women can have it all’ (Washington Post) -- Famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth is out with a new book and has a couple things to say about romance, feminism and the modern world.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
UNC students develop online tool for tracking Ebola outbreak (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A small group of students at UNC-Chapel Hill have developed a smart phone-friendly website that regularly provides updated information on new Ebola cases and deaths in different regions of Liberia.
Schools struggling to find enough bus drivers for routes (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Just about every school day the past 33 years has started and ended at the same place for Glenda Stephens — the lot where she leaves her yellow Thomas Built school bus.
Vouchers already helping N.C. families (Charlotte Observer column) -- The Opportunity Scholarship Program is now being challenged in court by opponents who want to determine its constitutionality – a decision that will ultimately be decided by the North Carolina Supreme Court. It is similar to several other legal challenges being made to school choice programs enacted in the past few years in Southern States including Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Alabama. These school voucher and tax credit programs are helping children escape schools that don’t work for them.
NCSU professor seeks diversity in a field with very little (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Since he came to NC State five years ago as head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Justin Schwartz has worked diligently to create diverse group of scholars, doubling the number of female faculty and hiring its first minority professors.
UNCG students rally against rising college costs and debt (Greensboro News & Record) -- It’s all part of a statewide movement on campuses by the N.C. Student Power Union.
Jones wants to lead ECSU study (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- With state lawmakers expecting plans soon from the University of North Carolina on ways to make Elizabeth City State University “more financially sustainable,” new ECSU Chancellor Stacey Franklin Jones believes she knows just the person to lead the effort: Herself.
UNC scandal ranks among the worst, experts say (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The length of time that UNC-Chapel Hill athletes took bogus classes and the number of athletes involved dwarf related scandals at other universities.
NC Now Among National Leaders in Solar Energy (TWCN-TV) -- A new report shows North Carolina is now a national leader in solar energy. Pew Charitable Trust said our state trails only California and Arizona in overall solar capacity. "We've got more people than any other southeastern state working in this industry and it just continues to grow," said Joel Olsen, president of O2energies. Olsen said North Carolina is seeing a lot of success in the solar industry. "I think it's fantastic. You know, this has been a long time coming," said Olsen. The use of clean and efficient power sources continues to gain popularity. "Solar is coming down in costs dramatically while other sources of energy generation are increasing in costs," said Olsen. Solar farms help increase the county tax base.
Fracking boom prompts gas pipeline development (Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News Journal) -- Spurred by the nation's fracking boom, Dominion proposed in September its largest natural gas pipeline — a nearly $5 billion project to move vast supplies produced in the mid-Atlantic to the Southeast. Dominion and Duke Energy, along with two other partners, are seeking federal approval for a 550-mile pipeline — called the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — that would stretch from Harrison County, West Virginia., through Virginia and North Carolina to Robeson County, near the South Carolina border. "This will be one of the largest pipelines to take advantage of the abundant supply of natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania," says Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle.
Dwane Powell: FrankenThom, Witch Kay and the scary promise of more ads
Economist says N.C. should worry about, not ignore, 300,000 zombie workers (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- There’s a large disconnect in perceptions of the current state of North Carolina’s labor market. Gov. Pat McCrory stated a positive view in a recent address in Chapel Hill: “We’ve had one of the largest drops in unemployment [rates] in the country.” His more general contention was that the state’s labor-market difficulties are “being resolved” by tough choices made by his administration. A contrary view was voiced by a recent letter-writer who said we’re still in the midst of a terrible recession. These views seem contradictory, but it is easy to reconcile the two. McCrory ignores the 300,000 working-age adults who have dropped out of the labor force since 2010. If we assert that they’re gone, our unemployment rate is a high but acceptable 6.8 percent. If we recognize that these are productive residents who have temporarily stopped looking for work, then our unemployment rate is a terrifying 12.4 percent. … We need to resolve the problem of the missing 300,000. Ignoring them or treating them as permanently retired is not satisfactory.
In rural N.C., rough economic realities (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Rural North Carolina faces profound changes brought on by long-term economic trends and more recent policy decisions by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory. Regardless of whether one believes the policy changes are prudent or just civic vandalism, a new way forward must be found.
Why not quarantine Texas? (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Wonder how Texas Gov. Rick Perry or N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis might feel about a domestic travel ban from Ebola afflicted states like Texas? Well, for North Carolina, this might be an opportunity that Tillis, who is seeking a way to ignite his campaign, might ponder backing. There are several benefits to this - from economic opportunities for North Carolina to job creation in Texas.
Liberia, Ebola and UNC (Charlotte Observer column) -- While the Ebola virus has killed thousands in West Africa and raised alarms across the United States, most of us have been able to do little more than watch in horror.
Counties reluctant to join Navy land use study (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Camden and Currituck officials are rightly concerned about the Navy’s plans to expand its long-range radar at its Northwest Annex facility in neighboring Chesapeake, Va.
School board action: Making up for a state shortfall (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system has had to dip into its savings to make up for cuts on the state and local level, the Journal’s Arika Herron recently reported. In related news, Rockingham County has cut hours for its teacher assistants.
'Crowder did it' leaves a lot unexplained at UNC (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- University of North Carolina officials declare that the Wainstein investigation at UNC-Chapel Hill has finally gotten to the bottom of the athletics-academics scandal. Perhaps. But what the university has not done is get to the top of it. Former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein’s report on his eight-month investigation into phony courses that kept athletes, especially football and basketball players, eligible puts the blame squarely on a former administrative assistant in UNC-CH’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies and her boss who failed to intervene. … The Wainstein report is fine, as far as it goes. It tells what happened. It does not, however, fully explain how it could happen for so long on such a broad scale.
Outside cash has too much sway in state (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Outside political advocacy groups have been spending millions of dollars this year to sway the election results in North Carolina. Registered voters are being bombarded with phone calls, mailers, social media messages and a steady, seemingly never-ending stream of increasingly negative television commercials, all aimed at getting you to vote their way. From the Koch brothers to Michael Bloomberg, from Planned Parenthood to the anti-abortion Women Speak Out PAC, campaign spending in North Carolina – and across the country – is spiraling out of control to obscene levels.
'Yes' on transportation will help keep traffic moving (Wilmington Star-News) -- City residents have a chance to alleviate some traffic problems by approving a $44 million bond issue.
Celia Rivenbark - Whatever happened to giving mom a bit of a heads-up? (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Oops. A little heads-up would've been nice.