Daily dose: Here comes Hillary edition

Hillary Clinton to campaign for Hagan (AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will campaign for Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan at an early vote event in Charlotte. Hagan's campaign said Saturday that Clinton will participate in the early vote event Oct. 25 at the Charlotte Convention Center. Early voting begins two days earlier, on Thursday, Oct. 23. Tickets are required and are free. They're available at various campaign offices in the Charlotte region.

Hillary Clinton to Join Hagan at Charlotte Early Voting Event (TWCN-TV) -- Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton will join Sen. Kay Hagan in Charlotte for an early voting event Oct. 25, the Hagan campaign announced Saturday.

Early voting time cut by 40 hours (Hendersonville Times-News) -- The General Assembly voted last year to reduce one-stop voting from 17 days to 10 days, stipulating that early voting sites remain open the same cumulative hours as before. But the law allowed counties to request exemptions, and Henderson was among 30 counties that did. While there'll be roughly 40 fewer hours of early voting available this general election than in 2012, county Elections Director Beverly Cunningham said extended hours and additional touch-screen machines will offset the reduced hours.

Early voting starts Thursday across NC (Charlotte Observer) -- Early voting starts Thursday across North Carolina in an election headlined by one of the nation’s most-watched U.S. Senate races.

Black Vote Last Hope for Dems to Hold Senate (New York Times) -- The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls. “African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.” Republicans, who are expanding outreach to African-Americans in states like North Carolina and Georgia, have their own aggressive get-out-the-vote effort, mindful of the success of the Obama campaign, which turned out voters in record numbers. Black voters made history in 2012, exit polling and census data show, when they turned out at a rate higher than whites to help re-elect Mr. Obama. But fewer voters go to polls in midterm elections. In 2010, a disastrous year for Democrats, blacks voted at a rate lower than whites, creating a “turnout gap.”

As campaigns enter stretch run, Ebola, other twists set stage for drama (Washington Post) -- Republicans are bullish that they will win control of the Senate, make small gains in the House and retain many governor’s offices this year. But just over two weeks from Election Day, fears about Ebola and Islamic State militants, along with sudden, surprising scrambles in key states, have added new volatility to the 2014 campaign. The political climate clearly favors Republicans, buoyed by President Obama’s record-low popularity and a voter-enthusiasm advantage. However, the kind of wave that lifted Republicans in 1994 and 2010 has eluded them, in part because the GOP brand also is damaged.

High court balks at last-minute voting changes (AP) — The Supreme Court has allowed Texas to use its strict voter ID law in the November election even after a federal judge said the law was the equivalent of a poll tax and threatened to deprive many blacks and Latinos of the right to vote this year.

In Judge’s Footnote, a Heavy Slap at Texas’ Past (New York Times) -- The state’s credibility issue on minority voters’ rights was made clear in a federal judge’s ruling that a voter ID law was unconstitutional. … Consider this one in a ruling by a federal judge in Corpus Christi, Tex., that the state’s voter photo ID law is unconstitutional: “The Texas Legislature did not vote to ratify the 24th Amendment’s abolition of the poll tax until the 2009 legislative session,” and “the process has not been completed and the measure last went to the Secretary of State.” … Consider this one in a ruling by a federal judge in Corpus Christi, Tex., that the state’s voter photo ID law is unconstitutional: “The Texas Legislature did not vote to ratify the 24th Amendment’s abolition of the poll tax until the 2009 legislative session,” and “the process has not been completed and the measure last went to the Secretary of State.”

Did allegations in Hagan stimulus story stretch truth, miss target? (WRAL-TV) -- Republicans are hammering incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan with the fact her husband's company landed stimulus grants after she voted for the bill. Hagan says it is Republican Thom Tillis who has conflict of interest problems.

Financial companies find friends in Hagan, Tillis (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The financial industry has found an attractive investment in the N.C. Senate race. Whether it’s federal regulation of the nation’s biggest banks or state laws governing consumer loans, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and state House Speaker Thom Tillis have lent receptive ears to the people running financial companies large and small. In February and March of 2013, 22 Citibank executives, lobbyists and the bank’s PAC gave $36,500 to Hagan’s political campaign. In the midst of this giving, Hagan, a Democrat, introduced a bill allowing federally insured banks to trade extensively in the $700 trillion market for swaps, which played a central role in the 2008 financial crisis. In June 2013, the state House passed a bill allowing finance companies to make bigger personal loans at higher interest rates. House speakers seldom cast votes, but Tillis, a Republican, voted yes. Two weeks later, the principal advocate for this bill, his wife and his mother – all principals in North Carolina’s largest consumer finance company – gave $7,700 to Tillis’ Senate campaign, $100 below the legal maximum contribution. The consumer-loan industry has given Tillis’ campaign nearly $70,000.

Tillis-Hagan showdown could be nation’s most expensive Senate race ever (Charlotte Observer) -- Spending from Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis and outside groups is poised to top $103 million, which could outpace other races.

Hagan picking up campaigning in NC Senate race (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is picking up the pace on her retail politics in the final two weeks of her re-election campaign. The Greensboro Democrat planned what she called a "North Carolina First" tour that will take her from the mountains to the coast as the number of days before Election Day dwindles. The first stops were scheduled Sunday at a biofuels distributor in Asheville and at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte.

GOP targets Dem House districts that backed Romney (AP) — Republicans are waging a take-no-prisoners battle to boot Democrats from what they consider GOP property: seats from House districts that presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried in 2012.

Democrats come to Asheville to tout change statewide (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- As Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer welcomed a banquet hall full of Democrats to Asheville, she noted the sunny weather and clear skies Saturday. The N.C. Democratic Party hopes the outlook for Election Day is as bright for its candidates. With Election Day about two weeks away, Manheimer told attendees at the Western Gala 2014 she’s eager to see change in the political climate, especially since Asheville has been in the crossfire of state legislation. “North Carolina thought it wanted to change about four years ago, and it’s regretted it ever since, I can tell,” she said. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Attorney General Roy Cooper were among the prominent names in attendance at the Asheville Renaissance Hotel. Patsy Keever, first vice chair of the state party, spoke about raising money to support the candidates. Larry Blythe, vice chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, talked about winning elections to remove Republican control.

Parties fight over legislative seats, but control will stay with GOP (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Joe Stewart, executive director of the N.C. Free Enterprise Foundation, a nonpartisan research group that closely tracks legislative races, said he believes it’s more likely that Democrats and Republicans will swap a few districts across the state without much net change in the chambers’ head counts. “I just don’t imagine at this point that the numbers after Nov. 4 are much different than they are now,” he said. One reason Republicans will maintain control is the startling lack of seats being seriously contested. Only about 20 of the 120 House districts and a dozen of the 50 Senate districts across the state are at all competitive this year, political experts agree.

NC plays key role in Senate balance (Greensboro News & Record) -- When you tick a box for Thom Tillis, Kay Hagan or Sean Haugh on Election Day, you will help decide the balance of power in Washington. North Carolina is among a handful of states where Republicans have a chance to unseat incumbent Democrats in U.S. Senate races.

Will gay marriage affect vote outcome? (Greensboro News & Record) -- What effect — if any — will the lifting of North Carolina's gay marriage ban have on November's elections?

Tight District 9 Senate race making for intense campaign (Wilmington Star-News) -- Add a wave of political ads and negative fliers and the race is among the more high-profile contests in the region.

Richardson accused of misleading ad by GOP chairwoman Devore (Fayetteville Observer) -- The chairwoman of the Cumberland County Republican Party has accused Billy Richardson, a Democrat, of misleading voters

Poll shows Moffitt, Turner in dead heat (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- A new poll says Rep. Tim Moffitt and Brian Turner are in a dead

Apodaca, Wood running for NC Senate (Hendersonville Times-News) -- N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) faces School Board member Rick Wood, a Democrat, in the general election. The Times-News asked each candidate four questions and allowed answers of up to 200 words for each.

Charlotte police investigators secretly track cellphones (Charlotte Observer) -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg police use a secretive surveillance system that collects information from cellphones and wireless devices to locate crime suspects but also gathers data from innocent people.

Film advocates dubious about new NC incentives (AP) — Advocates of North Carolina's film industry say even though one television series has agreed to return to the state, not many other movies or TV shows are likely to follow.

Mecklenburg issued most same sex-marriage licenses in NC (Charlotte Observer) -- Mecklenburg County issued a record number of marriage licenses last week as gay and lesbian couples flocked to the register of deeds office during the first full week of legalized same-sex marriages in North Carolina.

At Service for Ebola Victim, Relatives Recall Gentle, Generous Man (New York Times) -- Family and friends bid farewell at a North Carolina church on Saturday to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who was the first person to die of Ebola in the United States. Mr. Duncan’s mother sat weeping with other relatives in the front row of the small, red-carpeted sanctuary of the church they attend here, Rowan International Church. About 30 other congregants stood and sang, “I must tell Jesus all of my trials,” and, “We have a God who never fails.”

First US Ebola victim remembered for compassion (AP) — Thomas Eric Duncan was remembered Saturday at the Rowan International Church as a big-hearted and compassionate man whose virtues may have led to his infection with Ebola in his native Liberia and subsequent death as the first victim of the disease in the United States.

McCrory attends Electrolux's 25th anniversary celebration (WITN-TV) – Gov. Pat McCrory attended an anniversary celebration for a Kinston dishwasher plant today. Electrolux held a special celebration to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its plant in Kinston. Over 30 employees who have worked at the plant since it opened in 1989 were recognized for their contributions. McCrory was joined by Jack Truong, president and CEO of Electrolux Major Appliances North America.

McCrory helps mark milestone (Kinston Free Press) -- Electrolux plant celebrates 25 years.

Wright Brothers' niece recalls family stories (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) — Amanda Wright Lane recalled how 50 some years ago, her third-grade teacher said the Wright brothers were the first to fly.

NC’s questionable coal ash policies (New Bern Sun Journal) -- Recently, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), under an executive order from Gov. Pat McCrory, issued a memorandum allowing Duke Energy to pump wastewater containing concentrated levels of lead, mercury, arsenic, and selenium directly from their 32 coal ash ponds into our public waters.

Apodaca, Wood running for NC Senate (Hendersonville Times-News) -- The Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 has been hailed for forcing Duke Energy to clean up its unlined coal ash ponds, but several unresolved questions remain, including whether Duke will pass on costs of cleanup to its ratepayers. Does Raleigh need to follow up with further coal ash legislation and if so, what should it address? APODACA: North Carolina is the first state in the country to crack down on the use of coal ash ponds. Along with my House colleague, Chuck McGrady, we led the fight to pass the nation's toughest law. Duke Energy is responsible for cleaning up the mess and preventing any future problems. The experts on the state's Utilities Commission - not politicians - should decide on the exact framework for cost recovery. I do anticipate the legislature will review additional improvements to this complicated issue in the coming years to ensure our waterways are protected.

Earthquake data underscore fracking risk (Rocky Mount Telegram editorial) -- It was either an ironic coincidence or a portent of things to come that nearly 200,000 North Carolinians last week participated in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills just a few days after a geological study linked hydraulic fracking to more than 400 tremors last year in Ohio.

NC Supreme Court takes Hofmann Forest sale appeal (AP) — The Supreme Court has taken up the appeal over the sale of North Carolina State University's Hofmann Forest, a working forest in Onslow and Jones counties.

Other warnings McCrory should concern himself with (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory made headlines overseas after he asked the French and Irish ambassadors to the United States to stop new cigarette packaging regulations in their countries.

NC market needs and a patient investment in higher education (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The travails of digital typesetters – and Labor Department forecasters – came to mind while listening to Gov. Pat McCrory speak at UNC-Chapel Hill earlier this month. He had kind words for the university’s history and a starker vision for its future. “To ensure we get a return on our investment, universities must decrease the job gap,” he said, “by honing in on the skills and subjects employers need.” If higher education fails to meet the demands of business, he warned, companies will pick up and move elsewhere.… The trouble arises in defining “useful” and deciding how and when to measure the returns on an education. The governor’s formulation – “Universities must adapt to ever-changing market needs” – casts the state as a fickle investor, angling for short-term gains. Today’s urgent market needs are tomorrow’s bygone career, as a lot of former typesetters can tell you. The best investors don’t care who’s up and who’s down at the end of the quarter; they’re holding for the long run. And a university education is very much a long-run bet. It’s not about the first job, or the second. It’s about the whole arc of a long and varied career. Or, if we can allow ourselves to think a little larger, a full and meaningful life.

FEC veteran laments 'dark money' in elections (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Ellen L. Weintraub, a longtime commissioner on the Federal Elections Commission, thinks the FEC’s six commissioners should get out more. Certainly there’s not much point in their staying holed up in Washington. They’re hopelessly split, with three Democrats and three Republicans, and getting almost nothing done.

Broadwell: Does Rip Van Winkle rule the roost? (Fayetteville Observer column) -- We will look back on this historic shift in Tar Heel State politics and think: Look at what we did! Or... What the heck did they do? Your choice will depend on which side of the fence you're on, or as we would put it here: Are you for it or against it? I know where Jim Leutze stands on the Republican takeover in Raleigh. You can tell that from the title of his new book from Triton Press, "Entering North Carolina: Set Clocks Back 100 Years." I read it in a flash after hearing from the author that he would be speaking in Southern Pines last week. I knew Dr. Leutze first as a professor of American military history at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Book eyes state of N.C. politics (Wilmington Star-News) – “I want my state back,” James R. Leutze said. Leutze, who was chancellor of UNC-Wilmington from 1990 to 2003, is not exactly happy with the trends in North Carolina politics since 2010, when Republicans took control of both houses of the state legislature, and 2012, when they took the governorship as well. Now, the veteran historian has offered a critique of those years in "Entering North Carolina: Set Clocks Back 100 Years," published this summer by Triton Press of Oxford, Miss

For Congress: Clay Aiken (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Of the two candidates vying to represent North Carolina’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives, neither has a strong background in politics. Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers spent 21 years as a nurse before her first election in 2010. And Democratic challenger Clay Aiken first caught the nation’s attention a decade ago as a singer on “American Idol.”

Hagan for Senate (Greensboro News & Record) -- The Democrat from Greensboro has promoted the interests of ordinary people. Her opponent has not.

Tillis best for Senate (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- The nation must move beyond the failed policies and partisan gridlock that have served to stagnate incomes and slow economic recovery by stopping the wheels of government, most notably in the Senate. North Carolina can best contribute to facilitating that change by electing Thom Tillis on Nov. 4.

Endorsements 2014: Congressional races (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Early voting begins Thursday, leading up to Election Day, Nov. 4. Today, we begin our endorsements in national, state and local races. They will run through Thursday.

Courts and bishops promote tolerance (Raleigh News & Observer) -- In a busy two weeks of change, federal courts and Roman Catholic bishops defend and reach out to gay people.

Magistrate's anti-gay marriage actions bad, pols’ worse (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- With North Carolina’s doomed fight against same-sex marriage in its final death throes last week, it seemed fitting that an act born of ignorance, fear and bigotry would be followed by one of compassion and magnanimity.

Sanderson Farms wrong for Cumberland County (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Thank you, Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker, for giving our county commissioners the option to say no to Sanderson Farms by saying "if the commissioners do reject the Sanderson proposal, it would not affect the county's chances of getting more prospects from the state in the future." Although we do need jobs, there are so many problems associated with this industry.

Candidates disrespectful of voters (Washington Post column) -- The Republican strategy boils down to yoking your Democratic opponent as tightly as possible to Obama. The champion may be North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis, who managed, in the course of an hourlong debate with incumbent Kay Hgan, to cram in 10 references to her voting with Obama 96 percent of the time.

A long history of deceptions in elections (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Americans for Prosperity has said that it did not intentionally send thousands of mailers with false information about voter registration to North Carolina voters last month. “A few minor administrative errors,” organization spokesman Joshua Lawson told MSNBC.

How to talk to kids about Cannon (Charlotte Observer column) -- Last week’s events sadden Charlotte. Sentencing former mayors on public corruption charges never should cause much rejoicing. Patrick Cannon – and the citizens whose trust he violated – at least began to get some measure of justice.

With 3 weeks to go, let's analyze electorate (Salisbury Post column) -- With three weeks to go, a lot of prognostication is going on in the political analysis universe. Some analysts like to attach “chances are” percentages to their predictions, while others take a broader approach (read, less quantitative) in their gazing into what Election Day will bring us. … I tend to look at the lead-up to the Tuesday following the first Monday in November through general trends and patterns. For the final few weeks, there are a couple of key trends and patterns to focus on. First, for the U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and challenger Republican Thom Tillis, the pattern is one of constant consistency in the polling. … This brings up the pattern of “who shows up,” or voter turnout, and what we know in North Carolina is that registered partisan voters will have higher turnout rates than the unaffiliated voter, especially in mid-term elections. For both 2006 and 2010, registered Democrats and Republicans had turnout rates of 40 to 50 percent. For registered unaffiliated voters, it was either 28 or 33 percent, and those were in “wave” election years.

Is American dream still alive? (Charlotte Observer column) -- Shortly before Judge Frank Whitney sentenced former Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon to prison last week, he took note of Cannon’s extraordinary climb from humble beginnings.

Celia Rivenbark - Services for dogs border on lunacy (Wilmington Star-News column) -- There's a sucker born every minute that will pay just about anything to keep his dog happy.

Tillis race should make McCrory nervous (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- What is happening is that Obama’s unpopularity is being trumped by the Republican legislature’s unpopularity. North Carolina’s middle-of-the road electorate is expressing its displeasure at what Tillis calls the “conservative revolution” in Raleigh. All of this is being nervously watched by GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who will likely face re-election in two years.

In sex, only yes means yes (Charlotte Observer column) -- If we want to end the threat of sexual abuse in our nation’s colleges and universities, prevention must begin long before a student ever arrives on campus.