CHERI BEASLEY NOW LEADS PAUL NEWBY IN CHIEF JUSTICE RACE: The race for Supreme Court chief justice changed leaders Thursday as county boards of election continued to count absentee ballots. Since Election Day on Nov. 3, Justice Paul Newby, a Republican, led incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley but Beasley took over that lead by 1,101 votes, according to unofficial returns at 9:38 p.m. on the State Board of Elections website. Newby and Beasley both hold seats on the Supreme Court bench but their terms expire at the end of the year. County Boards of Elections have been meeting to count votes in recent days and have updated results in increments. They’re expected to canvass votes Nov. 13. The race was one of six statewide races that was too close to call on Election Night, The News & Observer reported.
POOR FAMILIES HAVE SECOND CHANCE TO APPLY FOR $335 RELIEF: Low-income families have nearly another month to apply for a $335 stimulus payment set aside for parents with school-aged children. Generally that threshold is $10,000 for an individual or $20,000 for a married couple. Many didn't know about the program, according to the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, which filed a lawsuit to extend that deadline. The group struck a deal with the state Department of Revenue and will now work to get the word out. The deadline was extended to December 7, and this new round of applications will go through the Center, not the Department of Revenue. A total of $440 million was set aside for the program. Roughly $650,000 million will be set aside under the lawsuit agreement for the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and its partners to advertise the grants and sign people up.
HAMP FILES LAWSUIT TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE STATUES FROM NC COURTHOUSES: As of now, some 40 monuments to the old Confederacy stand at or near county courthouses in North Carolina. More than 150 Confederate symbols are displayed on public property across the state, a number that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, trails only Georgia and Virginia. Durham attorney Hampton Dellinger, who is helping represent a group of plaintiffs that include three Gaston County residents and the county chapter of the NAACP, says all of the monuments violate the N.C. Constitution. “Every day, citizens, judges, jurors, attorneys, have to go past symbols of white supremacy to enter a courthouse that promises to be impartial and colorblind,” Dellinger told The Observer on Thursday. “You know, District Court is the people’s court, but these are not monuments to the people. These were monuments established in white supremacy, and it’s time for them to go.”
7 KILLED IN NORTH CAROLINA DUE TO FLASH FLOODING FROM ETA: One of the hardest-hit areas was Alexander County, about an hour north of Charlotte, where emergency responders said they found the bodies of three people and evacuated 31 others from a campground. As of 4 p.m., an adult and a child were still missing from the Hiddenite Family Campground, said the authorities, who reported that a fourth person in Alexander County had been killed in a car when floodwaters destroyed a bridge. At least four bridges and 50 roadways in Alexander County were breached by the floodwaters, the authorities said. Amber Roberts, a television reporter for Fox 46 Charlotte, was live on the air when one of the bridges collapsed in front of her. A video of the journalist’s close call drew widespread attention on social media. In Rolesville, N.C., which is about 15 miles northeast of Raleigh, N.C., a child who witnesses said had been playing near an overflowed creek drowned on Thursday, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter. At 5:45 a.m., the driver and passenger in a Ford Ranger pickup were killed when their vehicle hydroplaned on Highway 115 (the Wilkesboro Highway), crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming Jeep Wrangler, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said. Officials said that the pickup was traveling too fast for the conditions and that both men were not wearing seatbelts. The flooding was a result of a cold front in the area mixing with “deep tropical moisture” as a result of Tropical Storm Eta, which battered both coasts of Florida for days as it moved north, according to a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.
PRO-TRUMP CONSPIRACY NUTS TO CONVERGE ON DC THIS WEEKEND: The rallies, which include a Women for Trump event, a “Million MAGA March” and a “Stop the Steal” demonstration — which falsely asserts that voter fraud cost Trump the election — will begin Saturday morning in and around Freedom Plaza. The pro-Trump rallies have garnered support from Fox News host Sean Hannity as well as more fringe figures, including Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys; self-described “American Nationalist” and social media agitator Nicholas Fuentes; conservative provocateur Jack Posobiec, who promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory tied to the 2016 shooting at D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong; Scott Presler, a pro-Trump activist who works with anti-Muslim group ACT for America; and Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones has said he is leading a “Stop the Steal” caravan from Texas that is expected to arrive Friday night in the nation’s capital. Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller responded to a tweet Thursday in support of the rally, saying, “Love the outpouring of support for @realDonaldTrump!” A handful of anti-Trump rallies have also been announced, including one near Union Station organized by local activists and a protest involving Refuse Fascism D.C., which has said it intends to stand against “the Trump regime's attempts to steal the election.” Local activists are taking precautions as they prepare for Saturday, including efforts to safeguard the living monument at Black Lives Matter Plaza that has grown on and around the tall chain-link fence encircling Lafayette Square. Last month, a group of Trump supporters in D.C. for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings tore down a number of the signs. Activists rebuilt the memorial the next day, and several have been standing guard since.