VOTING RIGHTS A MAJOR THEME DURING HKonJ MORAL MARCH: “They don’t want us to vote,” Spearman said, “because they know that when we vote, we win.” The Shelby decision also resonated with people in the crowd. Elaine Farrior came to Raleigh from Duplin County with her daughter. Farrior says she has attended every HKonJ march and participated in civil rights marches at N.C. A&T University in the 1960s. The seemingly constant series of lawsuits about voting rights in North Carolina is frustrating, she said. “It hurts,” she said. “And I’m supposed to be a citizen that’s born with the same rights as every other citizen? But yet I’ve still got to keep fighting for the same right to vote?” Farrior also expressed frustration about her efforts to reach out to politicians on both the state and federal level, saying she doesn’t ever receive a personalized response and is added to what she called the officials’ “propaganda list.”
SECOND HALF OF 2019 SAW $30 MILLION RAISED FOR STATE GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS: The $30 million-plus total is a conservative tally of what rolled into campaign accounts during the second half of last year, the period covered by reports due to the state late last week. WRAL News worked to back out double counts, removing money that simply moved, for example, from a legislator's campaign account to a political party's. The tally covers only groups that file with the State Board of Elections, not the congressional, U.S. Senate and presidential campaigns that will dominate state airwaves ahead of the 2020 elections. Nor does it include the dark money groups, named for sections of the U.S. tax code, that can accept unlimited money, often from anonymous donors, and spend it on advertising. "That big jump largely reflects the big stakes in 2020 – intense campaigns for governor, General Assembly and other offices, plus control over the next round of redistricting following the 2020 census," Hall said in an email. "It also reflects the increased intensity of the business of campaigning – more professionals and campaign staff raising and spending more money sooner ... more national operatives who view North Carolina as a pivotal purple state."
FOUR NC RESIDENTS WHO RETURNED FROM CHINA BEING MONITORED FOR CORONAVIRUS: North Carolina health officials said four people who recently returned to Charlotte from China are being monitored for coronavirus symptoms. The four were being held in self-quarantine, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Department. County Manager Dena Diorio told WRAL-TV that the four people — who have not been identified publicly — are considered “medium risk” for development of novel coronavirus. Diorio said the four were sent home for a voluntary, 14-day self-quarantine. They do not currently have any symptoms, she said. She said the health department will contact each with information and guidance, and will monitor them for 14 days from their last possible exposure to the virus. The outbreak that began in China has infected more than 34,800 people globally. More than 700 people in China have died.
BIDEN AND WARREN ARE FIGHTING OVER 3RD PLACE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: With Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg battling to win Tuesday's primary here and seize the momentum in a highly unpredictable race, another drama is playing out with serious implications for the other high-profile candidates in the Democrats' once-sprawling field. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is facing the prospect of losing badly in a state neighboring her home of Massachusetts, while Joe Biden’s campaign is bracing for another potentially humiliating defeat and, as a result, a new round of anxiety among its top donors and questions about the viability of a former vice president once seen as the Democrats’ best hope to defeat President Trump. The grim question facing Warren and Biden is not whether they can win New Hampshire, according to strategists, but how low they will finish — and what that result would mean for their candidacies. A finish of fourth place or lower by Biden in New Hampshire would also likely give a boost to the campaign of former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg (D), who has cast himself as the chief “establishment” alternative to Sanders and who is forgoing the early states in favor of the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.
TRUMP'S BUDGET PROPOSAL INCLUDES MASSIVE CUTS TO SOCIAL SAFETY NET: The president’s plan includes what officials described as $4.4 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, with about $2 trillion coming from changes to safety net programs and student loan initiatives. Those reductions encompass new work requirements for Medicaid, federal housing assistance and food stamp recipients, which are estimated to cut nearly $300 billion in spending from the programs. The budget will also cut spending on federal disability insurance benefits by $70 billion and on student loan forgiveness by $170 billion. The budget will propose cutting foreign aid spending by 21 percent and, as in previous budgets, eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It would cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget by 9 percent but increase funding levels for the center’s infectious disease activities. It targets specific programs, including some at the National Institutes of Health, for cuts. The budget also assumes Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts are extended for 10 years: It includes $1.4 trillion to extend the individual tax cuts to 2035.