WALKER CAMPAIGN BRAGS ABOUT RECORD-BREAKING $650,000 PENCE LUNCHEON: U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and other North Carolina Republicans believe his April 20 luncheon with Vice President Mike Pence in Greensboro was the most lucrative fundraising event for a U.S. House race in state history. "By being the first to bring Vice President Pence to our state and raising more than $650,000 in a single lunch event – one of the largest congressional fundraisers in North Carolina history – he has established himself as a critical leader in helping conservatives retain majorities both statewide and nationally," said Jack Minor Jr., a Walker spokesman. The $650,000 total roughly equaled the total his campaign had raised so far, according to campaign filings through March.
GOP POWER GRABS CONTINUE, SHIFTING JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS FROM GOVERNOR TO THE LEGISLATURE: Republican lawmakers dusted off proposals Friday to move judicial appointment powers from Gov. Roy Cooper to the General Assembly, bringing a pair of bills that passed the House last year before an off-session committee studying judicial redistricting. Supporters said the process would be more transparent, with public comment and debate before a legislative committee before a judge is named. Gubernatorial appointments are made in secret, "behind the iron fence of the governor's mansion," state Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, said Friday. The District Court judge bill would let the speaker of the house and president pro tem of the Senate name judges, though, when a vacancy occurs and the legislature is not in session.
ACTIVISTS DISRUPT HENDERSONVILLE PICNIC WHERE ICE AGENTS WERE CELEBRATING IMMIGRATION ROUND-UPS: In Facebook Live videos, protesters can be heard shouting, “Stop deportations!” and “Our friends and neighbors are under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back!” as they surrounded the shelter. Bruno Hinojosa, co-director of Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (Companions of Mountain Migrants in Action), organized the protest. He said he believed the picnic was a celebration of the recent immigration raids in Western North Carolina, according to local news reports. “It’s not right,” he said. “How can you have a celebration after families have been separated, after the community has been under fear. To me that’s what it is. It’s shameful that they’re having some sort of celebration after what happened over the weekend.”
CHARLOTTE MAY BE THE ONLY MAJOR CITY ACTUALLY WANTING TO HOST 2020 RNC: In its original bid documents, the RNC told Charlotte the deadline for bidding was Feb. 28. But the RNC has extended that deadline, though it did not say why. The Observer has reached out to a number of other large cities, many of them in swing states. Orlando; Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; and Pittsburgh have said they are not bidding. The RNC said it “has a long-standing practice not to comment on the selection process this early.” When Charlotte hosted the DNC, the local host committee was responsible for raising about $37 million – and fell short by $8 million. Bid documents released by the CRVA show that the Republicans expect the host city to raise between $68 million and $70 million. That’s based on how much was needed for the 2016 RNC in Cleveland.
CORDIAL KOREAN SUMMIT LEAVES NUCLEAR QUESTION UNANSWERED: Despite its feel-good emphasis on relationship-building, the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade left a lot of question marks around the biggest and most contentious agenda item of them all: denuclearization. And that puts the ball squarely in the court of President Donald Trump, whose much anticipated sit-down with Kim is expected to be just weeks away. For Moon and Kim, that was probably a feature, not a bug. They were both looking to make a show of Korean unity. But it could complicate matters for Trump, who has raised expectations of a deal with Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons much higher. In the long run, that could complicate things for everyone involved.