Thursday News: Winds of change

NEW POLL HAS LINDA COLEMAN LEADING GEORGE HOLDING BY ONE POINT: Republican Rep. George Holding’s campaign said last month that polling showed he was narrowly trailing in his re-election bid. Now Democratic challenger Linda Coleman has a poll of her own with a similar finding. A new poll, paid for by the Coleman campaign, shows Coleman leading Holding by a single percentage point, 45 percent to 44 percent. Libertarian candidate Jeff Matemu is polling at 5 percent and 6 percent of voters are undecided, according to the poll, which the campaign provided first to The News & Observer. Coleman, a former Wake County commissioner, has lost two bids for lieutenant governor to Dan Forest, including in 2016. Holding holds an edge in fundraising, though an outside group has been running ads hitting Holding over health care. With the race tightening, the district is getting more national attention in the battle to win control of the House.

DOJ'S UNPRECEDENTED SUBPOENA OF VOTER RECORDS COULD CRIPPLE ELECTION BOARDS: Wake's subpoena asked for: "Any and all poll books, e-poll books, voting records, and/or voter authorization documents, and executed official ballots (including absentee official ballots), that were submitted to, filed by, received by, and/or maintained by the Wake County board of Elections from August 30, 2013, through August 30, 2018." The State Board subpoena goes back further, seeking voter registrations and other documents back to 2010. Election day ballots can't be traced back to individual voters, but early and absentee votes can be, according to the state board. The board said it queried its databases Wednesday and believes the local boards have access to 2.27 million ballots traceable to voters who cast them and another 3.37 million that can't be connected to individual voters.

JD WOOTEN BLASTS RICK GUNN OVER REFUSAL TO EXPAND MEDICAID: In the caption of a video posted to Facebook, Wooten said, “My opponent, Rick Gunn, blocked the expansion of Medicaid — costing half a million people health insurance, including at least 23,000 veterans.” Wooten is mostly correct on the first two charges and close to correct on the third. Gunn co-sponsored a 2013 bill that rejected Medicaid expansion, so even if he was not solely responsible for blocking expansion, he played a role in it. Experts agree this is costing approximately 500,000 North Carolinians the chance at receiving health coverage. That would include many veterans, although the exact number is less clear than Wooten suggested. But given the available research, Wooten’s number seems reasonable. PolitiFact rates this statement Mostly True.

PORK PRODUCER SMITHFIELD SHUTTING DOWN CLAYTON DISTRIBUTION CENTER: Smithfield Foods is closing a North Carolina meat distribution center and laying off about 100 employees. The state Commerce Department posted a notice Wednesday in which Smithfield Foods said it will close the operation in the Johnston County town of Clayton by the end of next month. Most of the workers being laid off are warehouse operators and supervisors. Smithfield Foods' extensive pork-raising operations in North Carolina have made news this summer. The world's largest pork processor has lost three federal lawsuits and jurors decided it should pay more than $500 million in damages to neighbors who complained of intense nuisances from odors, flies and rumbling trucks at industrial-scale hog operations.

TRUMP FURIOUS OVER ANONYMOUS OP-ED WRITER: An opinion piece in The New York Times by an anonymous senior administration official claiming to be part of a "resistance" working "from within" to thwart President Donald Trump's "worst inclinations" set off a wild guessing game inside and outside the White House on the author's identity. On Wednesday night, Trump tweeted a demand that if "the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!" To some, the ultimatum appeared to play into the very concerns about the president's impulses raised by the essay's author. Trump has demanded that aides identify the leaker, according to two people familiar with the matter, though it was not yet clear how they might go about doing so. The two were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.