Daily dose

Daily Dose: Reading tea leaves

The New York Times focuses again on North Carolina this morning, wrapped in a measured view of what's likely to happen on the national stage as well. Check it out.

It might be a tad hyperbolic to call them the Final Five, but it is increasingly clear that races in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas and North Carolina will be the most crucial in determining which party controls the Senate. Here is where they stand: … North Carolina: Thom Tillis, the State House speaker, has not lived up to what Republicans expected, and Kay Hagan, the Democratic incumbent, has proved remarkably durable. If Ms. Hagan can hold off Mr. Tillis, there is unlikely to be a national wave.

Daily dose: Money, money, money edition

ONE STOP VOTING AS OF SUN. OCT. 26: 326,042 votes cast; 48% Democrat; 31 percent GOP; 20% Unaffiliated/other

CAMPAIGN 2014
Are Our Courts for Sale? (New York Times column) -- One of the most shocking ads aired this political season was aimed at a woman named Robin Hudson. Hudson, 62, is not a congressional or Senate candidate. Rather, she is a State Supreme Court justice in North Carolina, seeking her second eight-year term. It wasn’t all that long ago when, in North Carolina, judicial races were publicly financed. … This ad in North Carolina, which aired during the primary season, was a startling departure. First, the money came from an organization called Justice for All NC — which, in turn, was funded primarily by the Republican State Leadership Committee. That is to say, it was the kind of post-Citizens United money that has flooded the political system and polluted our politics. And then there was its substance. “We want judges to protect us,” the ad began. The voice-over went on to say that when child molesters sued to stop electronic monitoring, Judge Hudson had “sided with the predators.” It was a classic attack ad. Not surprisingly, the truth was a bit different.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/opinion/joe-nocera-are-our-courts-for-sale.html

Daily dose: Rick Perry is roadkill edition

Rick Perry Compared N.C. Barbecue to 'Roadkill’ (LA Times) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry is learning all kinds of ways that words can come back to haunt a guy. … Perry’s in hot water in North Carolina for a remark he made all the way back in 1992, when he was Texas agriculture commissioner and Houston was hosting the Republican National Convention. According to "Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue," in 1992 he tried some Eastern North Carolina barbecue from King's of Kinston, which was served at the Republican National Convention in Houston. "I've had road kill that tasted better than that," Perry was quoted as saying. … “People across North Carolina are outraged over a presidential candidate's comments on ENC [Eastern North Carolina] barbecue,” said a story on the website of WCTI-TV, the region's ABC affiliate. ENC barbecue is known for smoking the whole hog and dousing it with a vinegar-based sauce. (Western North Carolina is known for using pork shoulders with a tomato-based sauce. In South Carolina, the preference for a mustard-based sauce makes North Carolinians crazy.)
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/27/news/la-pn-perry-barbecue-carolina-20110927

EARLY VOTING THROUGH SAT. OCT 25 – TOTAL 283,758; 49% Democrats; 30% Republicans; 20% Libertarians and Unaffiliated. The early vote total is 82% of where 2010 was on the same day. But, remember in 2010 there were 7 additional extra days of in-person early voting.

Daily dose: The $100 million-dollar Senate seat edition

Tillis, Hagan campaign ads take state into new realm (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- This is what a Senate race looks like when money is no object. The North Carolina Senate race is expected to pass the $100 million mark this year, blowing past the old record of $76 million spent in Massachusetts when Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown in 2012. But that will come as no surprise to anybody who has turned on their TV lately and seen a steady rat-a-tat-tat of attack ads – some of which actually contain grains of truth. But is anybody paying attention to the TV blitz? And is anybody benefiting beyond the TV station owners and shareholders?
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/10/25/4256331/christensen-tillis-hagan-campaign.html

Daily dose: Rick Perry's gunboat floats into town, sinks

Rick Perry at NC BBQ to help Senate hopeful Tillis (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged North Carolina Republicans Friday to work to elect Thom Tillis' to the U.S. Senate, saying his arrival will usher in a GOP majority in the chamber that can force the hand of President Barack Obama to fortify American foreign policy. Worried over the rise of the Islamic State and the Ebola virus and angry about the government's response to both, Republicans at what's billed as "North Carolina's Largest Political Rally" cheered as Perry, Gov. Pat McCrory and others pressed for a Tillis victory over Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. "We need a United States Senate that will stand up to and clearly send a powerful message to the White House that we are going to put policies into place (so) that our enemies will fear us and our allies will trust us," Perry said to many of the 5,000 people who attended the traditional election-season event.
http://www.wral.com/perry-mccrory-tillis-headline-nc-republican-bbq/14110311/

Daily dose: NC Early Voting stats and spats edition

N.C. Fights To Take Voting Site Away From Pesky College Kids (Huffington Post) -- Early voting starts today, Thursday in North Carolina, even as the state has pushed to move early voting sites farther away from college campuses. The Republican-dominated North Carolina State Board of Elections, among other efforts, has sought to remove an early voting location from the campus of Appalachian State University, which has about 18,000 students, many of whom lean Democratic. Last week, the board filed a petition asking the state Supreme Court to stay a judge’s ruling in favor of the site. On Wednesday afternoon, not having heard from the high court and with the start of early voting looming, the elections board hastily voted to keep the site on campus. Soon after, the state Supreme Court announced that it was staying the judge’s ruling and sending the case back to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
http://billmoyers.com/2014/10/23/north-carolina-fights-take-voting-site-away-pesky-college-kids/

EARLY VOTING DAY 1: Early vote in person day 1 (Thurs. 10/23): Total votes cast: 117,758: D 50.9%; R 29.4%; U 19.6%; L 0.1%

Daily dose: And they're off! Early voting begins today

'People are fired up' to vote, William Barber says (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Voters angry over the policies of the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory are anxious to vote despite laws that will make it harder for some to cast ballots, state NAACP head the Rev. William Barber II said during a visit here Wednesday. Barber, also the leader of the Moral Monday movement that has staged protests in Raleigh against state government's rightward shift spoke at a press event on Patton Avenue downtown to encourage area residents to vote, a day before early voting begins. The appearance was part of a statewide tour, and Barber also visited Boone and Burnsville Wednesday. "People are fired up and ready to go. People are organized. They're phone banking. They're robocalling," he said. "They understand that elections have consequences and you can never go AWOL when it comes to a democracy.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/elections/2014/10/22/barber-naacp-moral-monday/17747211/

Daily dose: Zombie workers version

NORTH CAROLINA’S 31,000 ZOMBIE WORKERS : North Carolina’s unemployment rate for September was 6.7 percent – a tenth-of-a-point less than it was the month before. But is that the real unemployment rate? It is hard to tell because there are North Carolina workers, folks who once had jobs or were looking for jobs, that have simply disappeared. A year ago, North Carolina’s workforce was 4.677 million strong. Today that workforce is 4.646 million – 31,000 less. No one can say where these workers went, but according to the N.C. Commerce Department’s Division of Labor and Economic Analysis, these 31,000 workers are no longer with us. (Full report is available online at: https://www.ncesc1.com/pmi/rates/PressReleases/State/NR_Sept_2014_StRate_M.pdf) It is a curious situation in a state where the population is growing and, according to Gov. Pat McCrory, part of the state’s stubbornly high unemployment rate is due to an influx of workers from other states. If those zombie workers were included among the unemployed, the state’s unemployment rate for September would be 7 percent. Some other secrets buried in the monthly unemployment report: In the last year, government in North Carolina really is shrinking – down 2,700 workers in the last month and 200 overall for the last year. “The only major industry experiencing a decrease over the year was government,” according to the report. Workers are putting in longer hours, but taking home a smaller hourly wage: “Average weekly hours for manufacturing production workers in September increased 18 minutes from August. … Hourly earnings fell by (3 cents) to $16.65, as average weekly earnings increased by $3.69 to $730.94 ($38,000 annually).”

Daily dose: Moffitt's Raleigh chickens coming home to roost

Where the National Climate Doesn't Matter (National Journal) -- If there's a Republican wave, it's broken against the Blue Ridge Mountains that nearly encircle this western North Carolina town south of Asheville. Brian Turner's campaign is proof. The telegenic 40-year-old year-old Democrat is running for a state House seat held by Republican incumbent Rep. Tim Moffitt. It's a race he should lose: Moffitt's district was redrawn after 2010 to give the rising GOP star a friendlier electorate, and Mitt Romney carried it easily in 2012. Yet polls make it plain that Turner could win -- a victory that would come even amid heavy losses for his party nationwide. Because in North Carolina, voters casting ballots in local races aren't just thinking about President Obama, ISIS or liberal overreach. Right now, they're also concerned about the state's Republican-controlled government, whose aggressive budgets cuts and conservative priorities sparked cries that it was out of sync with a Democratic-trending state. "People here are concerned about environmental issues and education," said Turner, a former producer at MTV who ended up a Vice Chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, a job he said gave him an up-close look at North Carolina's education cutbacks. "That's what's driving the vast majority of voters." … North Carolina's state Legislature, which ranks among the country's most conservative since 2013, has created a different political climate here. To some degree, that's bled into the Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and GOP challenger Thom Tillis, who also serves as the state House speaker. Hagan has blamed Tillis for the Legislature's record, particularly cuts to education funding, throughout the campaign. But the dissatisfaction with the state legislature had its greatest effect in state legislative races, where Turner and two other house Democratic candidates near Asheville are all seen as competitive bets to knock off Republican incumbents.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/where-the-national-climate-doesn-t-matter-20141021

Daily dose: You don't have Ebola, part deux

Fear of Ebola Closes Schools and Shapes Politics (New York Times) -- In the month since a Liberian man infected with Ebola traveled to Dallas, where he later died, the nation has marinated in a murky soup of understandable concern, wild misinformation, political opportunism and garden-variety panic. Within the escalating debate over how to manage potential threats to public health — muddled by what is widely viewed as a bungled effort by government officials and the Dallas hospital that managed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States — the line between vigilance and hysteria can be as blurry as the edges of a watercolor painting. … “If this was one incidence where people thought the government wasn’t doing what the government was supposed to do, it would be much less of a reaction than we see now, where there’s this long list of the government being one step behind, whether it’s the border, the IRS, the Secret Service,” Senator Roy D. Blunt, Republican of Missouri, said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “Now this health concern is more real than it would be if there wasn’t a sense that the government is just not being managed in a way that people would want it to be managed.” With fear riding high, Democrats, particularly those running for office, have supported a travel ban. “Although stopping the spread of this virus overseas will require a large, coordinated effort with the international community,” said Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina, a Democrat in a tight race, “a temporary travel ban is a prudent step the president can take to protect the American people.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/us/fear-of-ebola-closes-schools-and-shapes-politics.html

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