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Friday News: Money to burn


ROBINSON HAS RAISED ONE AND A HALF MILLION FOR GOVERNOR RACE: Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson raised more than $1.5 million over the six-month period, then shuffled his staff to more of a campaign footing. Robinson, a Republican in his first elected office, also spent heavily, building up a fundraising infrastructure to pull in small-dollar donations from across the country. He did well with large donors, too. Nearly 50 people gave his campaign the state maximum of $5,600. "That is the beginning of a runaway freight train,” said Republican political consultant Jim Blaine, who’s not part of the Robinson campaign. “He is going to raise more money than any Republican state official has ever raised." Robinson spent heavily on lists, building a Rolodex of donors he can hit up for money. He was both the top fundraiser and the top spender in state-level politics, based on a WRAL analysis of campaign finances for the last six months of 2021. Let them throw their money away, the 2022 Election is (or should be) the focus.

Thursday News: And so it begins

MANTEO BEACH HOUSE FALLS INTO THE ATLANTIC: A beach house on the North Carolina coast collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean, prompting the National Park Service to issue a warning to visitors on Wednesday for debris. The warning for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore targeted the beach and the ocean between the villages of Rodanthe and Salvo, a news release said. The bulk of the debris is at the site of the collapsed house in Rodanthe. But the news release said smaller amounts of debris have been spotted as far south as off-road vehicle ramp 23, more than 7 miles (11 km) away. The park service is communicating with Dare County to coordinate removal of the house and all related debris on the beach, according to the news release. WAVY reports it was a five-bedroom cottage just south of the Hatteras Island Fishing Pier that was built in 1980. The station reports another oceanfront home disappeared overnight from the beach at Rodanthe in 2020. Whether from super hurricanes or rising seas, the days are numbered for the Outer Banks. Enjoy them while you can.

Wednesday News: Um, state's rights?


NC'S REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS PONDER U.S. EXTREME SUPREME COURT: North Carolina lawmakers will start redrawing new political maps quickly, possibly even this week. But at the same time, they’re contemplating appealing their loss in a nationally watched gerrymandering at the state Supreme Court to the only court that could overturn the ruling — the U.S. Supreme Court. The court found that the maps were unconstitutional because of the way the lines minimized the influence of Democratic voters, notably by guaranteeing Republicans would likely still win large majorities even if most voters voted for Democrats. But as of Monday afternoon there was still no detailed opinion with guidance on how better maps should be drawn. It complicates matters that the court hasn’t given exact details on their ruling to help determine what a fair map is, Moore said, but he and other legislative leaders are hoping for those details soon. Maybe maps that aren't 1000:1 outliers?

Monday News: Twenty one thousand, ninety seven


ALMOST 2.5 MILLION NORTH CAROLINIANS HAVE CAUGHT COVID-19: At least 2,470,242 coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina, and at least 21,097 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, Feb. 4, reported 12,385 new COVID-19 cases, down from 14,966 the day before. At least 4,490 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Feb. 4, including 751 adults being treated in intensive care units. The total patient count was down from 4,556 the previous day, according to state health officials. Roughly 75% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 71% are fully vaccinated. 1/4 of the adult population still unvaccinated. Mind-boggling.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


FEDERAL RESCUE FUNDS PUMPED STATE ECONOMY AND NC REVENUES: Not only did these federal programs keep the state’s economy from tanking – they positioned it for a rapid recovery and provided a huge boost in state tax revenues. Those additional funds, along with the massive aid from Washington, are what has enabled North Carolina’s legislators to trot around the state with THEIR oversized checks, acting like prize-show hosts and posing with oversized checks at local government and community-agency gatherings. State legislators didn’t get any help from our senators, Richard Burr, Thom Tillis, nor from representatives Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Madison Cawthorn, Virginia Foxx, Richard Hudson, Patrick McHenry, Greg Murphy and David Rouser – who all voted against it. So, it might be more honest as North Carolina legislators trot around the state with their giant checks – for them to give credit where it is really due – to those in Washington who voted for and REALLY sent the billions to North Carolina that sparked the state’s economic revival and pumped more billions back into the state’s treasury. That's the Hypocrisy Party for you: always ready to take credit for things they opposed, and blame Democrats for problems they themselves created.

Saturday News: James is right, elections should be fair


CHIEF JUSTICE NEWBY SAYS NC CONSTITUTION DOESN'T MENTION FAIR MAPS: Attorneys for plaintiffs in the case were discussing a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to strike down voting maps in that state because the maps were alleged to have violated Pennsylvania’s constitutional requirement of “free and equal” elections. Newby pointed out that the North Carolina Constitution doesn’t say that. “We have ‘free.’ We don't have ‘fair.’ They have ‘free and fair, correct?” Newby asked, apparently misquoting the Pennsylvania constitution. Attorney Allison Riggs, who is representing plaintiff Common Cause in the redistricting case, says that even though the state constitution doesn’t explicitly require fair elections, case law clearly does. “I’ve certainly studied the history,” she said, “and there is not a suggestion anywhere that the failure to put ‘fair’ in the constitution means that there's a presupposition that elections will be run unfairly.” Newby is on weak ground (and he knows it), but I'm confident the majority on the NC Supreme Court won't buy this nonsense.

Friday News: A truly teachable moment


ADAMS, BUTTERFIELD, AND MANNING FILE BILL TO TEACH WOOLWORTH'S SIT-IN: Three members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation paid tribute to the 62nd anniversary of the Greensboro Four sit-in by introducing a resolution Tuesday that called on all states to teach about the demonstration in history classes. On Feb. 1, 1960, David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Jibreel Khazan and Joseph McNeil, four Black students from N.C. A&T State University, visited the F.W. Woolworth department store’s lunch counter to protest against the business for serving lunch only to white customers. Their actions sparked similar sit-ins around North Carolina and a national movement that led more than 700,000 students, clergy members and others to fight for racial equality in the South. U.S. Reps. Kathy Manning, Alma Adams and G.K. Butterfield asked the House colleagues to support their resolution honoring the Greensboro Four for contributing to the civil rights movement and inspiring college students to get involved. It wasn't just courageous, it was uncommonly courageous. Students need to be taught that, so they will know what being an American is all about. Or should be all about.

Thursday News: Articulably predictable


PHIL STRACH SWINGS AND MISSES IN GERRYMANDERING ARGUMENT: Several of the court’s Democratic justices—including Justice Anita Earls, who was a civil rights attorney and brought her own election cases against the legislature’s GOP majority before her election to the bench in 2018—pressed the Republican legal team Wednesday. Earls suggested that the state constitution’s equal protection clause should protect people on the basis of party affiliation much as it protects people on the basis of race, forbidding lawmakers from diluting voting power by dividing people from one party into districts where their candidates can’t win. Justice Robin Hudson asked why it matters how far away from “permissible” maps are, “if they prevent the will of the people from being carried out?” Phil Strach, a lawyer representing GOP lawmakers, said there has to be an articulable standard, something lawmakers can have in hand as they draw districts and something the courts can use to judge those districts. How about this articulation: All materials used to create district maps must be readily available to all lawmakers and the general public, and under no circumstances be lost or destroyed. Put that in your hand and carry it around.

Wednesday News: Would you like some cheese with that whine?


CAWTHORN SUES TO STOP CONGRESSIONAL ELIGIBILITY CHALLENGE: The complaint filed in federal court Monday by the Western North Carolina congressman aims to prevent the state from considering an effort by a group of North Carolina voters challenging his candidacy. The group claims Cawthorn contributed to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, thus disqualifying him from running under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The amendment’s disqualification clause states that no member of Congress shall “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” In his lawsuit, Cawthorn argues the effort to remove him from the ballot violates his First Amendment rights. “Running for political office is quintessential First Amendment activity and afforded great protection,” Cawthorn said in the lawsuit. It's funny, you weren't worried about "great protection" for Senators and Representatives who were hiding under their desks while Brown Shirts were roaming the halls of Congress. You're a spoiled, seditious little prick; a clear and present danger to democracy.

Monday News: Twenty thousand, five hundred ninety five


OVER 5,000 NORTH CAROLINIANS HOSPITALIZED WITH CORONAVIRUS: At least 2,374,866 coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina, and at least 20,595 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 22,631 new COVID-19 cases, down from 28,753 the day before. Another 78 coronavirus-related deaths were added. At least 5,084 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 28, including 816 adults in intensive care units. The total patient count was down from 5,201 the day before, according to state health officials. As of Jan. 26, the latest date with available information, 30.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Remain vigilant, Omicron is very contagious.


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