Chastened Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game (New York Times) -- The Republican Party took hard lessons from 2012 and built a formidable turnout and digital strategy for the midterm elections — one it hopes will serve it well in 2016.
How the Midterms' Turnout Games Turned Out (Wall Street Journal) -- Down the stretch in the 2014 campaign, when the polls began to slide toward Republican candidates in key states, Democrats defiantly countered that they would ultimately be vindicated by their superior turnout effort. Not this year, said Republicans, who countered that their own turnout machine was growing more powerful and leveling the playing field. … In the end, the turnout game may have been more talk than impact. Determining the impact of get-out-the-vote efforts is a slippery business. It’s impossible to prove a negative – what would the results have been without the turnout efforts? – and comparing different elections in different years is challenging on a variety of levels, from candidates to issue environments. But in exit polls and state- and county-levels vote counts, there are measures that suggest some moves.
Most Independent Candidates Didn't Live Up To The Hype (Huffington Post) -- In North Carolina, state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) unseated Sen. Kay Hagan (D) by a margin of less than what marijuana-smoking libertarian pizza deliveryman Sean Haugh received. The American Future Fund, a conservative group without a history of advocating for marijuana legalization, ran pro-Haugh ads in the waning days of the race, presumably in an effort to steal youth votes from Hagan. And the Democratic senator did indeed experience a steep drop-off among young voters as compared to 2008. Mac McCorkle, a onetime Democratic strategist for former North Carolina Govs. Bev Perdue and Mike Easley and now an associate professor at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy, argued that Haugh's actual impact on the race appeared to be negligible. "It doesn't look like he turned out to be a factor," McCorkle said. "When you get to 2 and 3 percent among these independent candidates, it's a little hard to tell where those votes are actually coming from." "Hagan's more overwhelming problem was lack of youth turnout," McCorkle added. "The real question was, 'Was Hagan going to defy gravity?' And she almost did."
GOP still holds wide NC statehouse edge (AP) -- Several million dollars from independent groups on top of an expensive U.S. Senate race that negatively portrayed the GOP agenda in Raleigh helped Democrats knock off a few Republican incumbents at the General Assembly on Election Day. But the victories didn’t extend far enough to change the legislature’s landscape for the next two-year session starting in January, with Republicans preserving their veto-proof majorities. It means legislative Republicans can still choose to ignore Democrats or even GOP Gov. Pat McCrory if they remain united. Although a recent Elon University Poll found a 55 percent disapproval rating for the General Assembly among likely voters, Republican legislative leaders believe Tuesday’s results show the public supports the rightward shift that began in 2011. They’ve reduced tax rates and regulations, created taxpayer-funded grants for low-income children to attend private schools and authorized voter ID.
Last-minute independent spending came into legislative races (WRAL-TV) -- A group formed to promote the work of Republican House lawmakers made a last-minute cable ad buy in the campaign of a freshman member running for re-election, part of a small flurry of late outside spending on behalf of legislative and other candidates this year. When North Carolina House Legislative Partners was first formed, it produced television ads widely seen as helpful to state House Speaker Thom Tillis' nascent U.S. Senate campaign, but it was less clear what it might do for other members of the legislature. While the group has maintained a robust website, it was largely silent in elections until late October. On Oct. 16, it transferred $71,000 to NCHLP Education Fund, a separate corporation.
Experts: NC politics competitive despite GOP success (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- With the GOP holding the governor's seat, majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and the state's congressional delegation, it might seem that North Carolina's spot on the national political map should be permanently colored in red, for Republican. Not so fast, some political experts say. Republicans have indeed captured most of the North Carolina's top political positions at the state and federal level. But Tuesday's results fall far short of proof that the GOP has captured the unwavering loyalty of the state's voters for the long term, they say. "I fully expect North Carolina to be a major presidential battleground state in 2016 and to have strongly contested Senate and gubernatorial campaigns," said Steven Greene, a political scientist at N.C. State University.
Election flop sends NC Democrats back to drawing board (Charlotte Observer) -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan wasn't the only loser in Tuesday's election. So was her party. North Carolina Democrats saw Republicans win more than just a U.S. Senate seat. They tightened their grips on the congressional delegation and state Senate, maintained a supermajority in the House and kept a majority on the Supreme Court. They even control most county boards. “It's going to be very difficult for Democrats,” said Andrew Taylor, an N.C. State University political scientist. “They had pretty low expectations in state legislative races this time around, and they didn't even manage to meet those.”
After GOP gains, where does N.C. stand as swing state? (High Point Enterprise) -- North Carolina now may be a Republican red state with a purple tinge. Or maybe a politically purple state with a heavy splash of red. Republicans in North Carolina are celebrating victories in Tuesday’s general election that left them with all top-shelf offices in the state. With state House speaker Thom Tillis’ victory over first-term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, both U.S. senators will be Republicans, as is the governor. The GOP controls both chambers of the N.C. General Assembly by comfortable margins, as well as 10 of the state’s 13 congressional districts after picking up another seat in last Tuesday’s general election. Amid the dismal election season for Democrats nationally, North Carolina offered some sprouts of hope. North Carolina was the only state in the South where Democrats managed a net gain in state legislative races, according to the Institute for Southern Studies. North Carolina Democrats gained three seats in the 170-member state House while losing one in the 50-member state Senate for a net gain of two seats, according to the institute.
Aiken campaign supporter unhappy about documentary (Raleigh News & Observer) - The film crew following singer and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken around this campaign season was shooting footage for a documentary to be aired in the U.S. next year. According to the website FrontiersLA.com, the sponsor of a Los Angeles fundraiser for Aiken isn't happy about it, saying that attendees were "duped, taken advantage of, and lied to." For his part, Aiken addressed the controversy in a YouTube video posted Friday. He defended the documentary to be aired on the Esquire Network as a way to shine a light on the political process.
Testing seeks to ensure voting machine integrity (Greensboro News & Record) --- Guilford County checks them before every election, but a few errors still occurred.
Thanks To Voters, Booze More Widely Available In Many Parts Of N.C. (WUNC-FM) -- Voters in about a dozen rural counties approved loosening the restrictions on alcohol sales this week. Consumers will now be able to purchase malt beverages and mixed drinks at area ABC stores. Most of the changes occurred to the west. Over the years the state has "gone wet" (allowed alohol sales) from east to west.
POLICY & POLITICS
Obama chooses N.Y. prosecutor, N.C. native, as attorney general (AP) — In a second trail- blazing pick for the nation's top law enforcement officer, President Barack Obama intends to nominate Loretta Lunch, a North Carolina native and a federal prosecutor in New York, to become the next attorney general and the first black woman to lead the Justice Department. … Lynch grew up in North Carolina, the daughter of a school librarian and a Baptist minister. She received undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, where Obama graduated from law school seven years after her. Personally, she goes by Loretta Lynch Hargrove, having married Stephen Hargrove in 2007.
Biographical information for Loretta Lynch (AP) -- NAME: Loretta Elizabeth Lynch Hargrove BORN: 1959 in Greensboro, North Carolina EDUCATION: Bachelor of arts in English and American literature, Harvard College, 1981; law degree, Harvard Law School, 1984 EXPERIENCE: U.S. attorney general for the Eastern District of New York, 2010-present; partner at Hogan & Hartson in New York, 2002-2010; office of the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, 1990-2001; associate at New York law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel, 1984-1990.
Loretta Lynch, Federal Prosecutor, Will Be Nominated for Attorney General (New York Times) -- Ms. Lynch, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, is the leading contender to succeed Eric H. Holder Jr., who is stepping down.
Decker: Job recruiting fund flat broke, more funding needed ASAP (Triangle Business Journal) -- One of North Carolina's biggest corporate incentive grant programs, the Jobs Development Investment Grant, is only one project announcement away from maxing out its $22.5 million funding account. "And without JDIG, we will not be competitive," N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker told members of Research Triangle chapter of NAIOP at its meeting Nov. 7 at the Umstead in Cary.
McCrory: Gerrymandered Legislative Districts Make My Job Tougher (Voter Update Magazine) -- In the wake of Tuesday's vote, which saw nearly half of all winning state legislative candidates elected without opposition, McCrory's comment about gerrymandered districts was illuminating.
McCrory talks medicaid, gerrymandering (WNCT-TV) – Gov. Pat McCrory headed to a radio station Friday to talk about public issues. McCrory is not opposed to expanding Medicaid. North Carolina is just one of a handful of states who chose to not accept the federal government's offer. After Tuesday's election, McCrory also talked to WFAE about gerrymandering. In many districts, including District 6 for State Senate Harry Brown's seat, lawmakers ran unopposed. McCrory said it makes it harder for him to do his job and says he has to represent the whole state. Listen to the full interview here.
NC Health Officials And Advisory Board Release Plan To Fight Cancer (WUNC-FM) -- State health officials and an advisory board have released a six-year plan to help fight cancer in North Carolina. The plan identifies six specific cancers that are prevalent in the state and recommends specific strategies to fight them. Dr. Ruth Petersen is with the Department of Health and Human Services. She notes lung cancer is one of the diseases identified in the report. Petersen says causes include exposure to smoke, secondhand smoke, or radon gas.
Top GOP lawmakers appeal gay marriage ruling — North Carolina legislative leaders are giving formal notice that their lawyers will appeal a Greensboro federal judge's ruling that legalized same-sex marriages in the state.
Couples rush to altar before US Supreme Court takes up gay marriage issue (WRAL-TV) -- A ruling upholding gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee set off a rush for marriage licenses Friday among same-sex couples in Wake County. Although federal judges in Greensboro and Asheville overturned North Carolina's ban on gay marriage last month after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to address a similar ban in Virginia that was found to be unconstitutional, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Thursday raises the possibility that the Supreme Court could soon take up the issue of same-sex marriage. "To have something like this happen, it's inevitable that people are going to think we better do something quickly to be able to protect our families," said Jerry Windle, who obtained a marriage license and exchanged vows with Andres Rodriguez on Friday.
Group wants to end war, not glorify it, with traveling memorial in Raleigh (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A small but passionate local chapter of Veterans For Peace raises its "Swords to Plowshares" tower at North Carolina's state Capitol to commemorate the cost of global wars.
Military names 5 US bases for Ebola mission troops (AP) -- The top U.S. military officer has designated five U.S. bases where American troops would be housed and isolated for 21 days upon returning from Africa after serving in the Ebola response mission, U.S. officials said Friday. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed a plan that lists Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, as bases where troops would be quarantined. The U.S. also will use two bases in Italy and Germany for returning troops based in that region.
State panel awards discredited SBI analyst back pay (WRAL-TV) -- The State Human Resources Commission ruled Friday that the State Bureau of Investigation wrongly fired a blood analyst almost four years ago and awarded him 30 months of back pay.
Panel says ex-SBI agent Deaver should get back pay but not his job (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The NC Human Resources Commission has ruled that the State Bureau of Investigation was justified in firing Duane Deaver, the crime agency's lead agent in blood-spatter cases, although he should receive back pay.
State Officials Speaking at ‘Scam Jam’ in Moore County (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Investor education and charitable giving will be among the topics taking center stage when officials from the Secretary of State’s Office, the Department of Justice and Department of Insurance speak at Scam Jam on Friday, November 14 in Moore County.
$1M lottery winner says 'money won't change us' (WRAL-TV) -- A Fayetteville art teacher is North Carolina's latest lottery millionaire
Fayetteville school teacher wins $1 million prize in N.C. lottery game (Fayetteville Observer) -- A Fayetteville elementary school teacher has won $1 million playing the $200 Million Blowout lottery game.
Want to trade guns with the Wake County Sheriff's Office? (Triangle Business Journal) -- The Wake County Sheriff's Office has 370 Sig Sauer handguns valued between $92,500 and $120,000, or between $250 and $350 each, that it is willing to trade or sell.
Greensboro police accepting unwanted firearms (AP) — The Greensboro Police Department is giving gun owners a chance to get unwanted weapons out of their homes.
Morgantown prison will be new home for former Charlotte Mayor (Charlotte Observer) -- Patrick Cannon’s new prison home can be found in the mountains on the edge of a West Virginia college town. The first winner of “Survivor” served a three-year sentence there. The showers have curtains, and the black market currency is packets of Chicken of the Sea tuna and mackerel.
Sierra Nevada founder says quality key to growth for N.C. brewing (Charlotte Business Journal) - Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada in Chico, Calif., in 1980, and it has grown to become one of the largest craft brewers in the country.
Photographer recalls capturing NC in pictures (AP) — Looking back on his photographs covering decades of North Carolina history, there's one phrase Bruce Roberts comes back to again and again: "I remember." During his career as a photojournalist, Roberts worked as the director of photography and the senior photographer at Southern Living, as a photographer for The Charlotte Observer during the civil rights movement and freelanced for publications like Sports Illustrated, Time and Life magazines.
Historian solves NC's past with passion, curiosity (WRAL-TV) -- Kevin Duffus has been called the Indiana Jones of North Carolina history.
As Marine aide to President Obama, Lt. Col. Lee Meyer of Garner helped honor veterans (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Lee Meyer has seen many of the nation's heroes during his career in the U.S. Marine Corps. Lt. Col. Meyer participated in Medal of Honor presentations in March, handing the medal and sash representing the country's highest military honor to the President.
Former Navy SEAL, Author of Bin Laden Best Seller, May Face Costly Penalties, Lawyer Says (New York Times) -- Matt Bissonnette, a former SEAL member, will probably forfeit $4.5 million in royalties for failing to let the Pentagon vet his book on the Osama bin Laden raid, his lawyer contends. The book was written with the assistance of Kevin Maurer, a former Wilmington Star-News staffer.
Observer seeking proposals for new headquarters sites in or near uptown (Charlotte Observer) -- The Observer is looking at potential sites for a new headquarters in or near uptown Charlotte and is preparing to put out a formal request for proposals, Publisher Ann Caulkins said Friday.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
UNC board panel recommends removing vice chair of WSSU trustees (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The Committee of University Governance of the UNC board of governors voted Friday to recommend that Vic Johnson be removed from the Winston-Salem State University board of trustees.
Wilmington NC Charter Schools Refuse To Release Salaries, Could Face Sanctions (WUNC-FM) -- The State Board of Education on Thursday placed Charter Day School Inc. on “financial probationary status” for not turning over salary information of school employees to the Department of Public Instruction. The state gave all 148 charter school operators until the end of September to provide salaries of school employees who are hired by for-profit companies. Charter Day, which oversees four charter schools in the Wilmington area, was the only operator to not comply.
Charter school firm in southeast NC on probation (AP) — A company that operates four charter schools in southeastern North Carolina has been placed on financial probation by the State Board of Education.
N.C. tightens permit requirements for ash ponds, dams (Charlotte Business Journal) -- North Carolina environmental regulators tightened water quality rules requirements for Sutton Lake at Duke Energy's closed Sutton Plant, reclassifying the lake as public waters and designating the ash pond dams there as being high-risk. The N.C. Division of Water Quality sent Duke a letter this week giving the Charlotte-based company 60 days to propose a new water-quality permit. The state says the permits would require conditions for discharging water into the lake and the treatment of wastewater runoff into the lake, which is near Wilmington. It also will require more frequent and stringent inspections of the two dams at the site that form the coal ash ponds that border the lake. With the lake now designated as part of the state's waters, a spill from the dams would present an environmental threat to state waters near a highly populated area.
DENR plans safeguards for Wilmington coal ash plant (Raleigh News & Observer) -- North Carolina's environmental regulatory agency is imposing new water-quality standards on Duke Energy's coal-fired power plant near Wilmington, which is a popular fishing spot that the company has been able to use to store coal ash for decades.
Coal ash impact discussions scheduled (Danville Register & Bee) -- Two events have been scheduled to help people learn more about the impact of the Feb. 2 coal ash spill from the closed Duke Energy plant in Eden, North Carolina. “After the Spill: Our Future” is a panel discussion being presented by the Garden Club of Danville, Gabriella Garden Club and The Wednesday Club of Danville at The Wednesday Club, 1002 Main St., Danville, on Nov. 14 at 10:30 a.m.
Sutton Lake reclassified as ‘waters of the state,’ will receive more protections (Port City Daily) -- Sutton Lake has been reclassified from a private cooling pond for Duke Energy’s Sutton Plant to a public resource, or “waters of the state,” state officials announced.
N.C. reclassifies Sutton Lake to impose stricter regulations (Wilmington Star-News) -- State officials announced Friday their decision to reclassify Sutton Lake as "waters of the state."
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
N.C. ranks No. 5 for clean-energy job creation in Q3 (Triangle Business Journal) -- North Carolina ranked No. 5 in the country for clean-energy and clean-transportation job creation during the third quarter. With four announcements, the quarter brought 876 new jobs to the sector's pipeline. Across the nation, more than 18,000 clean-energy and clean-transportation jobs were announced in more than 20 states during the quarter, up from 12,000 announced in the second quarter. During last year's third quarter, 15,000 jobs were announced, as calculated by national nonpartisan environmental policy group Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2.
TVA president could earn more than $1M extra (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority's president and CEO could earn more than $1 million extra this year.
Oyster season not bountiful in Southeastern N.C. (Wilmington Star-News) -- It's the result of unfavorable tide schedules, rainy weather and a simple lack of resources
Experts say NC oyster season hurt by high waters (AP) — Watermen and state officials say North Carolina's oyster season hasn't been especially productive, and they blame it on unfavorable tide schedules, rainy weather and a simple lack of resources.
Beyond Coal campaign letter was above board (Asheville Citizen-Times column) -- As the owner of Krull and Company, a socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm, I signed on to the recently released letter to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good calling for retirement of the Asheville coal plant. I signed on because the environment and public health of our region are important to me and my clients, and because the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign is working effectively to lead our city's transition away from the use of coal-fired electricity toward clean, safe and renewable energy sources. Duke Energy's Asheville coal plant is the largest single source of carbon pollution in Western North Carolina and a major cause of climate disruption. It is also the largest industrial source of air pollution here, and coal ash from the plant continues to pollute the French Broad River. Further, it is one of Duke's most expensive coal plants to operate.
Too stoked at Stokes voting site (Winston-Salem Journal) -- We realize the Democratic brand was bruised nationwide Tuesday. So maybe the chairwoman of the Stokes County Democratic Party was a visionary trying to break from the pack early and defy party stereotypes when she allegedly threw her herbal tea on a verbal assailant and kicked him in the crotch.
Poll workers have a tough job (Wilson Times) -- Congratulations to everyone for surviving yet another election year. Those who chose to vote had their say and once again after the ballots were tallied the sun rose the next morning.
Determination needed by some to vote (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The additions to the Voter ID law have made it more difficult for poor and other other afflicted people to vote.
Status quo voting (Greensboro News & Record) -- North Carolina expended all its political energy on the U.S. Senate race. Not much else was dramatic or surprising.
Special interests invited to drilling meeting, but not public (Wilmington Star-News) -- It is no secret that North Carolina officials are eager to open its offshore waters to energy exploration. However, a meeting between federal officials and representatives of three states to discuss logistics and safety concerns about the practice was closed except to groups that support offshore drilling. … North Carolinians of all political stripes are concerned about their natural surroundings and about their families' health. Keeping secrets from them will not win their trust, or support for drilling.
Offshore drilling plans require public scrutiny (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Anyone who is more than a bit nervous about the idea of opening the Atlantic coast up to offshore drilling certainly felt their anxiety raise a notch or two after learning about a closed-door meeting last week between state officials and federal regulators to discuss plans to begin oil and gas exploration off the coast. … Much like last year’s rush to lay the legal groundwork to begin fracking, the early moves to launch offshore energy exploration reveal a process that appears to be about to be undertaken under a veil of secrecy, far removed from any public input or scrutiny.
Health service improvements opening path to Medicaid expansion (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Now that the election sloganeering has died down, it’s time that North Carolina expanded its Medicaid program to serve as many as 500,000 more people. The Affordable Care Act encourages states to expand Medicaid eligibility from the poverty level up to 133 percent of that level. For a family of four, that raises the income limit from $23,850 a year to $31,721. North Carolina was gearing up to do just that until Republicans took over the General Assembly in the 2010 elections. Pat McCrory, who completed the GOP takeover when elected governor in 2012, has been ambivalent about the expansion. Most recently, he said last week he is open to considering it once improvements have been made to the current system.
EPA's carbon rules would save lives in NC (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Cutting carbon dioxide pollution could save thousands of lives in North Carolina per year plus add economic benefits along with clean air and healthier living.