OBAMA ENDORSES SIX NC DEMOCRATS IN LEGISLATIVE RACES: Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced endorsements of six Democrats running for the North Carolina legislature. Four of those candidates are running in Wake County. Wiley Nickel of Cary, who used to work for Obama, received an endorsement from his former boss in his run for an open state Senate seat. Nickel faces Republican Paul Smith. Also making Obama’s list: Terence Everitt of Wake Forest, in a rematch against incumbent Republican Chris Malone; Julie Von Haefen of Apex, who is running against incumbent Republican and lead House budget writer Nelson Dollar of Cary; and lawyer Sydney Batch, who is running for an open seat against Republican lawyer John B. Adcock. Obama also endorsed Rachel Hunt, former Gov. Jim Hunt’s daughter, in her race against incumbent Republican Bill Brawley in Mecklenburg County, and Ron Wesson, a Bertie County commissioner running for an open seat in northeastern North Carolina’s District 1 against Republican Ed Goodwin.
GREENSBORO WATER FACILITY CLOSED AFTER TOXIC CHEMICALS DISCOVERED: A North Carolina city has stopped pumping water from a water treatment plant after finding high levels of toxic chemicals, perhaps from firefighting foam. The Greensboro News & Record reports additional water samples were taken for testing Monday from the Greensboro Mitchell Water Treatment Plant. A July test at the plant found PFOS and PFAS levels 10 parts per trillion higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's advised exposure levels. The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says the chemicals are dangerous at levels around 10 times lower than the EPA's 70 parts-per-trillion standard. Department of Water Resources Assistant Director Mike Borchers says a temporary fix that uses carbon to filter out the chemicals will be implemented by mid-September.
BLACK MOUNTAIN PASTOR'S DETENTION IN TURKEY DRAWS TRUMP'S WRATH: President Donald Trump followed through on his warning last week to impose sanctions against Turkey, a key NATO ally, for its treatment of Andrew Craig Brunson in a case that has strained U.S.-Turkish relations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said his government wouldn’t back down and was willing to “go its own way” if the U.S. did act. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the sanctions by the Treasury Department would target Turkey’s justice and interior ministers, whose agencies she said were responsible for the pastor’s arrest and detention. “We’ve seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong, and we believe he is a victim of unfair and unjust attention by the government of Turkey,” Sanders said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Turkish government refused to release Brunson “after numerous conversations between President Trump and President Erdogan,” along with his conversations with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavosuglo.
SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION IN OHIO HAS REPUBLICANS WORRIED: A special election next week in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District is the last big electoral test before November’s election, a showdown in a once deep-red suburban House seat that Donald Trump won just two years ago by 11 points. Now, however, both parties view the race between GOP nominee Troy Balderson and Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor as a toss-up — and that’s a warning sign for GOP candidates already bracing for a difficult election environment, especially in suburban districts that will help determine control of the House this fall. “In a good year, in a good environment, you probably wouldn’t worry so much about this district,” said Scott Jennings, a veteran Republican strategist who ran Mitt Romney’s Ohio operation in 2012. “In a bad year, a bad environment, it’s exactly the kind of district you worry about, particularly because of the suburban elements that exist in this district.”
TRUMP PUSHES "JUNK" HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS WITH HUGE GAPS IN COVERAGE: Administration officials said Wednesday the short-term plans will last up to 12 months and can be renewed for up to 36 months. With premiums about one-third the cost of comprehensive coverage, the option is geared to people who want an individual health insurance policy but make too much money to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. “We see that it’s just unaffordable for so many people who are not getting subsidies and we’re trying to make additional options available,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “These may be a good choice for individuals, but they may also not be the right choice for everybody.” Buyers take note: Plans will carry a disclaimer that they don’t meet the ACA’s requirements and safeguards. And there’s no federal guarantee short-term coverage can be renewed. Democrats immediately branded Trump’s approach as “junk insurance,” and a major insurer group warned that consumers could potentially be harmed. Other insurers were more neutral, and companies marketing the plans hailed the development.