LEWIS EFFORT TO HAVE NEW PRIMARY IN NC09 FINDS LITTLE SUPPORT: A proposal for a new primary in the 9th Congressional District was stripped from an elections bill Tuesday after the sponsor said he could not get enough legislators to go along. Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican, wanted a new primary if the State Board of Elections orders a new election in the 9th District. “All indications are that the same activity that is alleged to have occurred concerning absentee ballots appeared to have also occurred in the primary,” Lewis said Tuesday afternoon. “Voters will have the opportunity to start over by selecting a new candidate if they so choose.” The primary was not in the proposal the House will vote on Wednesday. Lewis said he couldn’t get enough legislators negotiating the bill to sign off on the idea. The state elections board has been been investigating allegations of fraud over the mail-in absentee ballots in the November general election.
STATE ELECTIONS BOARD WOULD BE BACK TO FIVE MEMBERS UNDER NEW BILL: After repeated lawsuits and court fights, Republican legislative leaders rolled out a proposal Tuesday to undo all of the changes they have made to the state elections board over the past two years. The plan could be voted on as early as Wednesday in both the House and Senate. Under the legislation, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement would be split into two boards: a five-member elections board appointed by the governor that would likely have a three-person majority of his or her party and an eight-member ethics commission that would have four people appointed by the governor and four by lawmakers and would be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. The two boards and their composition would be the same as they were before 2017, when lawmakers merged them into an evenly divided eight-member board that they would appoint, arguing that no political party should have power over elections in North Carolina.
DURHAM BLACKWELL STREET CLOSURE AT CENTER OF CONFLICT OVER LIGHT RAIL: According to GoTriangle, the Blackwell/Mangum station would not have worked until the latest design plan refinement that makes station platforms long enough for two-car trains instead of three-car trains. The recommendation came in an engineering review that said two-car station platforms are cheaper than three-car platforms and can still meet ridership capacity through 2040. The three-car platform was not possible for Blackwell/Mangum because of nearby historic buildings, according to GoTriangle. The $2.47 billion project is in the engineering phase, with GoTriangle scheduled to apply for federal funding in the spring. Construction would begin in 2020, with light-trail operations starting in 2028. Two weeks ago, Capitol Broadcasting executive Michael Goodmon quit the light-rail fundraising board over the street-closing plan. Capitol Broadcasting owns the Durham Bulls and the American Tobacco Campus. And last week, DPAC General Manager Bob Klaus wrote a letter to Mayor Steve Schewel and City Manager Tom Bonfield that “problems that this plan will create for the general public, the DPAC, the DBAP, and downtown Durham businesses far outweigh any benefits the GoTriangle Plan might provide.”
TRUMP THROWS TANTRUM, SAYS HE'LL BE "PROUD" TO SHUT DOWN GOVERNMENT OVER WALL: During an extraordinary public airing of hostilities that underscored a new, more confrontational dynamic in Washington, Mr. Trump vowed to block full funding for the government if Democrats refused to allocate money for the wall on the southwestern border, saying he was “proud to shut down the government for border security.” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leaders, seated on couches flanking Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, took issue with the president’s position and his false assertions about the wall in front of a phalanx of news cameras, imploring him repeatedly to continue the tense conversation without reporters present. But Mr. Trump insisted on a conspicuous clash that undercut Republican congressional leaders and his own staff working to avoid a shutdown at all costs, or at least to ensure that Democrats would shoulder the blame for such a result. Outside the West Wing after the meeting, Mr. Schumer said Mr. Trump had thrown a “temper tantrum” over the wall, later telling reporters, “You heard the president: He wants a shutdown.”
THERESA MAY FACES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE, COULD BE REMOVED AS PM: British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a no-confidence vote from Conservative lawmakers angry about the divorce deal she has struck with the European Union. A confidence vote in the leader is triggered if 15 percent of Conservative lawmakers — currently 48 — write a letter to Graham Brady, head of the party's 1922 Committee of backbenchers. Brady said Wednesday that the threshold had been reached and the vote will be held later in the day. All 315 Tory legislators can vote on the confidence motion. May needs 158 votes to win — and if she does, there can't be another challenge for a year. If she loses, she must resign and a party leadership contest is held in which she is barred from running. All other Conservative lawmakers can run.