Today's version loaded with brilliant commentary!
ONE STOP VOTING THROUGH OCT. 30: Total – 831,181; Democrats -- 48%; Republicans -- 32%; Others 20%
NC Nears The End of 2014's In-Person Early Voting (Old North State Politics) -- With Friday's and Saturday's early voting, North Carolina will finish up the process leading into next Tuesday's election. And with the numbers we are seeing in accepted early ballots, we may be seeing a different kind of electorate than what we saw in the last mid-term election. As of Thursday, a total of 926,451 early ballots were submitted, either by in-person (90 percent) or via mail (10 percent). This represents nearly a third of the almost 2.7 million ballots that were cast in the state's 2010 mid-term election. The trend line comparison shows the increase of both registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters having surpassed the same-day totals from four years ago, with the GOP finally catching up to their numbers. What is striking is the increase in both white unaffiliated/Libertarians and black Democrats who did not vote in 2010 but have cast in-person early ballots this year. This will be important to see how this mix of non-2010 voters may have some impact on this year's electorate and ultimate voting.
- R's going into crowded election day polls disenchanted with turncoat Tillis. Flip-flopping on Medicaid a costly blunder.
Last Chance To Early Vote In North Carolina (WUNC-FM) -- Saturday marks the final hours of early voting ahead of Tuesday's election. Polling sites across the state will close at 1 p.m. The number of early voting days was reduced this year from 17 to 10, leading to a series of lawsuits fearing a decrease in voter opportunity and turnout, particularly among minorities. But State Board of Elections spokesman Josh Lawson says African American turnout has already been high.
- Voter suppression lawsuits nowhere near over. Restrictive Voter ID mandates will not stand.
Tillis, Hagan pushing canvassing, early vote in NC (AP) — North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan is coming near Thom Tillis' backyard to urge her supporters to keep working hard in the final weekend before Election Day.
Democrats Count on Edge With Women to Limit Election Losses (New York Times) -- Democrats are nervously counting on an enduring edge among female voters in most states to prevent a Republican rout in Tuesday’s elections. Yet so great is the uncertainty that even before the returns are in, some are second-guessing the party’s strategy of focusing more on issues like abortion and birth control than on jobs and the economy. … in a number of battleground states for the Senate and for governor, Democrats continue to have enough of an advantage among women to be in contention, even though many of the states are heavily Republican. That was true for Senate candidates in Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Arkansas, New Hampshire and North Carolina, recent polls indicated.
- Despite the fact that Tillis is toast in North Carolina, the rest of the country isn't looking so good. 2014 will likely result in short-lived gains before the 2016 blowback by the little people. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Voting machines switch votes for Hagan to Tillis (Greensboro News & Record) -- Another Guilford County voter has reported having problems casting a vote for a U.S. Senate candidate. Percy Bostick, 69, of Greensboro said he tried casting a vote for Democrat Kay Hagan at the Old Guilford County Courthouse, only to have the machine register Republican Thom Tillis as his choice. “I called one of the poll workers over,” Bostick said. “She said do it again. And again, I touched the screen at the proper place for Kay Hagan, and it again reported it for Thom Tillis.”
- Can you say "paper trail"?
Clinton stumps for NC Sen. Hagan in Raleigh (AP) — Bill Clinton brought his national campaign swing for Democratic candidates to North Carolina on Friday, telling a crowd of Sen. Kay Hagan's supporters her re-election is a step toward all Americans benefiting from the economic recovery, not just the privileged few. At a Raleigh high school for a Hagan get-out-the-vote rally on the eve of Saturday's close of early voting, Clinton also said voting for Republican challenger Thom Tillis would extend division and promote failed "trickle-down" economics. "Kay Hagan wants to work together and grow together," he said to a crowd of more than 1,000 energized by speeches from both Clinton and Hagan. "Her opponent does not want to grow together. He wants to go back to trickle-down with a vengeance and he wants to do it with the politics that divide us instead of unite us."
- Divide and conquer will be Thom Tillis' only enduring legacy.
Bill Clinton plugs Kay Hagan in N.C. (Politico) -- Former President Bill Clinton joined some of the biggest Democratic names in North Carolina to fire up a crowd of supporters here Friday afternoon with a simple message: Get as many people as you can to the polls, or else be prepared for Sen. Kay Hagan’s defeat and a GOP takeover of the Senate. Clinton — along with former Gov. Jim Hunt, the longest serving governor of the state, and Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield — hailed Hagan as the choice for working families, women and minorities. The former president name-checked issues like education, equal pay for women, voting rights, the influx of money in politics and the minimum wage to loud cheers from the crowd of about 1,300 — some dressed in Halloween costumes — at a high school gym in Raleigh.
Clinton lends support to Hagan (Fayetteville Observer) -- The U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis is about the future vs. the past, former President Bill Clinton told 1,300 enthusiastic Democrats on Friday. It's about working together vs. working against each other, he said during a rally for Hagan volunteers in the gym at Broughton High School.
Former President Clinton Returns to Triangle to Help Hagan Bid (TWCN-TV) -- Former Commander and Chief Bill Clinton rallied support for incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina) for the upcoming mid-term elections.
Bill Clinton latest celeb supporter in Senate race (WRAL-TV) - Comparing himself to an old racehorse being sent around the track during every election cycle, former President Bill Clinton urged a Raleigh crowd Friday to head to the polls and vote to carry fellow Democrat U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan down the homestretch and push her across the finish line first next Tuesday.
Clinton's message to support Hagan: It's still the economy (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Former President Bill Clinton focused on economic issues at a rally for Sen. Kay Hagan at Broughton High School Friday afternoon. Clinton's visit brought some Democratic star power to the final days of the hotly contested U.S. Senate race,
- Speaking for myself, I've had just about enough of the Clintons. Calling Elizabeth Warren.
State political parties target nonvoters (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The state Democratic and Republican parties, spurred and concerned by the tightening U.S. Senate race, have launched a last-week round of get-out-the-vote mailings aimed at inspiring — or cajoling — registered supporters and their neighbors
- If you're an undecided voter this late in the game, you're likely to be an unprincipled fool.
Most expensive Senate race down to the wire in North Carolina (Reuters) - The costliest U.S. Senate race in history is drawing political heavyweights like Mitt Romney and the Clintons to North Carolina as Republicans and Democrats scramble to pull out a win in the battleground state. Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan's lead has faded in the final stretch before the Nov. 4 vote. The latest polls show her tied or with a slight edge over Republican challenger Thom Tillis in a contest that will help decide which party controls the Senate.
Path to Holding Onto Power for Dems: It’s a Long Shot (New York Times) -- For argument’s sake, award Republicans four seats where they appear very strong and which are now held by Democrats: Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. That means if Democrats fail to knock off any Republicans, they must then win at least five of six other battlegrounds: Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire or North Carolina. That’s a tall order and suggests the party’s limited prospects. But add three states to the mix where Republican-held seats are most at risk: Georgia, Kansas and, to a lesser degree, Kentucky. A victory in any or all of them — provided the independent candidate in Kansas could be persuaded to join Democrats in the Senate — gives the party breathing room. It still seems more likely than not that Republicans will triumph.
- Like I said, enjoy it while it lasts. It's an odd year with the deck stacked against Dems. 2016, on the other hand, will be a bloody year for Republicans. In the meantime: gridlock.
Changes to voting laws may complicate key races (USA Today) -- A flurry of court decisions has altered the voting landscape for midterm elections, leading Democrats to fear some voters will be at best confused and at worst unable to vote in states with close races. Recent court decisions have cut the hours of early voting and eliminated same-day registration in Ohio and in North Carolina, where Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is trying to keep her seat against Republican Thom Tillis, and introduced strict new voter identification requirements in Texas. "This is going to be the first election where we're seeing this new species of strict ID law,'' says Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. "Before the 2012 election virtually all the really strict laws were blocked'' by court decisions. This year, "the results are much more mixed.''
- Exactly what Republicans intended.
Thom Tillis faults Hagan on ISIS, rallies his troops (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- The United States should have a more muscular policy in the Middle East as part of a broader move to "make America great again" that would include improving the economy, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis said here Friday. Tillis told a crowd of about 60 at Buncombe County GOP headquarters off Hendersonville Road in South Asheville that President Barack Obama has handled issues in the troubled region poorly and incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan has supported him. He said the current situation reminds him of when Jimmy Carter was president and that it is time for America to take a course more like that piloted by President Ronald Reagan, Carter's successor.
- What a jackass. And a warmonger. Thank god he's losing.
In North Carolina, GOP Senate Challenger Takes National Tack (Wall Street Journal) -- Republican tries tactic adopted by Republican candidates in other states: linking his opponent to President Barack Obama and highlighting security threats that have left many voters nervous.
Hagan drops in (The Robesonian) -- During a brief campaign stop in Pembroke on Friday, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan pledged to continue her efforts to help the tribe receive federal recognition. She also said she will work to ensure that the tribe will reap the financial benefits of recognition, including money that can be used for education, health care and economic programs. Hagan addressed a gathering of about 200 tribal members and others at the Indian Education Resource Center in Pembroke. Afterward she headed to Raleigh for a rally to be attended by former President Bill Clinton. “The stakes are high this election, but we are going to show that North Carolina is not for sale,” Hagan said. “We are going to keep me in the Senate and kick Thom Tillis out of the House.”
Condoleezza Rice backs Tillis in US Senate race (AP) — Thom Tillis has received the endorsement of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in North Carolina's close U.S. Senate race.
- This would be the same Ms. Rice who destroyed our nation's standing as a beacon of hope in the world.
Political ad spending poised to shatter record (Washington Post) -- Total advertising in the 2014 elections is expected to reach $2.4 billion, up $100 million from four years ago. The deluge is being driven by the hard-fought battle to gain control of the U.S. Senate.
Moffitt, Turner campaign spending to top $1 million (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Spending in the state House race between Rep. Tim Moffitt and Brian Turner is on pace to top $1 million, likely making it one of the most expensive legislative contests in North Carolina this year. As of Oct. 18, Moffitt had raised $435,373 and spent $504,866 during the election cycle that began in January 2013, according to a report his campaign filed with the State Board of Elections. (Moffitt finished the 2011-12 election cycle with $69,633 in the bank.) Turner had raised $502,681 and spent $458,757 as of the same date. He had $43,924 in the bank at the end of the period versus $140 for Moffitt.
- Moffitt is an arrogant asshole of the highest order
POLICY & POLITICS
VA vows to pay families sickened after exposure to Lejeune water (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Critics say veterans got uneven treatment under the 2012 law that guaranteed medical care for ailments connected to tainted water at Camp Lejeune, and that family members can expect the same.
McCrory considering Medicaid expansion (Washington Post) -- Any push for expansion would set McCrory and state Senate President Phil Berger on another collision course.
- Flip-flopping McCrory can't live with his own convictions. Supposed clean-up of Medicaid was a charade, a fig leaf he's using to go after all that federal money he passed up.
Economic Development Partnership discloses donation, salaries (Triangle Business Journal) -- Leaders of the newly-initiated Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina have released a report disclosing more details about the nonprofit group's private financial backers, as well as a list of salaries for all of its management staff.
- Decker's plan: pay political cronies to jerk off for a couple of years, then declare victory. Same as it ever was.
Economic development group reveals donors, salaries (WRAL-TV) -- North Carolina's newly minted public-private partnership set up to create jobs across the state revealed its five major donors this week, among them Duke Energy and software firm Red Hat. Legislation passed by the General Assembly this summer required the nonprofit Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina to raise at least $250,000 in private funds before receiving state money. Establishing the partnership was a central part of Gov. Pat McCrory's plan to change the way state attracts business growth. In a press release Friday afternoon, the group announced it received $440,000 from five "corporate partners."
- $440,000 is nothing in the multi-billion dollar incentives game. Nothing at all.
Loop plans keep land locked up (Fayetteville Observer) -- More than 300 property owners in the path of the Outer Loop highway around Fayetteville are stuck in limbo thanks to a state law that ties their hands. Two are suing the state in a growing stack of lawsuits statewide challenging the Map Act, which prevents property owners from developing or improving any land that falls in a corridor that the state has protected for a future highway.
- Oh yeah. Republican's hate big government, except when they don't.
McCrory promotes new interstate (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory says he believes an interstate highway from Raleigh to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia is an important part of his 25-year transportation plan.
- Seriously? Another fucking interstate ... at a time when infrastructure everywhere is collapsing from lack of maintenance? Make it a toll-road, Pat. Let a private company build it and lose a fortune along the way.
NC authorities step up drunken driving patrols (AP) -- North Carolina authorities are warning drivers to make plans to get home safely from weekend parties and not to drive drunk.
Embattled DHHS Names Kendra Gerlach as $110,000-a-year Director of Communications (News Release) -- DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos announced Friday that Kendra Gerlach will join the DHHS leadership team as the director of the Office of Communications. Gerlach, 42, is a native North Carolinian and skilled communicator with fifteen years of experience in health care public relations and five years of experience as a newspaper journalist. Most recently, she held marketing strategy and public relations leadership positions at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. Prior to working at Emory Healthcare, Kendra held similar positions at Atlanta Medical Center and New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC.
Lottery Lightning Strikes Twice for Carthage-area Man (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Is it just the luck of the draw, a fortuitous astrological alignment or a higher intervention?
DeShields discusses transfer from UNC (AP) — Tennessee guard Diamond DeShields says she played much of her freshman season at North Carolina knowing there was a good chance she'd transfer afterward.
Yadkinville restaurant issues eating challenge (AP) — Not just anyone would think they could down a 4-pound burger with the fixings in one sitting.
Linamar expanding Arden plant, adding 150 jobs (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Another 150 new jobs are coming to Buncombe County, care of Linamar North Carolina Inc., state and local officials announced Friday morning. Linamar, a vehicle component and system manufacturer based in Ontario, Canada, also will be investing an additional $115 million in its facility on Hendersonville Road in Arden.
Costa Rica-Based Telemarketing Fraud Results in Prison Terms for Two (FBI News Release) -- Two employees of a Costa Rica based telemarketing call center that defrauded thousands of victims of more than $4 million have been sentenced to serve 300 months in prison and 144 months in prison. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. of the Western District of North Carolina imposed the sentences. On Oct. 30, 2014, Glen Adkins Jr., 43, of San Diego, California, was sentenced to serve 300 months in prison and Warren F. Tonsing Jr., 43, of St. Paul, Minnesota, was sentenced to serve 144 months in prison. They were both ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution, joint and several with their co-defendants.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
Trend of teachers leaving NC, classroom increasing (AP) — More North Carolina teachers left the profession last year because they were unhappy or decided to go to another state, a new report found.
UNC faculty talk apology, forfeits for sham grades (AP) — Professors at North Carolina's flagship public university said Friday that the school should give up national championships, turn away some profits generated by big-time sports and apologize to a campus whistleblower after the release of a report detailing a scheme that used fake grades to keep some athletes eligible for years.
Conduct of 'do-gooder' at heart of UNC scandal (AP) — The University of North Carolina has tried for years to remove the stain of an academic scandal that began with an office administrator setting up sham classes to help struggling students — only to see things get worse.
Failing to educate UNC athletes same as abuse (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- College sports are big money. Big money and big influence. Colleges such as UNC that use athletes to advance their sports programs without demanding that those students develop their abilities off the court or field are committing abuse.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Ignoring promises of openness, DENR to hold secret meeting on offshore drilling (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A high-level meeting scheduled in Raleigh next week for government officials to discuss offshore drilling will be off-limits to the public and to journalists. As the closed-door meeting approaches, North Carolina environmental groups who hope to block offshore energy exploration are urging Gov. Pat McCrory to at least allow all stakeholders to attend and listen. “We are deeply concerned about this closed door meeting and the exclusion of North Carolinians from an important dialogue that will directly impact the state’s coast as well as the livelihoods and quality of life that depends upon it,” the environmental groups wrote Thursday to McCrory and to John Skvarla III, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Protection, or DENR. In its response to the environmental groups, DENR wrote Friday that the meeting is closed to outsiders in deference to “a participating federal agency.” “The inclusion of special interest groups and industry would allow for the potential of the appearance of influence on permit application reviews currently underway by the Obama Administration,” wrote DENR Deputy Secretary and Energy Policy Advisor Don van der Vaart. The Nov. 6 meeting, organized by DENR, will focus on energy exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf, with a closing speech by McCrory entitled “Responsible OCS Energy Development.” McCrory has repeatedly said he supports offshore oil drilling and offshore wind farms to supply the nation with domestic energy resources and the state with job opportunities. The Outer Continental Shelf meeting will be “unprecedented” because it is being organized by a state government rather than by federal authorities, said DENR spokeswoman Crystal Feldman.
- John Skvarla has the ethical standards of a dead snake.
Electric Utilities Warm to Solar (Investing Daily) -- According to recent research out of Deutsche Bank AG, declining system costs, customer acquisition costs, financing costs and rising volumes will drive scale benefits sufficient to pull rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar power to “grid parity” in 50 US states by 2016, up from 10 states right now.
Duke researchers say fracking taxes pay for drilling-related local needs (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Shale gas drilling generates sufficient taxes and fees to cover the costs of local government services, such as road repair, waste water services and emergency services, according to a study by Duke University researchers. Richard Newell and Daniel Raimi of Duke’s Energy Initiative concluded that regions with active drilling generally experience financial benefits from fracking activity. The October study, “Oil and gas revenue allocation to local governments in eight states,” was part of the Energy Initiative’s Shale Public Finance project and is published on the center’s website. The researchers reviewed public finances in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming. North Carolina is expected to lift a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing next year and was not included in the Duke study.
- Riiiiiight. They'll be so much money that governments can buy millions of people bottled water for the rest of their lives. Idiots.
Dominion asks feds to begin review of pipeline (AP) — Energy provider Dominion Resources Inc. is asking federal regulators to begin its environmental review of a proposed $5 billion pipeline that would deliver natural gas to the Southeast.
Not a plot against students, but let's address the problem (Wilmington Star-News) -- The Supreme Court says students have a right to vote in their college community. That path should be free of barriers.
Regardless of Republican intentions, results of voting ‘reforms’ indefensible (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Voter ID advocates insist that their reasonable moves are intended to protect the integrity of the process, but the reality is that their policies have created confusion and chaos for hundreds of thousands of voters.
- Plan A: Make things more difficult and confusing to limit participation. Plan B: Keep poor people and young people from voting no matter what.