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Monday News: Maps!

NC SENATE AND HOUSE WILL HEAR PUBLIC COMMENTS TODAY ABOUT REDISTRICTING: New electoral boundaries for North Carolina General Assembly seats demanded by state judges are on track to be finalized by this week's court deadline. The Senate scheduled floor debate on its proposed plan for Monday evening. The House passed its own map late last week, but it and the Senate are holding a public hearing earlier Monday to take citizen comment. Each map must pass both chambers by Wednesday to meet a directive from a three-judge panel that declared dozens of districts unconstitutional because of excessive partisanship in current lines favoring Republicans. The changes originate from the work of an expert witness for plaintiffs who sued over the maps. Legislators adjusted them to prevent pairs of incumbents from having to run against each other in 2020.
https://www.wral.com/north-carolina-legislature-on-track-to-ok-new-maps-this-week/18637736/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC REPUBLICANS' SHAMELESS THEFT OF DEMOCRACY: The verdict is now plain. North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders — not actually leaders, but connivers — are beyond shame. In a stunning display of contempt for democracy, House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, called a surprise vote to overturn Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget just after a session opened at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Democratic lawmakers and the media had been told by Republican leaders that there would be no vote in the morning. Most Democrats were absent. Enough Republicans, aware of the secret plan, were there. When Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, made the motion to reconsider the state budget, the handful of Democrats on hand objected strenuously. “This is a travesty of the process and you know it,” said Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover.
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article234966387.html

Saturday News: They just can't be trusted

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NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS PASS ANOTHER GERRYMANDERED MAP: There were 14 in the N.C. House, and most of the solutions that legislators came up with throughout the past few days were uncontroversial. However there is one area of southeastern North Carolina, near the South Carolina border, where Democrats think Republicans drew with political purposes in mind, despite a court order telling them not to. “You don’t have to be very astute to know what we are doing in this bill is partisan gerrymandering in the benefit of a member,” said Democratic Rep. Joe Sam Queen on Friday before voting against the maps. A handful of other Democrats also objected to the new maps for Fayetteville, saying this process had taken a bad gerrymander and unintentionally made it worse. Democrat Rep. Billy Richardson said he hadn’t looked at any political data, but he knows the area well enough to believe the new maps are an even worse gerrymander than they were when the court struck them down.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235070982.html

Friday News: Conspiracy

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HARDISTER SENT TEXT MESSAGE ALERTING REPUBLICANS TO "BE IN YOUR SEATS AT 8:30": A GOP leader in the N.C. House of Representatives says he sent a text message to some party members before Wednesday morning’s veto override vote, telling them to be in their seats by 8:30 a.m. Rep. Jon Hardister, the GOP’s second-in-command, told The News & Observer Thursday the text message was routine and that he regularly reminds members to be present for sessions where votes will be held. In this case, he said, he sent the note to 10 members who have long commutes to Raleigh, reminding them to be on time. But House Minority Leader Darren Jackson said he thinks the text message is proof that Republicans planned in advance to hold the controversial vote Wednesday morning without telling Democrats. Jackson said Thursday that Rep. Larry Yarborough, a Republican from Person County, showed him a text message he received from someone in Republican leadership. Jackson said the text to Yarborough suggested that Democrats were planning some sort of action related to redistricting.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235034672.html

Thursday News: Sweet little lies

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IN TEXT MESSAGE TO REPORTER, DAVID LEWIS SAYS "NO VOTES AT 8:30": Lewis, R-Harnett, said he never told Jackson there would be no votes on Wednesday morning, saying that he told him the House wouldn't vote on two "mini-budget" bills added to the floor calendar that would provide money for disaster relief and for prison safety upgrades until after House Democrats caucused Wednesday morning. Lewis did acknowledge telling a WRAL News reporter via text Tuesday night that there would be no votes at the 8:30 a.m. session. But he said that's because he didn't think there would be any. He wasn't on the floor during the override vote. Several House Republicans coming out of a caucus shortly after 10:15 a.m. said they felt the surprise vote was fair game, noting that Moore has made it clear for weeks that he would call the override vote whenever the opportunity arose. "The speaker said at any given opportunity he would call it," longtime Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, said. "The opportunity was there, and he called it."
https://www.wral.com/how-dare-you-do-this-mr-speaker-in-surprise-move-house-overrides-budget-veto/18...

Wednesday News: Gerrymandering wins, again

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BISHOP SLIPS BY MCCREADY IN NC09 DO-OVER ELECTION: Republican Dan Bishop narrowly defeated Democrat Dan McCready on Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, with a strong showing in suburban Union County and three rural eastern counties. With 99% of precincts reporting, Bishop led McCready 50.8% to 48.6% in a race that analysts saw as a harbinger for 2020. Bishop rolled up big margins in Union County and carried Richmond and Cumberland counties, which McCready had won last fall over Republican Mark Harris. He trailed McCready by just over 200 votes in Robeson County, which McCready won handily in 2018. Turnout was about 37%. Trump took credit for Bishop’s win in a tweet: “Dan Bishop was down 17 points 3 weeks ago. He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race.” In fact, polls consistently had shown the race close.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article234890702.html

Tuesday News: It's the One, not the Thousand, that is worrisome

DISTRUST OVERSHADOWS BEGINNING OF REDISTRICTING PROCESS: The plan centers on roughly 1,000 maps drawn by a computer algorithm from Jowei Chen, a University of Michigan professor whose testimony helped convince a panel of Superior Court judges that General Assembly maps drawn by the GOP majority two years ago were so tilted toward Republicans that they constitute an illegal partisan gerrymander. Both the House and Senate would winnow those numbers down by having staff rank each map on a trio of criteria the court in Common Cause v. Lewis identified as particularly important, then amend them here and there in public votes. Wary Democrats and others behind the lawsuit that got the current maps declared unconstitutional were anxious about the process Monday. Several times, they asked GOP leaders whether any analysis had already been done on the Chen maps, an insinuation that Republicans could have seen something they liked and reverse-engineered a process to get it.
https://www.wral.com/nc-legislative-district-map-redraw-underway-but-quickly-hits-snag/18622288/

Monday News: Hold your nose...

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TRUMP HEADED TO FAYETTEVILLE TO BOOST DAN BISHOP: Trump’s visit comes less than a week after Hurricane Dorian meandered its way up the coast, devastating the Bahamas and flooding certain parts of North Carolina. It left Ocracoke flooded and generated tornadoes that trashed an Emerald Isle RV park. Trump will likely take verbal shots at McCready, as he did during his rally in Greenville earlier this summer. It remains to be seen whether he’ll talk about Fayetteville or Fort Bragg, the Army base just 13 miles down the road from the rally. Trump’s visit also comes less than a week after the Pentagon reported plans to divert about $80 million away from North Carolina’s military bases to pay for his proposed border wall. About $32.9 million of that is coming from a proposed elementary school at Fort Bragg.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article234857657.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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TAKE MAPMAKING TOOLS AWAY FROM SELF-SERVING POLS: A group of fair-minded people could surely produce more compact and more competitive legislative districts than the sprawling, squiggly gerrymanders we have today. And we fail to see why any voter — or, for that matter, any true public servant — would object. Drawing state House and Senate districts that heavily favor either party dilutes voters’ voice and leads to intense polarization. Republicans and Democrats needn’t pivot to the center when their partisan base holds an insurmountable advantage in voter registration. Primaries become the true contests and voters are deprived of choices on Election Day. In 2016, more than 40% of North Carolina legislative districts had only one candidate on the general election ballot. Twenty-seven representatives and 11 state senators ran unopposed. Heavily gerrymandered districts are the chief culprit.
http://www.wilsontimes.com/stories/our-opinion-take-mapmaking-tools-away-from-self-serving-pols,188863

Saturday News: Dead mapmaker testifies

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HOFELLER HAD EXTENSIVE FILES ON NC A&T STUDENTS: Some spreadsheets "have more than fifty different fields with precise racial, gender and geographic details," the magazine said, and one identified nearly 5,500 college students who appeared to lack the necessary ID to vote. The story suggests that some or all of this may have played into the GOP's decision to split N.C. A&T's campus between a pair of heavily Republican congressional districts, diluting the voting power of black students living in university residence halls. "Hofeller knew which A&T students lived in Aggie Village, on the north side of campus, and which resided in Morrow or Vanstory Halls, on the south side – along with a detailed racial breakdown and information about their voting status," Daley reported. "As Hofeller sought to create two reliably Republican congressional districts, his computer contained information on the precise voting tendencies of one of the largest concentrations of black voters in the area."
https://www.wral.com/the-new-yorker-says-it-has-files-late-gop-mapmaker-used-to-draw-gerrymandered-d...

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