The 2010 cycle promises to be one of the most competitive and fateful mid-term elections in recent memory. Read about North Carolina’s upcoming races here.
(1.06.11) No More Marc Basnights
I won’t begrudge Marc Basnight his laudatory send-off and peaceful retirement. But let’s not go through all this again, okay?
(12.03.10) Wake County to Drop Elective Abortion Coverage
RALEIGH — The move is sure to reignite a debate from last winter over whether health insurance plans should cover elective abortion, which are those deemed medically unnecessary and often used as a form of birth control.
(12.02.10) A 2010 Election Retrospection
Democrats may have taken a “shellacking,” in President Obama’s words, but some Democratic politicians and their allies have sought to spin the results.
(12.01.10) GOP House Delegation Poised to Gain Clout in 112th Congress
RALEIGH — Between the 60-plus seats Republicans picked up in the House and the six they gained in the Senate, upcoming changes in committee and subcommittee leadership should boost the state’s influence.
(11.30.10) 2010: Heralding a Decade of GOP Dominance?
RALEIGH — Political experts say the Republican performance in the 2011 General Assembly — along with the way Gov. Bev Perdue handles the new GOP majorities — could determine whether November's victories signal any Republican staying power.
(11.22.10) JLF President Documents State-Level GOP Election Gains for National Review
RALEIGH — New Republican majorities within American state governments “have no precedent in living memory,” according to an article in the latest National Review from John Locke Foundation President John Hood. In one of 12 feature-length stories in NR’s special Election 2010 issue, Hood documents the extent of the GOP’s state-level gains.
(11.15.10) Nine Newly Minted N.C. Legislators Sign No-New-Taxes Pledge
RALEIGH — Nine of the 45 new state lawmakers have pledged to vote against tax increases. Every new member of Congress except one also has signed the no-new-taxes pledge.
(11.11.10) Political Class Adjusts to Reality
They had resisted the notion that North Carolina politics might take an unmistakable turn to the right. Now they have no choice but to adjust to it.
(11.05.10) Two Legislative Barbells to Lift
If the Republican legislature can lift both the budget and redistricting barbells over their heads next year, the rest of the session ought to be no sweat.
(11.05.10) Five Races for N.C. Legislature Still in Limbo
RALEIGH — Candidates automatically are entitled to a recount if the vote difference is less than 1 percent of total votes cast, but they still must request it. If Republicans prevail in all five races, they would have a 31-19 majority in the Senate and 68-51 majority in the House (plus one unaffiliated most likely to caucus with Republicans).
(11.05.10) VIDEO: N.C. House Dems Defy National Trend
RALEIGH - North Carolina's congressional delegation changed very little in Tuesday's election. The only incumbent facing a potential loss is Democrat Bob Etheridge in the state's 2nd Congressional District. The state is conducting a recount with results expected in late November. The rest of the state's Democratic delegation avoided defeated either by running in a safe district or bucking their party leadership.
(11.04.10) Reports of Voter Intimidation Largely Overblown
RALEIGH — FOX News and CNN reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Justice would be sending more than 400 elections monitors from its Civil Rights Division to 30 jurisdictions, including North Carolina. A USDOJ spokesman said North Carolina was not on the department’s radar this year, however.
(11.04.10) The Two Legislative Barbells
If the Republican legislature can lift both the budget and redistricting barbells over their heads next year, the rest of the session ought to be no sweat.
(11.04.10) VIDEO: GOP Leader Details Plan for General Assembly
RALEIGH — After winning majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, one Republican leader details the party's plan for the state. Rep. Skip Stam of Apex is in line to be the next speaker of the House. He says priority No. 1 is balancing the state's budget without raising tax rates. North Carolina is facing at least a $3 billion deficit in the next fiscal year starting next summer. Part of that deficit includes the expiration of a temporary one cent sales tax increase.
(11.04.10) The Integrity of the Ballot
If you have to present a photo ID to board a commercial airplane or enter a federal building, you should have to do so before voting.
(11.03.10) Carolina Caught the Wave
The vulnerable Democratic congressmen who voted against ObamaCare won reelection. The vulnerable Democrat who voted for it was defeated. Pretty clear message there.
(11.03.10) GOP Makes History by Securing Control of N.C. House, Senate
RALEIGH — Republicans made historic gains in the North Carolina legislature during Tuesday’s midterm election, gaining control of both chambers of the General Assembly by comfortable margins for the first time since the 19th century.
(11.03.10) Historic 2010 N.C. Election Demonstrates Conservative Strength
RALEIGH — Nearly 60 percent of North Carolina voters cast ballots to give Republicans control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than a century. John Locke Foundation President John Hood says that's just one sign of the strength of conservative candidates and issues in Tuesday's election.
(11.02.10) Call for Disclosing 501 Donors Runs Afoul of IRS Regulations
CHARLOTTE — At its core, there’s a tension between tax code compliance and public disclosure. Organizations created as nonprofits must comply with the Internal Revenue Code as interpreted by the IRS. And the IRS is concerned primarily with tax liability, not public disclosure of revenue sources.
(11.02.10) Final Calls on the ’10 Elections
Republicans will achieve net gains of 60 seats in the U.S. House, eight seats in the U.S. Senate, seven governorships, and 12 to 15 legislative chambers.
(11.02.10) Election Preview: Key Races to Watch
RALEIGH — Carolina Journal has selected a number of contested state and federal legislative races that should be strong indicators of both the size and intensity of any GOP sweep.
(11.01.10) Republicans See Chance to Pick Up Seat in House District 25
RALEIGH — Republican Jeff Collins highlights the state’s fiscal problems. Incumbent Rep. Randy Stewart says “the sky is not falling.”
(11.01.10) Notes on the 2010 Elections
Election-prediction models are fairly accurate, which ought to make pundits and consultants more humble in their opinions and modest in their claims.
(11.01.10) Races Are Tight in 6th, 116th N.C. House Districts
RALEIGH — The districts are a prime example of why Democrats fear 2010 could be the first year since the 19th century that they lose both chambers of the General Assembly. Republicans need a net gain of nine seats in the state House and six in the state Senate to gain control.
(11.01.10) Carolina Journal and JLF Blogs To Provide Real-Time Election Coverage
RALEIGH — If you’re looking for an online home for Election Night coverage from the Tar Heel State, go no further than the John Locke Foundation’s websites and blogs. Beginning Tuesday afternoon, you’ll find the reporting, insight, and analysis of Carolina Journal and JLF staffers covering local, state, and national races.
(10.29.10) An October Surprise on Perdue?
The shock came when North Carolina politicos, expecting to hear the name Mike Easley, realized that the governor under investigation was Beverly Perdue.
(10.29.10) Only Three-Way State House Race Down to the Wire
RALEIGH — The contest is a rematch from 2008, when the same three candidates duked it out in one of the closest races of that cycle. Republican Norman Sanderson lost to Democrat Alice Underhill 50 percent to 48 percent, with Libertarian Herb Sobel claiming just over 2 percent of the vote. That close margin led some Republicans to label Sobel a spoiler for their candidate.
(10.29.10) Orthodontist Jim Davis Pledges to Fight Health Insurance Mandate
RALEIGH — Republican candidate Jim Davis said he would vote to repeal the mandate to purchase insurance in ObamaCare "the first day." Incumbent Sen. John Snow supports an expansion of government involvement in health care.
(10.29.10) CJ Editorial: The Integrity of the Ballot
An early order of business for the 2011 General Assembly should be a new law setting tougher requirements when persons both register to vote and cast their ballots.
(10.29.10) Amendment Banning Ex-Felons from Becoming Sheriffs A Bad Idea
RALEIGH -- The state constitution should not be amended on a whim. And there's no sound reason to limit the rights of voters to choose among candidates for sheriff.
(10.28.10) Estimating the Republican Wave
In the NC Senate, generic polling has been a fairly good predictor of the share of votes cast for GOP candidates – but has tended to overestimate the number of seats won.
(10.28.10) VIDEO: Voting Irregularities Alleged
RALEIGH — Thursday, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer demanded action from the State Board of Elections regarding allegations that some touchscreen voting machines have recorded straight-ticket Republican votes as Democratic. The machines are used in 36 counties across the state. The state Democratic Party called the charges "reckless and absurd."
(10.27.10) VIDEO: Campaign Website Raises Ethics Questions
RALEIGH — State Rep. Darren Jackson disabled portions of his campaign website after an interview questioning whether those pages raised ethical concerns. At issue is whether Jackson violated legislative ethics rules by including his legislative assistant’s name and e-mail address, his legislative e-mail address, legislative phone number, and legislative office address on his campaign website. Jackson said he was reaching out to his constituents.
(10.27.10) No GOP Tsunami Required
If you measure the gains across seven wave elections, you will find average gains of two congressional seats, seven state senate seats, and 14 state house seats.
(10.26.10) Gaps in Voter Registration Process Raise Concerns of Fraud
RALEIGH — The penalty for “knowingly” providing a false statement on a voter registration form is a felony. But critics say the process for checking citizenship status is lax, so anyone with phony documents and no qualms about choosing untruthfully the “yes” box under “Are you a U.S. citizen?” has a good chance of beating the system.
(10.26.10) When Is a Lawsuit a Lawsuit?
SANFORD — Jimmy Love, a lawyer and Democrat representing North Carolina’s 51st House District, says he never was sued for sexual harassment in 1997. But official court records show that he was the subject of a counterclaim — technically, a lawsuit — brought by two former female legal clients who accused him of sexual misconduct.
(10.25.10) An October Surprise on Perdue?
The most likely explanation for federal interest in the Perdue flights is as a natural extension of the preexisting investigation of the Easley flights.
(10.25.10) Dodie Allen Tackles the Sacred Cow: Public Education
RALEIGH — Auctioneer and real estate agent Dodie Allen says the state spends a "ridiculous amount" on public education. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Phil Haire says public schools are the key to a better economy.
(10.23.10) VIDEO: Below the Belt Politics in N.C. Senate Race
ROSE HILL - The two men running to replace Sen. Charlie Albertson in the 10th District claim the other is hitting below the belt with campaign mailers. There is no clear polling in the race between Republican Brent Jackson and Democrat Dewey Hudson. The mailers claim, among other things, that Hudson failed to properly prosecute an illegal immigrant who ultimately drove drunk and killed a teacher in Brunswick County and Jackson failed to care for a migrant worker who suffered a severe heat stroke.
(10.22.10) It’s Popular to be Populist
Every large institution, with the interesting exception of the military, has suffered declines in public confidence.
(10.21.10) Montgomery County Follows $1 Million Property-Tax Hike With Sales-Tax Push
RALEIGH — After raising the local property tax rate by 9 cents in the past two years -- including a $1 million tax hike in the past year alone -- Montgomery County commissioners are pushing for a $225,000 sales-tax hike. John Locke Foundation researchers question that proposal in a new Regional Brief. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales-tax rate by 0.25 cents.
(10.21.10) Second Tier Legislative Races Heat Up in N.C.
RALEIGH — Republicans are rallying to recapture the General Assembly for the first time since the 19th century, putting Democrats on the defensive statewide. Contests in a handful of traditionally uncompetitive districts have tightened this year, leading to opportunities for the GOP.
(10.21.10) It’s Popular to Be Populist
No clearer example can be found of big government and big business colluding against the public interest than the past three years of bailouts and fake stimulus.
(10.21.10) Ministers Make Job Creation Their Mission in Senate District 45
RALEIGH — Steve Goss and Dan Soucek have a lot in common — they’re both ordained ministers, they’ve both been missionaries in Asia, and now they’d both like to bring jobs back to the economically depressed state Senate District 45, covering the northwestern corner of the state. What sets them apart is how they plan to do it.
(10.20.10) VIDEO: Republican in N.C. House 4 Race Says Democrat Misleading Voters
DUPLIN COUNTY - Republican Jimmy Dixon says Dr. Mott Blair is obscuring his true positions on issues in a series of campaign mailers. Blair attempts to distance himself from the Democratic Party, but he is the chair of the Duplin County Democratic Party and was a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Blair trails in the polls but boasts a much larger war chest of campaign cash.
(10.19.10) Secretive Clay County Commissioners Push $200,000 Tax Hike
RALEIGH — Clay County commissioners say a $200,000 sales-tax hike would help them pay for a new school, but John Locke Foundation researchers explain in a new Regional Brief that the numbers don't match the rhetoric. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate by 0.25 cents.
(10.19.10) A Big Bang in November?
North Carolina’s annexation law isn’t just unwise. It’s extreme. And it makes many North Carolinians extremely disenchanted.
(10.19.10) Democrats Play Defense in Competitive House 49 Race
RALEIGH — Without Lucy Allen’s name on the District 49 ballot, Republicans sense an opportunity to pick up the seat Nov. 2. Although registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 54-27 percent, the district went for George W. Bush by a comfortable percentage in 2004, and John McCain and Barack Obama finished neck-and-neck in 2008.
(10.18.10) Columbus County Commissioners Overstate Potential Tax-Hike Proceeds
RALEIGH — Columbus County commissioners are overselling the value of a proposed sales-tax increase by at least $300,000. That's the assessment of John Locke Foundation experts, who raise red flags about the mistaken estimates in a new Regional Brief. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate by 0.25 cents.
(10.18.10) Foriest, Gunn Face Off Again in Senate District 24
RALEIGH — Both major party candidates say they reluctantly support government incentives to lure businesses, but they agree on little else.
(10.18.10) Entrepreneur Takes on Paratrooper in House District 34 Race
RALEIGH — Republican challenger Steve Henion faces an uphill climb in his quest to defeat three-term incumbent Democrat Grier Martin in the 34th House District. Martin, an attorney and Charlotte native, handily won his last two election outings, and he has a sizeable campaign war chest.
(10.15.10) Ousted Cherokee County Commissioners Push Tax Hike As Parting Gift
RALEIGH — Three Cherokee County commissioners who lost primary elections hope to leave the county with a $600,000 sales-tax hike as a parting gift. John Locke Foundation researchers question the need for that tax increase in a new Regional Brief. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate by 0.25 cents.
(10.15.10) Don’t Bring Home the Bacon
Incumbent lawmakers, regardless of party or position, have a favorite slogan for this stage in a political campaign: “Re-elect me, or else our district will lose its pull.”
(10.14.10) Alamance Commissioners Offer No Good Reason to Support $2.4 Million Tax Hike
RALEIGH — Voters had no say before Alamance County commissioners decided to place a $2.4 million tax hike on the ballot, but they have plenty of good reasons to question that tax hike now. That's the assessment John Locke Foundation researchers make in a new Regional Brief. Alamance commissioners want voters to approve raising the local sales tax rate by 0.25 cents. It's the equivalent of a 1.9-cent property-tax rate increase.
(10.14.10) N.C. Candidates for U.S. House, Senate Address Health Care Repeal
RALEIGH — The issue of repeal has been elevated in the upcoming midterm election. Carolina Journal asked candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate (and Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is not running in this cycle) whether they would vote to repeal the recent legislation in the 112th Congress and how they would justify their decision.
(10.14.10) Don’t Bring Home the Bacon
Perhaps the most-objectionable reason offered to return an incumbent to office is a promise to “bring money back home.” It represents a repudiation of fiscal responsibility.
(10.14.10) VIDEO: Challenger Staging Strong Campaign in State House District 9
GREENVILLE - Republican challenger Stan Larson is staging a strong campaign against six-term incumbent Marian McLawhorn in the 9th District of the North Carolina House of Representatives. Larson is behind in the only poll of likely voters for the race by just 3 points. McLawhorn has a history of defeating her opponents easily.
(10.13.10) Harnett Voters Have Fourth Chance Since 2007 to Reject Tax Hike
RALEIGH — Three strikes have not been enough to stop Harnett County commissioners from pursuing a voter-approved $1.2 million tax increase. In a new Regional Brief, John Locke Foundation researchers set out reasons why Harnett voters might want to call "strike four." Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate by 0.25 cents.
(10.13.10) Pirating, Sexual Harassment Allegations Surface in House 51 Tussle
RALEIGH — The mudslinging underscores what has become a tense battle for control of the district that includes all of Lee County and part of Harnett County. The race pits incumbent Democrat Jimmy Love, an attorney with seven terms of experience in the House under his belt, against Republican Mike Stone, a small business owner and Sanford’s mayor pro tem.
(10.13.10) A Bountiful GOP Harvest?
Republicans seem poised to have their best off-year election since 1994. It’s possible this year’s performance will exceed their historic gains that year.
(10.13.10) GOP Aims to Knock Off Democratic Incumbent in House District 51
RALEIGH — No new taxes and lots of budget cuts — that’s the formula both candidates in the state House District 51 agree is in store for next year’s session of the General Assembly. But when it comes to how the Democratic-controlled legislature tackled the budget this year, their disagreement couldn’t be stronger.
(10.12.10) Three of Five Commissioners Agree: Tax Hike Bad for Person County
RALEIGH — Sharp divisions among Person County commissioners should raise red flags for voters considering a proposed $675,000 sales-tax hike. Three of the five commissioners have questioned the timing and potential negative impact of a tax increase, according to a new John Locke Foundation Regional Brief. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate 0.25 cents.
(10.12.10) Getting Out to the Polls
Careful students of recent NC politics have discovered that both Civitas and PPP produce survey results that are reliable, informative, predictive – and often similar.
(10.12.10) VIDEO: Challenger Upstaging Incumbent in State House District 10
KINSTON — Challenger Stephen LaRoque is upstaging his opponent incumbent Van Braxton in the race for North Carolina's House District 10. Republican LaRoque has been leading in the polls since May, and he's seizing on two controversial mailers sent by Braxton's campaign. The mailers accuse LaRoque of stealing a man's business and home. LaRoque answered the mailers with a defamation lawsuit. Braxton stands by the ads, and he stands by his record in the General Assembly.
(10.11.10) JLF Experts Say Third Time Is No Charm for Guilford Sales Tax Hike
RALEIGH — Guilford County voters have a chance to curb county commissioners' "credit card" spending spree when considering a proposed $11.6 million tax hike. That's the conclusion John Locke Foundation researchers reach in a new Regional Brief. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate 0.25 cents.
(10.11.10) Guide to the 13-Candidate N.C. Court of Appeals Race
RALEIGH — Although the race officially is nonpartisan, Carolina Journal has compiled available information on the candidates, including party affiliation, endorsements, current employment, website addresses, and responses to questionnaires by independent groups.
(10.08.10) Democrats Select N.C. Senate 19 as Essential Race
RALEIGH — N.C. Senate District 19, considered a swing district, comprises all of Bladen County and part of Cumberland County.
(10.07.10) N.C. Judicial Races Fly Under Voter Radar
RALEIGH — Already, judicial races are shaping up to be the untold story of 2010. One race in particular is the elephant in the room — a swing seat on the seven-member N.C. Supreme Court that could decide the fate of next year’s legislative redistricting plan.
(10.07.10) Joe Sam Queen Running Against the Wind in Senate 47
RALEIGH — Republican Ralph Hise criticizes incumbent Sen. Joe Sam Queen for “trumpeting and celebrating the creation of government jobs,” but Hise advocates using government money to create “private sector” jobs in the renewable energy field.
(10.07.10) Bladen Commissioners Ignore Promise in Seeking Sales-Tax Hike
RALEIGH — Bladen County voters can force county commissioners to honor their recent "No Tax Increase" promise as they say "yes" or "no" to a proposed $375,000 sales-tax hike. John Locke Foundation researchers question the sales-tax proposal in a new Regional Brief. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate 0.25 cents.
(10.07.10) VIDEO: Lawson Signs Bonded Term Limits Pledge
RALEIGH — Congressional candidate B.J. Lawson announced he signed a bonded term limit pledge Thursday in Raleigh. Under the pledge Lawson agreed to serve only four terms if elected to the House of Representatives, if he runs for a fifth he must pay the Moore County Sentinels of Freedom $1 million. Fellow Republican Ilario Pantano announced a similar pledge earlier.
(10.06.10) JLF Experts Question $2.3 Million Tax Hike for Orange County
RALEIGH — Orange County voters have plenty of good reasons to question county commissioners' request for a $2.3 million tax hike. John Locke Foundation researchers set out those reasons in a new Regional Brief. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether county commissioners can raise the local sales tax rate 0.25 cents.
(10.06.10) VIDEO: N.C. Senate 9 Candidates Call for Budget Cuts
WILMINGTON — The two candidates for N.C. Senate District 9 agree that spending cuts are on the horizon. The cuts are needed to bridge an anticipated $3 billion deficit next year. Democrat Jim Leutze says new taxes will be essential. Republican Thom Goolsby says the gap can be closed with spending cuts.
(10.05.10) Tough Economy Tops Voter Concerns in House District 112
RALEIGH — The 112th, which includes Cleveland and Rutherford counties, has been hit hard by the decline in the textile and furniture industries, and the recent economic meltdown has only added to the misery. Unemployment is 18 percent Rutherford County and almost 16 percent in Cleveland County.
(10.01.10) Finally Getting Down to Business
Free enterprise creates the conditions for business to thrive. But don’t expect business organizations and lobbies to be consistent advocates for free enterprise
(10.01.10) VIDEO: Republican Leads In Polling for Senate District 8
WILMINGTON — Political newcomer and veterinarian Bill Rabon maintains a significant lead in the polls over his Democratic opponent, veteran legislator David Redwine. Republican Rabon also reported raising more money than his opponent at the end to the last campaign finance reporting period.
(9.30.10) Political Heavyweights Enter the Ring in House District 81
RALEIGH — The 2008 contest was one of the closest and most expensive House races of the year, according to the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation. NCFEF reports Democratic Rep. Hugh Holliman spent $342,743 while Republican Rayne Brown spent just $15,258. The average cost of a winning House campaign was $65,807.
(9.30.10) Why The Cities Aren’t Competitive
Why are so few of the key House and Senate races in the state’s largest metropolitan areas? My theory is that it has to do with redistricting.
(9.30.10) What is the Tea Party?
The tea party is about freedom. While we might not agree on all the issues, we are united in our love of American principles.
(9.29.10) How the Instant Runoff for State Court of Appeals Will Work
RALEIGH — If all goes smoothly, the General Assembly might consider expanding the use of instant runoff voting to partisan races, which could be good news for third parties. Election officials also say holding an instant runoff will save taxpayers millions of dollars.
(9.29.10) A Four-Corners Offense
If the Republicans can successfully execute their Four Corners offense, plus a few, they’ll wield more legislative power in Raleigh than they’ve had in more than a century.
(9.29.10) VIDEO: Second GOP Candidate Lawsuit Likely
KINSTON — The Republican candidate for North Carolina's 10th House District will likely file a lawsuit within a week against his incumbent opponent. Stephen LaRoque says R. Van Braxton falsely accuses him of several crimes in two recent mailers. The pamphlets accuse LaRoque of stealing a restaurant owner's business and home through his lending. LaRoque denies all accusations in the brochures.
(9.28.10) Erroneous Campaign Mailer, Push Polls Emerge in House 41 Race
RALEIGH — Political analysts see the 41st House District, comprising northwest Wake County, as a textbook swing district. Voter registration is divided evenly between the major parties, with unaffiliated voters taking up one-third. Democrats narrowly won the district the last two elections, but the GOP hopes this year will be different.
(9.28.10) Should We Buy the Generic?
If you’re a Democrat, you loved 2006 and 2008. You’ll mourn 2010.
(9.27.10) Hollo, Munday Vie for Open Seat in State House District 88
RALEIGH — Earlier this year, the Raleigh-based North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation said the 88th District has the highest percentage of Republican voters of any district now represented by a Democrat, making it perhaps the best opportunity for Republicans to pick up a seat.
(9.24.10) GOP Hopeful of Capturing Senate Seat Held by Hoyle in District 43
GASTONIA — The two candidates vying to replace retiring Democratic state Sen. David Hoyle — the nine-term Gaston County legislator known as a consistent pro-business voice and vote — are signaling they’ll also back business on a key economic issue: the corporate income tax rate.
(9.24.10) VIDEO: Senate Candidate Newton Sues Opponent Swindell
WILSON - Republican candidate for the N.C. Senate E.S. "Buck" Newton filed a libel lawsuit against his opponent in the 11th Senate District, five-term incumbent A.B. Swindell. At issue is a mailer paid for by the N.C. Democratic Party and authorized by Swindell. It claims Newton was arrested in 1990 one several drug related charges. Newton says he was never arrested, all charges were dropped, and it was a case of mistaken identity.
(9.23.10) House 93 Candidates Differ on Legislative Priorities
RALEIGH — House District 93, comprising Ashe and Watauga counties, is among the top 10 most competitive seats in this year’s midterm elections, according to the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation, a Raleigh-based nonpartisan research and education organization.
(9.23.10) House 118 Candidates Clash on Social, Economic Issues
RALEIGH — Challenger Sam Edwards – an Anglican priest – said he “got off the fence” about opposing Democratic incumbent Ray Rapp when Rapp voted for “safe sex” education in middle schools.
(9.21.10) County Commission Association Tells Officials How to Sell Tax Hikes
GREENVILLE — Even in a struggling economy, local tax measures in the Tar Heel State have fared well. Of the nine counties that have held tax elections so far this year, only two have failed. At least nine more counties have a quarter-cent sales tax referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot.
(9.20.10) Guilford County Again Asks Voters to Hike Sales Tax
GREENSBORO — For the third time in two years, commissioners have placed a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the ballot, this time for the November midterm elections. Back in August commissioners voted 9-1 to put the tax increase on the ballot, with Commissioner Steve Arnold casting the only “no” vote. (Commissioner Kay Cashion was absent, but had expressed support for the increased sales tax.)
(9.16.10) Tar Heel Congressional Races Tighten
RALEIGH — In a year that political experts predict will bring electoral misery to incumbents in Washington, anything can happen. State and national Republicans, buoyed by positive polling numbers, are targeting Tar Heel congressional races once considered safely in the Democrats’ camp.
(9.15.10) VIDEO: Explaining the Obama Win in North Carolina
RALEIGH — The study by professors M.V. Hood III of the University of Georgia and Seth C. McKee of the University of South Florida attempts to explain, at least in part, how President Obama won North Carolina. Obama is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win North Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
(9.13.10) Key State and Federal Races to Watch in 2010
RALEIGH — To shrug off the mantle of permanent minority, Republicans need a net gain of nine seats in the state House and six in the state Senate. Aside from a brief stint in the 1990s, the GOP hasn’t controlled either chamber during the 20th or 21st centuries.
(9.10.10) If Election Day Were Today
If today were Election Day, it would be a disaster for the Democrats.
(9.10.10) N.C. Supreme Court Could Open Door to Third Parties
RALEIGH — The Libertarian and Green parties argue that the signature requirement is too burdensome and unconstitutional. They took their grievances to the state’s highest court after the Court of Appeals issued a split decision in favor of the state in 2009.
(9.08.10) If Election Day Were Today
If today were Election Day, it would be a disaster for the Democrats. The damage would extend all the way down the ballot here in North Carolina.
(9.03.10) Butterfield Faces Ethics Probe Over Foreign Travel
RALEIGH — The investigation comes on the heels of calls for Butterfield, a Democrat representing the state’s 1st Congressional District, to return $4,000 in campaign donations from a political action committee of embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y.
(9.01.10) Watauga Voters Snap Sales Tax Winning Streak
RALEIGH — County commissioners had pledged to use $1.9 million in revenue generated by the tax to build new recreational facilities, but voters wanted no part of it. At 17 percent, turnout was high for a referendum not held in conjunction with a primary or General Election. Many residents also took advantage of early voting.
(8.31.10) State GOP Kicks Midterm Election Season Into High Gear
RALEIGH — At a kick-off press conference Tuesday morning, Republican leaders and candidates launched what could be a historic general election season with a simple message: we’re the best hope for getting the Tar Heel State’s fiscal house in order.
(8.18.10) Critics Say Counties Using Bait-And-Switch Tactics on Tax Hikes
RALEIGH — The 2010 results signal a marked difference from the past two years, when voters rallied against quarter-cent sales tax hikes by wide margins. In 2008, increases passed just three of 34 times on the ballot, often voted down by 3-to-1 margins.
(8.05.10) Republicans: Bold Agenda or Pale Pastels?
The prevailing attitude among the D.C. consulting class is that just defining Obama's radical agenda will carry Republicans across the finish line in the fall -- capturing the House and making substantial gains in the U.S. Senate.
(7.23.10) N.C. House Candidates, Districts 7-13, Address Expiring Tax Cuts
RALEIGH — Carolina Journal contacted the North Carolina candidates running in Districts 7-13 for the U.S. House of Representatives, asking each about the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that are due to expire Dec. 31. The unedited replies from the candidates or their spokesmen follow.
(7.22.10) N.C. Federal Candidates Say How They Would Deal With Expiring Tax Cuts
RALEIGH — Carolina Journal asked the state's candidates for federal office their approach to the tax cuts that initially were passed in 2001 and 2003. Their unedited responses follow.
(7.20.10) It's All About the Politics
The NAACP and allied groups are trying to manufacture racial controversies in an attempt to change the political dynamics of 2010.
(7.19.10) Orange County Asks Voters To Pick Their (Tax) Poison
HILLSBOROUGH — If a Nov. 2 referendum were approved, Orange County’s sales tax rate would jump to 8 percent sometime in 2011 and generate an estimated $2.3 million per year in additional revenue.
(7.19.10) Tar Heel Democrats Vote To Keep Spending Stimulus Bucks on Signs
RALEIGH — In a report aired last week, ABC News attributed at least $5 million in spending to date on the signs. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., says the cost is closer to $20 million, and if continued unchecked, signs would cost nearly $200 million when funding from the stimulus law has been exhausted.
(7.16.10) Will Primary Nastiness Hurt The GOP in Efforts to Retake the 8th Congressional District?
A hard-fought campaign among Republicans slowed efforts to unseat freshman Democrat Larry Kissell in a swing Congressional district.
(6.30.10) The Placeholder Budget of 2010
In 2011, some $3 billion in short-term federal bailout funds and temporary taxes are scheduled to disappear from the state’s revenue availability
(6.29.10) Redistricting Could Be Biggest Consequence of Midterm Elections
RALEIGH — Redistricting can go far in making or breaking a party’s political fortunes. If Tar Heel Republicans control the process this time around, it could be their ticket out of an electoral slump that dates back to Reconstruction.
(6.23.10) Marshall, Johnson Victorious in Closely Watched N.C. Runoffs
RALEIGH — In the 8th Congressional District, Republicans voted in droves for former sportscaster Harold Johnson rather than irascible Raeford businessman Tim D’Annunzio. Republicans also nominated U.S. Navy veteran Bill Randall in the 13th Congressional District and Beaufort County businessman Greg Dority in the 12th.
(6.22.10) These Days I’m Confused
I admit it. I’m confused. North Carolina politicians are confusing me.
(6.16.10) Tar Heel Blue Dogs Mum on Pelosi Vote
The centrist House members would not talk about what may be the most consequential vote they would cast if re-elected next year: the vote for speaker of the House.
(6.16.10) VIDEO: Group Protests Outside Office of Rep. Bob Etheridge
RALEIGH - Rep. Bob Etheridge faced more heat over the viral video showing him grabbing a young man on a Washington, D.C., street. The group of 20 to 25 people assembled outside Etheridge's Raleigh office Wednesday and called on him to resign. Tuesday, his Republican opponent Renee Ellmers and N.C. Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer addressed the controversial video.
(6.15.10) VIDEO: U.S. Rep. Etheridge Outburst Caught on Tape
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Political fallout is just beginning following the release of a video documenting a confrontation between 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, a Democrat, and at least two young men in Washington, D.C.
Republicans are crying foul for the behavior shown in the video, and Etheridge apologized in a news conference Monday.
(6.15.10) Bob Etheridge At Large
Etheridge has suddenly become notorious as a symbol for an out-of-touch, out-of-control Congress.
(6.03.10) Runoff Fever Heats Up N.C. Republicans
RALEIGH — The GOP has three congressional runoffs scheduled for June 22, a development that’s sure to drain resources and could dilute candidates’ strength in the general election.
(5.19.10) Health Care Opt-Out Bills DOA in General Assembly
RALEIGH — Republicans in the General Assembly might have to wait until next year to take on the new federal health care law, as the legislature’s Democratic leadership has given a chilly reception to proposals allowing North Carolina to opt out of the law’s health insurance mandates.
(5.17.10) Foxx, Burr Score High on Pro-Growth Scorecard
RALEIGH — A Washington-based group advocating limited government has ranked North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx and Sen. Richard Burr, both Republicans, in its top tier of fiscally conservative lawmakers in 2009.
(5.06.10) Not Necessarily The News
The 2010 primary turnout was about average for a May primary in a nonpresidential year.
(5.03.10) What Politics Is About
As candidates, activists, journalists, and voters gear up for tomorrow’s primary elections, it’s important to remember what politics is really all about.
(4.30.10) GOP Aims to Push Joe Sam Queen Out of Office
RALEIGH — A county commissioner, a mayor, and a self-described native mountain woman are lined up to take on state Sen. Joe Same Queen, a Democrat from Haywood County.
(4.29.10) Addressing the Primary Issue
The 2010 elections will test the depths of the political reaction to the administration’s efforts to turn America sharply to the Left.
(4.29.10) Sluggish Economy Main Topic in House 112 Primary
CLEVELAND COUNTY — With the retirement of Democratic Rep. Bob England, Republican challengers believe they have a real opportunity to take the House District 112 seat in the November election. The political atmosphere is favorable. While registration in the 112th leans Democratic, it’s a conservative district where more than a few voters aren’t happy with government’s ever-expanding role in their lives.
(4.29.10) Good Samaritan Challenges Town Commissioner in Senate 45 GOP Primary
RALEIGH — North Wilkesboro town commissioner Jeffrey Elmore doesn’t think his Republican primary opponent Dan Soucek, director of Operation Christmas Child for Samaritan’s Purse, has what it takes to swim with the sharks in Raleigh.
(4.28.10) Republican Candidates Spar in House 77, Senate 34 Debate
SALISBURY — Five Republican candidates jabbed and prodded their way through a debate April 14 in Rowan County, hoping to convince voters in two rural state House and Senate districts to pull the lever for them in the primary.
(4.28.10) Bridges, Jobs Dominate House District 81 GOP Primary
DAVIDSON COUNTY — Cancer survivor Hugh Holliman, the state House majority leader, shepherded through the General Assembly a statewide smoking ban at most bars and restaurants, but in his own district there’s discontent about issues like deficient bridges.
(4.26.10) Jim and Jimmy Face Off in Western Primary
MURPHY — Two Republicans named James are going head-to-head in the southwestern corner of the state for a chance to defeat three-term Democratic state Sen. John Snow. They go by Jim and Jimmy. One’s an experienced public official, the other a first-time candidate for office. And they don’t see eye-to-eye on several crucial issues.
(4.23.10) Basic Thinking on Political Scandals
Scandals can determine electoral outcomes, but not through the mechanism that most often springs to mind: propelling undecided voters into the camp of the party out of power.
(4.23.10) Candidates in Packed House 34 Primary Throw Elbows
RALEIGH — In a North Carolina primary season crowded with Republican candidates, state House District 34 in north-central Wake County is one of the most crowded. Four GOP candidates are throwing elbows for a chance to face three-term Democratic Rep. Grier Martin in the midterm election this fall.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jamie Earp dropped out of the race late Friday afternoon after this story went to press.
(4.22.10) What Carolina Voters Think
With the May primary just a couple of weeks away, now is a good time to take a closer look at the sentiments of the North Carolina electorate for 2010.
(4.21.10) Gaston Hopefuls Joust for Position to Replace Retiring Senate Heavyweight Hoyle
GASTONIA — The primary for Senate District 43 includes current state Rep. Wil Neumann and Realtor Kathy Harrington, whose husband Michael served in the state House and was defeated by Hoyle in 2002. Kathy Harrington unsuccessfully challenged retiring Sen. David Hoyle for the seat in 2008.
(4.21.10) Basic Thinking on Scandals
Scandals can indeed determine electoral outcomes, but not through the mechanism that most often springs to mind.
(4.12.10) After Scandal, N.C. House 41 Race an Open Field
RALEIGH — A year ago, Ty Harrell had everything going for him. He had just won a second term representing North Carolina’s 41st House District in western Wake County. As a charismatic African-American and vice chair for two House committees, he was one of the state Democratic Party’s fastest rising stars.
(4.09.10) VIDEO: Kinston Group Challenging Voting Rights Act of 1965
KINSTON — A group of politicians, civic leaders, and concerned citizens are suing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. Specifically, they are challenging a Justice Department decision overturning a referendum establishing nonpartisan elections for local office.
(4.06.10) North Carolina Candidates Gear Up in Swing Districts
RALEIGH — For the first time in over a century, minority Republicans have a shot at wresting control of the legislature from Democrats, and it’s banking on a string of competitive races to do it.
(3.26.10) Health Care Law Stirs Political, Constitutional Hornets’ Nest
RALEIGH — It’s been less than a week since President Obama gave his stamp of approval to the most sweeping health care overhaul since Medicare, but the new law is already stirring political passions in North Carolina and affecting races for state and federal office.
(3.23.10) Paying for ObamaCare
Tired of hearing about health care? Sorry, but it will be a dominant political issue for years to come, much to the Democrats’ regret.
(3.23.10) VIDEO: Call For Jobs In Race to Succeed State Sen. Albertson
KENANSVILLE — In North Carolina’s 10th Senate District, both the Democratic and Republican parties will hold a primary to find a candidate to replace retiring Sen. Charlie Albertson. All of the contenders talk about the importance of attracting new jobs to Duplin, Lenoir, and Sampson counties.
(3.19.10) The Fight For Control
A focus on the founding principles will place North Carolina on the right path.
(3.17.10) VIDEO: Tort Reform an Issue in GOP Race For State Senate District 9
WILMINGTON — Michael Lee, who lost in 2008 to retiring three-term Sen. Julia Boseman by 3,000 votes, says his opponent Thom Goolsby was once against capping some awards in medical malpractice cases. Goolsby says he supports the North Carolina Republican Party platform, which endorses caps on damages for pain and suffering.
(3.15.10) Tar Heel Corporations Expand Influence Leading Into Midterms
RALEIGH — Taxes, regulation, and health care will play central roles in the upcoming midterm elections — and North Carolina corporations want a say in how their employees view those issues.
(3.09.10) VIDEO: Candidates Sign Bonded Term Limits Pledge
RALEIGH — Two Republican contenders for the 2nd District U.S. House seat now held by seven-term incumbent Democrat Bob Etheridge have made a financial commitment to term limits. If either wins, and tries to serve more than three terms, he’ll have to make a six-figure donation to charity.
(3.08.10) Unaffiliated Candidate Sues for Ballot Access
RALEIGH — Unaffiliated congressional candidate Mark Brody is suing the state over what he calls unfair and unconstitutional ballot access laws.
(2.25.10) Three Big Political Questions
If candidates for federal, state, and local office aren’t talking bluntly and frequently about competitiveness, voters should ignore them and find better leaders.
(2.22.10) Corruption, History Could Sting Democrats in 2010
RALEIGH — As a series of volatile midterm elections approach this November, most eyes are on the nation’s capital. But North Carolina could be in for some historic races of its own, as scandals, retirements, and political tides threaten Democrats’ majorities in the state General Assembly.
(2.15.10) Minor Parties Still Face Significant Ballot Barriers
RALEIGH — Backers of third parties hope to cash in on a growing frustration with the political establishment. The Tea Party demonstrations that started last year, the growth of unaffiliated voters, and the expansion of social networking to spur political activism has fueled optimism from minority parties.
(2.05.10) Can Republicans Cash in on the Massachusetts Miracle?
RALEIGH -- The chattering political class in Washington has been working overtime analyzing and dissecting the upset victory that Scott Brown engineered over Martha Coakley for the Senate seat previously held for nearly 50 years by the late liberal icon Teddy Kennedy.
(2.04.10) Kissell Walks Tightrope on Health Care
RALEIGH — North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell was one of three Tar Heel Democrats to break ranks with party leaders and vote against the House version of health care reform in November. Political observers say that vote could play a role in Kissell’s bid for re-election this year.
(1.20.10) Brown vs. Board of Regulation
Nervous North Carolina Democrats don’t need to abandon health care reform to save themselves from Martha Coakley’s fate. They just have to abandon the sinking ship.
(12.30.09) Perdue Needs More Than Wishes
Perdue made several mistakes, ranging from minor communication miscues to very public swipes at fellow Democrats, that should have been headed off at the staff level.
(12.14.09) Drawing A Chance Card
While I appreciate the second-chances theme, I think the most likely outcome in 2010 is that the Democratics will be left hoping for a third chance.
(11.19.09) NC Dems Hope for ’08 replay
We are nearing the end of the year before a key U.S. Senate race with some awfully familiar items in the news.
(8.06.09) N.C. Members of Congress Shy Away from Town Halls
RALEIGH — A CNN poll released Wednesday found that 71 percent of adult Americans were very likely (41 percent) or somewhat likely (30 percent) to attend a “town hall meeting or some other public forum where voters got a chance to speak” on health-care reform hosted by a member of Congress in their communities.