Each week, staff at Carolina Journal looks back at the week in N.C. politics and chooses several interesting, relevant stories you may have missed. Here’s this week’s review:
Lawsuit alert! Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is suing Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over Cooper’s COVID-19 executive orders. Several sections of the Emergency Management Act require the governor to receive Council of State approval before using statewide emergency powers, Forest said in a news release. So far, the Council of State hasn’t approved any of the governor’s COVID-19 executive orders. Forest, one of 10 Council of State members, has frequently criticized the governor’s executive orders shutting down parts of the economy to curb the spread of COVID-19. But before Forest will sue, he wants Cooper’s permission to hire an outside lawyer. Forest doesn’t think Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein — who helped draft the emergency orders — would aggressively defend the lieutenant governor in court.
Travel restrictions: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are requiring all visitors from COVID-19 hotspots to quarantine for 14 days. North Carolina is on the list of states with high rates of coronavirus. Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, Utah, and Texas are also on the list. In New York, violators could face a judicial order, mandatory quarantine, and thousands in fines. “We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down, and we don’t want to see it go up,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN. How New Jersey and Connecticut will enforce the order is unclear.
Ace Speedway: Stop the races, said an Alamance County judge. Superior Court Judge D. Thomas Lambeth Jr. ruled against Ace Speedway on June 24 in its bid to continue racing, despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order prohibiting mass gatherings. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services ordered Ace Speedway to halt operations June 9, after the track held several races with thousands in attendance. Ace Speedway rejected the order to stop holding races. The state health department took the raceway to court, where the judge sided with the department — that COVID-19 posed a significant threat. Ace Speedway will appeal the decision, Chuck Kitchen, a lawyer representing the speedway, told the News & Observer.
11th Congressional District: Madison Cawthorn won the Republican primary run-off for the 11th Congressional District — defeating Lynda Bennett, who was hand-picked by former Rep. Mark Meadows and endorsed by President Trump. Meadows resigned earlier this year to become Trump’s chief of staff. Cawthorn, a 24-year-old motivational speaker, won nearly 66% of the vote. Cawthorn will face Democrat Moe Davis in the November general election.