Archive for Heath Shuler

At a Democratic campaign rally back in 2008, an established Buncombe politician began a halfhearted stump speech with, “Well, y’all know me.”

Looking at all the new North Carolinians in the crowd both young and old who had lived in the area only a few years, it was clear many did not.

Decades of marketing efforts inviting Ausländers to vacation and retire in western North Carolina had succeeded beyond local officials’ wildest dreams — and in spite of some of their efforts. Asheville landed on top ten list after top ten list. Now, for local power brokers that dream was becoming a nightmare. Their marketing success had shifted the political landscape under their feet.

Mr. “Ya’ll know me” was going to have to do more to win votes than have a D behind his name or hope voters had known him since childhood. Luckily, that year several local officials rode Barack Obama’s coattails.

Not so for District Attorney Ron Moore in 2014. John Boyle’s Asheville Citizen-Times commentary on Sunday chalked up Moore’s May 6 primary loss to Todd Williams to running into a progressive “machine.” What he ran into was the 21st century.

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Not From Around Here, Are Ya?

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Downtown Raleigh from Western Boulevard Overpass
Photo credit: Mark Turner, Wikimedia Commons

When Heath Shuler was Asheville’s congressman, I used to joke that I’d been living within 100 miles of Asheville longer than our congressman had been alive. Yet he was a native son and I remain “not from around here.”

Rob Christensen observes how the rapid influx of newcomers to North Carolina is a reflection of what North Carolina is doing right, contrary to the “broken” narrative that Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led legislature repeat ad nauseam to denigrate the last 100 years of Democratic dominance in Raleigh.

A net 2 million people have immigrated to the state since 1990. Where once North Carolina had one of the largest native-born populations in the country, now 42 percent of the state’s residents were born elsewhere, including many of the state’s current crop of GOP political leaders. Read More→

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Uhhh, what day is it?

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Oh, right, third day of early voting in North Carolina. Notes from the field:

If you live outside the city limits, you will not get to vote on the water referendum.

Pretzel logic: Word is that the GOP is now telling their people to vote no on it, too. They released this grammatical masterwork:

“In the wake of Asheville City Council’s move to privatize the Asheville Municipal Golf Course, we do not see it as wise for them to also attempt to privatize an asset they do not own and which roughly half of its customers reside outside city limits. We urge all city voters to vote “no” on this referendum.”

Think the GOP sees a solid defeat ahead and doesn’t want to be seen as supporting a state takeover?

More pretzel logic: Rumor has it that Rep. Tim Moffitt would also vote no against the referendum prompted by opposition to his own actions and that he can’t vote for anyway. Moffitt lives outside the city limits. Didn’t Moffitt run for office as an opponent of forced annexation?

A few snafus the first day or two of early voting. Buncombe BOE is working on them. In early voting in Buncombe, it’s Ds over Rs by over 2:1. Twenty percent more women than men.

All they really needed to know they never learned in kindergarten: Obama lawn signs are disappearing overnight all over the county and beyond, according to reports. (In 2006, they used orange and black spray paint on Heath Shuler signs.) Had to check in with the lawyers; several (isolated?) reports of Republican officials(?) outside One-Stop locations harassing my volunteers. Nothing major yet.

Number one voter question: Do you have any Obama bumper stickers? Answer: NO. Why do voters think our electioneers are supposed to have stickers and pins to give out? (Obama raised over a hundred million in the last quarter. Ask him what he did with it.)

No Debbie: Debbie Wasserman Schultz was in town and didn’t even make a phone call to us. Yet voters call Democratic HQ to complain about policy or the Obama campaign as if we have a direct line to the White House or the DNC. It’s like calling privates and corporals at the motor pool to complain about battle strategy.

Confusion over the Obama HQ vs. Buncombe Democratic Party HQ. People keep showing up at our headquarters thinking it’s where they are scheduled to be for their Obama phone bank. Others look online for the location and phone of Obama HQ and end up at the Merrimon Ave. office space next to Bojangles that the campaign used in 2008. Those 2008 web sites never came down. If you’re looking for Obama HQ on Merrimon Ave., that ain’t it.

The BOE has changed it’s 50-foot electioneering markers to orange cones with small flags in them. I liked the old ones better.


NC-11 Open Thread

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It’s a few weeks before the big primary, so I thought we could start having conversations about specific Democratic primary races in the area. Today: the NC-11 campaign.

Cecil Bothwell has been running for this seat since March of last year. Cecil’s a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who asserts that his brand of boldness is exactly what Democratic voters, tired of Blue Dog Democrat shenanigans, really want. He doesn’t accept PAC donations, and this choice leaves him in a great money deficit to Hayden Rogers. He’s received endorsements from national progressive personalities and groups, and he reports that tea party libertarians like him too.

Hayden Rogers is Heath Shuler’s Chief of Staff and has been on board the Shuler team since day one. He’s running well to the right of Bothwell, tacitly making the argument that only a conservative candidate can hope to win NC-11, the reddest district in North Carolina since the NCGOP redrew the lines. Rogers raised $300k+ in six weeks of fundraising – no surprise with the depth of network he’s got.

Tom Hill is the other guy. He got the first of his fifteen minutes by shining a light on the troubles with the Henderson County Sheriff. I don’t know diddly about his politics, but he said this in an HT-N article, “I am somewhere between Cecil Bothwell, the left, and Hayden Rogers, on the right”.

So handicappers, what’s the CW on the race?


Don’t Mess With Earned Retirement Benefits

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Or with Susie Madrak at C&L:

These jerks just don’t get it. They will get at our earned retirement benefits like Social Security and Medicare over our dead bodies. Because once we don’t have enough to live on when we’re old, and can’t afford go to the doctor when we’re sick, we have nothing left to lose and we’re going to be camped out in the waiting rooms of our local Congress critters, hoping to spread whatever bacteria or virus is in our system.

Please understand: They are just going to keep trying until they catch us with our guard down. Don’t let it happen.

The Hill reports that a small, secret bipartisan legislators from the House and Senate are working to craft a “deficit grand bargain legislation that cuts entitlements and raises new revenue.” Guess who?
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Exit Shuler

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The Fix:

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) will not run for reelection after three terms in office.

“This was not an easy decision,” Shuler said. “However, I am confident that it is the right decision. It is a decision I have weighed heavily over the past few months. I have always said family comes first, and I never intended to be a career politician.”

With the congressional supercommittee expected to fail in its attempt to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts over the next decade by next week, another group in Congress is urging even deeper cuts.

WASHINGTON — With the deadline for a supercommittee deficit-reduction deal closing in, more than 150 members of Congress from both political parties made a renewed push Wednesday for a $4 trillion package.

But that doesn’t appear likely to happen, since the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is struggling even to come up with its mandated goal of at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.

As one of the organizers of the effort, NC-11’s usually media-shy Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) has been making the rounds on the Beltway media circuit this week, urging the committee “to be brave and go big.”

The show of fiscal breast beating from 150 members of Congress from both political parties is supposed to convince the public that Congress is serious about pursuing budget austerity. Without raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) told reporter John King, even though two thirds of Americans support that. Appearing with Shuler, Chambliss suggested that more corporate tax cuts would allow America to grow its way out of debt. Call it Trickle Down 3.0.

(Fool me thrice, shame on who?)

But if the supercommittee is already poised to fail and if, as some congressmen have suggested, the dreaded triggers may be “reconsidered” if the committee fails to deliver, wouldn’t it be strategic to have a high-minded-sounding stand on principle to wave before voters in the next election?

If the committee fails to deliver next week, you’ve proven your austerity bona fides by publicly pressing for deeper, less politically viable cuts than the smaller package the supers could not agree on.

Alternately, if in a clutch move the committee does deliver an agreement next week, you can vote against it and explain that it was too small to boost the confidence of “the markets.”

In Washington, that’s a win-win.

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They Complain? Beat Them Harder.

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When Buncombe voters turned out to express their alarm and dismay regarding the newly redrawn Congressional districts, some of us held out hope that the obvious illogic of dividing our mountain county would win out, that anyone could see the injustice being done and that political pressure to do the right thing would win the day.

We were wrong.

The latest version of the Congressional district map carves even more of Buncombe County into Rep. Patrick McHenry’s 10th District.


The latest Republican plan would include even less of Buncombe County in the 11th Congressional District. Buncombe County has [238,318] residents. Asheville has 83,939.

July 1 plan:
• 129,646, or 54 percent in 10th
• 108,672, or 46 percent in 11th
• 63,600, or 76 percent in the 10th
• 19,793, or 24 percent in the 11th

July 19 plan:
• 150,156 or 63 percent in the 10th
• 88,162 or 37 percent in the 11th
• 72,053 or 86 percent in the 10th
• 11,340 or 14 percent in the 11th

UPDATE: A 3rd version of the Congressional map (Rucho-Lewis 2A) was released last night. It has only 54% of Asheville turned over to Patrick McHenry. I haven’t been able to dig into the numbers to know which precincts, etc. I’m looking forward to hearing from the folks who have.
Mountain Xpress has more:

Against that backdrop, all eyes are turning toward Rep. McHenry of the 10th District. A deputy majority whip, the powerful four-term Republican also serves on the House Financial Services Committee. Elected to Congress at age 29 after a short stint in the Statehouse, McHenry quickly became a fair-haired boy of the modern conservative movement, hailed by the National Journal recently as the “most conservative member of Congress from North Carolina and the 17th most conservative representative in the country.”

When it comes time to cast ballots for elected representation at every level from County Commission to NC Legislator to Congress it will be our responsibility to answer this insult with electoral injury.


Cecil – Democrat

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I don’t have much time this morning, so I’m going to drop this topic and head out the door. Cecil Bothwell, who had previously announced an intention to run for Congress as an Unaffiliated or Independent candidate has changed his mind and is going to face Heath Shuler in the Democratic Party primary in May, 2012.

Here’s Cecil’s press release in its entirety:

Cecil Bothwell, who announced his congressional bid on March 27, has decided to enter the 2012 Democratic primary. “I originally believed that the best way to address issues too long ignored, and to challenge the corporate power over the national parties was to run as an independent,” Bothwell explained. “But I’ve heard from hundreds of people, from WNC to Washington, DC, who believe the most likely path to success is up the middle instead of trying for an end-run. Groups are smarter than individuals, and I’m following advice gleaned from a wide network of friends and supporters.”

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