Archive for NC Senate race


About Those Toll Lanes

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About Thom’s Tholl Road I wrote about yesterday,

Tillis expects to fund highway projects all across North Carolina using tolls. WSOC-Charlotte reported this summer that a round trip from Mooresville to Charlotte on Tillis’ I-77 HOT lanes could cost commuters $20 every weekday.

People in the Charlotte area — especially those struggling with low-paying jobs — are asking about the cost to use Spain-based Cintra’s toll lanes.

“Who knows?”

That’s how the man in charge of proposed Interstate 77 toll lanes responded to a town commissioner’s question about whether tolls could max out in another 20 years at more than $40 round trip.


“There is no one I have spoken to that believes an eleven dollar trip is reasonable in any way,” said Cornelius Town Commissioner John Bradford. “These numbers have really set off a lot of alarms and bells.”

Asheville has an interstate highway expansion project in the works, too. What would you be willing to pay? What would state Reps. Tim Moffitt and Nathan Ramsey consider reasonable for you to pay?


PAC Ad Tags Thom Tillis

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With the primaries over, North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race pits incumbent Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan against NC House Speaker Rep. Thom Tillis. In this His record presents a target-rich environment

Senate Majority PAC went immediately after NC House Speaker Rep. Thom Tillis last week, filming its first post-primary ad at Tillis’ victory party on Tuesday and releasing it Friday. Tillis clinched the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate and will face incumbent Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan in the fall.

Senate Majority PAC is spending $850,000 to air the ad for two weeks statewide on broadcast and cable stations. It brings the outside group’s total spending to $4.4 million in the North Carolina Senate race, adding to ads it aired earlier this year to boost Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and attack Tillis.

Thomas Mills at Politics NC blog calls the ad “ballsy.”

It’s a great spot. The narrator is approachable and is talking to the audience, not at them. The concept is creative, attention-grabbing, and unique. The message is strong and begins to define Tillis’ “conservative revolution.” The legislature is too conservative for this purple state and Tillis needs to own his actions.

If Tillis doesn’t, someone else us ready to do it for him.

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There are a lot of self-described patriots in this country who really don’t much like this country. (I mean the real one, not their imaginary one.) Jon Stewart pointed out how the gun-toting militiamen surrounding Cliven “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing” Bundy could at least have created their own flag instead of waving the flag of the government they don’t recognize.

North Carolina Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Dr. Greg Brannon, may or may not be a self-described patriot, but he’s endorsed by Tea Party Patriots (of the Bundy kind?). He’s quoted as saying this about discussing guns after the Sandy Hook shootings:

“Senator Hagan says we got to have a nice debate and discussion (about gun control) about what to do. See that’s called a democracy which is actually socialism which is called majority rule.”

Perhaps Brannon napped through civics class? He doesn’t seem to approve of democracy, of majority rule, yet he’s hoping to be elected to the United States Senate by a majority. Because that’s how elections work in the real America. How they work in the Tea Party’s fantasy one is anybody’s guess.

Certain fringe types love to correct you if you call America a democracy. It’s a republic, non-elite patriots insist as pedantically as condescendingly. Perhaps because republic sounds like Republican, and because that word has better mouth feel than anything sounding like Democrat. But for your Bircher, as the sign suggests, it’s more than that. Democracy isn’t just majority rule; it’s mob rule. And, oh, they fear it.

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Organizing for 2014

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Your Buncombe County Democratic Party needs you. We’re getting organized to make some change in 2014 elections, and every registered Democrat is invited to be a part of it. After the jump please find the time and location of your precinct meeting. Not sure which precinct you’re in? Use this handy tool.

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wolfWhen the NC General Assembly political advertisements rain down upon us later this year, you’ll be hearing a lot about the tax cuts being peddled as good for the little guy. Yes, the cuts will further reduce resources for education, mental health, and other important services. Yes, the cuts will give the wealthiest North Carolinians some nice wallet padding, some of which will trickle down into campaign coffers. The thing that NC Policy Watch wants everyone to know is that these tax cuts are actually a tax increase on most of us. Please bookmark this post – you will need it to counter the coming disinformation campaign from the ruling party.


66—percentage of tax cut passed by the 2013 General Assembly that will go to the wealthiest one percent of North Carolinians (“Final tax plan puts at risk what makes North Carolina great,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, August, 2013)

940,000—amount in dollars of annual income of wealthiest one percent of North Carolinians (Ibid)

80—percentage of North Carolina taxpayers—the bottom 80 percent—who will pay more under the tax plan approved by the General Assembly this summer that also allows the state Earned Income Tax Credit expire for low-wage workers (Ibid)


2,898—amount in dollars of tax INCREASE for married non-elderly couple with two kids with a small business income of $80,000 (Ibid)

262—amount in dollars of tax INCREASE for married couple with two children with an annual income of $20,000 (N.C. General Assembly Fiscal Research Division)

2,318—amount in dollars of the DECREASE in taxes for a married couple with two children with an annual income of $250,000 (Ibid)

23—number of days since state tax deductions ended for retirement income, small businesses, unreimbursed job expenses and college 529 savings plans, all part of the 2013 tax plan passed by the General Assembly


Observer to Thom Tillis: Resign

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The Charlotte Observer late Thursday called for NC House Speaker Thom Tillis to resign. Tillis is too busy raising money to run for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Kay Hagan to attend to state business, the Observer believes. He’s been AWOL for several days when dozens of bills were being raced through the legislature.

Besides missing important House business, Tillis’ moonlighting has the look of the pay-to-play politics that Republicans decried among Democrats for so long. A superPAC for Tillis raised $70,000 from George A. Sywassink, R. Doyle Parrish and W.G. Champion Mitchell, newly released records show. Tillis’ House named all three to the UNC Board of Governors recently, including Sywassink after declaring there had been a vote-tallying error the first time around.

State law bars legislators from raising money from lobbyists during the legislative session, but the ban doesn’t apply to federal candidates like Tillis. So he can attend a fundraiser hosted by Royce Everette, a major consumer finance lender, days after the legislature approved a bill raising interest rates and fees for Everette’s industry.

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In an editorial this morning, the Greenville, NC “Reflector” came out strongly in support of Asheville’s fight to retain local control over its drinking water.

As you may recall, language was added to H94, an environmental bill sponsored by Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, language intended (apparently) to strengthen the state’s legal case in its lawsuit with Asheville. The change put Greenville’s water system directly in the crosshairs of Rep. Tim Moffitt’s water grab. As Barry Summers recounted last week, in the NC Senate, Greenville was not amused:

The entire leadership of the town of Greenville, NC was recognized in the gallery, by the Senator that represents them. They are clearly there to give the Senate the stinkeye over the possibility that their water system may get grabbed up in Rep. Moffitt/McGrady/Ramsey’s theft of Asheville’s water.

Greenville got at least a temporary reprieve when the language was stripped.

But the Reflector’s editors, at least, have not forgotten who put a target on their backs or why. In its stinging editorial, Greenville’s newspaper spoke out against the seizure of Asheville’s municipal assets, calling the state’s actions “reckless trampling on municipal authority” and a “worrisome precedent” that could come back to bite Greenville again. The paper urged citizens to not sit by idle and pretend the situation has returned to normal.

No, something is rotten in Raleigh when lawmakers overreach their authority and claim municipal resources for the state without recompense. Just as Greenville should be comfortable in its control over its water supplies so too should other communities. The overreach exhibited in this case cannot be allowed to stand, and this city should be a vocal proponent of Asheville as it continues this fight.


Not Born Yesterday

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The Washington Post takes North Carolina Republican legislators to the woodshed over last week’s amendments that created the state Senate’s Sharia/abortion bill:

In pretending to promote safety, the actual accomplishment of these amendments would be to place an undue burden on women seeking abortions. Fewer clinics means less access to licensed, well-equipped providers. Where is the safety in that? These restrictions are disingenuous attempts to infringe on a woman’s ability to make constitutionally protected decisions in consultation with her doctor.

No kidding. We’ve spent days here in NC wondering how these people can sleep or look themselves in the mirror after telling the women of North Carolina that these measures are being enacted for their own protection, and do it with solemn faces and the Savior watching.

The Post notes objections about legislative process by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R). But it remains to be seen whether McCrory will stand by a campaign pledge not to sign legislation including new restrictions on abortion access such as those in Texas and Ohio. The Post continues:

In fact, disrespect for process is a disturbing commonality in many of these proposed restrictions and further evidence of their true intent. Any law that will limit women’s access to abortion and to much other health care deserves a public hearing. Honesty about the true motivation of these laws would be welcome, too.

As North Carolina tries to nail down a budget, it’s honesty more than money that is in short supply in Raleigh.


War? What War? Oh! That One.

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The day after, Rachel Maddow reports:


Class Assignment

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Vote suppression continues. Senate Bill 428, “An ACT to reform North Carolina’s voting process,” repeals one-stop voting during primary and general elections and cuts back early voting by a week.

I’m a little swamped, so your assignment, Hooligans:

By what percent did early voting participation change among registered Republican voters from 2008 to 2012 (general elections only)? Compare to change among registered Democrats during the same period.

By what percent did same-day registration change among voters registering Republican from 2008 to 2012 (general elections only)? Compare to change among registered Democrats during the same period.

Extra credit: Provide links and include raw numbers to support your answers.