Archive for NC Senate race


Today’s the Day

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I’ll be outside a voting precinct today advocating for the candidates I support. Over 40% of Buncombe County’s eligible voters already cast a ballot during early voting. The weather today is cool to cold and a threat of rain all day. Americans for Prosperity (a.k.a. Koch Bros.) are paying people to work the polls, even here in Buncombe. Democrats, meanwhile, have volunteers out helping.

If you have any time today, help out at your polling place. An hour or two can make an enormous difference. Here’s a handy list of Democratic candidates if you need it. It tends to be the case that a lot of Election Day voters come in not necessarily knowing about downticket races like Register of Deeds, County Commission, or the referendum. That’s where your presence makes a big, big difference.

Whether or not you work a poll, here are some other things you can do today to help:

1) Email all of your contacts urging them to vote.
2) Text all of your contacts urging them to vote.
3) Call the slackers in your life and urge them to vote.
4) Offer rides to the polls to people who need them.
5) If you’re using social media like Facebook and Twitter, be sure to link people to the above list of candidates.

It’s gonna be a nail biter, folks. No matter what happens, we’ll get through it together.


Off The Blog, On The Street

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Hi, all. With early voting in high gear, it’s vital that folks get off their computers and down to their early voting sites. Our Buncombe County Democratic Party is doing a great job staffing the polls, but there are a few sites that still need some support. Email scrutiny hooligans AT yahoo . com if you can offer some noontime or afternoon hours to help do voter education!


2012 Democratic Candidates

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You probably know just who to vote for in the Presidential race and the Congressional race. Maybe you even have your legislators and County Commissioners figured out. How many of you have the County School Board or statewide judicial races sussed? To help you sort out who’s who, the Buncombe County Democratic Party has put together a handy list of Democratic candidates. Use it if you want it, leave it if you don’t!

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Let’s Just Say It

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I recommend reading this entire article, though you’ll run the risk of having some area Republicans and equivalency fetishists gnash their teeth when you share it with them.

Thomas E. Mann is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. This essay is adapted from their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism,” which will be available Tuesday.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

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Politics Now

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I’ve really been enjoying Jon Ostendorff’s blog over at the AC-T, Politics Now. Check it out. You’ll see a statement from Hayden Rogers, a pic of Cecil Bothwell’s newest billboard, news about a Tea Party challenger to Tom Apodaca, and a whole lot more.

What blogs are you enjoying? Share some link love in the comments.

From NC Policy Watch:

Recently, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives went so far as to say that his goal was to pit disabled people against poor people as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy.

Sadly, this was more than an unguarded moment; it was in fact a neat summary of the strategy employed by conservative legislative leaders during the 2011 state legislative session.

So, how “successful” were they? And is there anything a person can do get a handle on this situation (and maybe even speak out about it)?

If these or other similar questions have occurred to you lately, don’t miss a chance to hear some answers from two of the state’s most prominent voices for sane, sound and progressive public policy. Join us at noon on Monday December 12 for a special Crucial Conversation with the staff of the state’s leading progressive policy think tank, N.C. Policy Watch.

Chris Fitzsimon is the Director of N.C. Policy Watch and North Carolina’s leading progressive media personality. Chris is a veteran journalist and nonprofit leader whose daily commentaries are heard on radio and read online throughout North Carolina. His colleague, Rob Schofield is the Director of Research at N.C. Policy Watch. Rob is lawyer, lobbyist and writer with more than 25 years experience fighting for progressive policies at the state level.

Admission includes a box lunch. Space is limited – pre-registration required.
Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob at

Register Here.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
One Edwin Place
Asheville, NC 28801
Map and Directions

Start Time: 12:00 p.m.
End Time: 01:30 p.m.
Price: $10.00

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Well, not yet anyway. But why not drop the pretense of redistricting and elections and just cut to the chase?

Yesterday in Raleigh, state Senate lawmakers advanced another bill aimed at making voting harder for North Carolinians who actually make it into the voting booth after clearing the other hurdles the GOP-led legislature has proposed. Reporter Laura Leslie put it succinctly [emphasis mine],

The state Senate voted on straight party lines tonight to forbid NC voters from doing the same thing.

Senate Bill 411 would repeal the law that allows voters entering the ballot box to choose to vote for all the candidates in one party or the other. About 40% of voters in NC use this option.

Those mischievous scamps, what will they think of next? That’s SB411, also described as the “Elect Pat McCrory” bill.

Since taking over the North Carolina state legislature, the NCGOP has voted to…

  1. Shorten the early voting period by a week [HB 658 -- passed the House]
  2. Require registered voters to show a photo ID before voting [HB 351 -- passed out of committee in the House, on the House calendar for action today]
  3. Eliminate a voter’s choice to vote a straight ticket [SB 411 -- passed the Senate]

There’s more besides, as lawmakers rush through bills ahead of a key procedural deadline. Passage of a bill through either house by Thursday means they can be considered again next year.

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Time to Huddle

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Good morning, Hooligans. Buncombe County was almost perfect last night in its election of candidates who care about progressive values like the environment, labor, and education. Heath Shuler, Martin Nesbitt, Patsy Keever, Susan Fisher, Marvin Pope, Patricia Young, Van Duncan, and the others won through cooperation and the help of a mighty county Democratic Party GOTV effort. Elaine Marshall even won in Buncombe County!

Buncombe results here
NC results here
National results here

However, with the ascendancy of the GOP in the House and Senate in Raleigh and in the House of Representatives in Washington, it’s time to reflect on our progressive goals and strategies for the near term and long term. Where Republican leaders want to work together and come to common solutions, we ought to greet them with open arms while stifling our surprise. Where they want to steamroll, we ought to provide a spirited opposition.

It was going to be a tough budget year no matter who was in charge. Now it’s going to be a tough budget year led by folks who’ve promised to reduce revenue and cut services from our state government. It’s also time to redraw the lines of our electoral districts, and a monopoly on power during this process does not bode well.

I will huddle with folks at the municipal level to determine our legislative agenda going forward and to figure out what to do if legislators restrict Asheville’s revenue choices even further. I’ll huddle with social justice leaders to determine what to do if anti-marriage forces determine that bigotry ought to be enshrined in a constitutional amendment. I’ll huddle with Democratic Party leaders to plan a strengthening of our organization in the 11th Congressional District. I’ll huddle with political leaders to determine how to cope with the possibility of a decimation of our public education system, mental health services, and homelessness services.

Republican leaders in North Carolina may choose to govern by recognizing the needs of the most vulnerable among us. They may recognize the need to loosen the legislative shackles placed on Asheville. They may decide not to openly discriminate against LGBT North Carolinians. Here’s hoping. And while we wait and hope, it’s vital that we also get to work. This election is not a call for progressives to fall back, it is a call to redouble our efforts and refocus our politics.

I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts. It’s time to put ideas on the table. Criticism and gloating are acceptable, though I’ll urge you to be as constructive as you can.


You Are Democracy

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You care deeply about your country. You believe that elections are important and that they have consequences. You’re Republicans, Independents, Democrats, Progressives, Liberals, Greens, and Libertarians. You believe that we’re all in this together. You respect the other guy’s right to vote as much as your own. You are not beholden to anger, outrage, vengeance, prejudice, or fear. You are not bought by 30-second ads.

You are the American voter, and your time is now.

The polls are open from 6:30am – 7:30pm today across North Carolina. You can find your polling place here.

Civitas, in addition to working feverishly with Art Pope’s coin to defeat anyone who’s not a Republican, has put up an excellent “Vote Tracker”. It tells me that 35,244 people voted early in Buncombe County and 110,797 people voted early across the 11th Congressional District. That leaves a metric fecal ton of you who haven’t yet voted. Today’s your day.

If you’re still trying to decide how to mark your ballot, here are some handy links.

Holly Jones Voter Guide
Lindsey Simerly Voter Guide
Parker Sloan Statewide Judicial Picks
Mountain Xpress Candidate Surveys

If you’ve already voted, then maybe you want to help Get Out The Vote. Shoot me your info, and I’ll get you connected. Alternately, maybe some campaign workers want to slap some hot info into the comment thread.

Where will folks watch the returns roll in? I know that some Democrats are gathering at the very fun Renaissance ballroom with the cash bar. Michael Muller will be all a’twitter with the journalistic set at Pack’s Tavern, and Bridgette Odom is having a party there too. The Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe is normally very receptive to political partiers. Tuck more destinations into the comment thread.

Lastly – use this as your all-purpose Election Day Open Thread. If it gets too lengthy, I’ll add another one after the polls close.

It’s your day, democracy. Time to shine.

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Early voting is open Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 8am-1pm. Then you have to wait until deadline voting on Tuesday, so get out there and participate in your democracy.

If Parker Sloan’s and Lindsey Simerly’s weren’t enough, here are the electoral choices of Buncombe County Commissioner, YWCA Executive Director, and all around beautiful person – Holly Jones:

Most of you have probably already done it. But for those of you who haven’t, I’m just reminding you that it’s time to vote. You can go to early voting today and tomorrow from 8am-6pm and Saturday from 8am-1pm. If you vote early, it helps our candidates know who to focus on in the last days before Nov. 2nd, so please come out and vote early.

I’m including the folks I’m voting for below. They’ve all earned my support. Thank you!

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