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Tuesday News: Let's try this again...

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NEW ELECTION SCHEDULE FOR NC09 ESTABLISHED: The period for candidates to file to run in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District would begin March 11 and end March 15. The primary would be held May 14, and the general election would be on Sept. 10, a date that coincides with Charlotte’s municipal primaries. If no candidate wins more than 30 percent of the vote in the 9th district primary, a runoff election will be held Sept. 10, followed by a general election Nov. 5. The 9th District runs from Charlotte to rural Bladen County. Unofficial results showed the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, leading the Democratic candidate, Dan McCready by 905 votes after the election. But the state elections board twice refused to make the results official due to concerns about tampering with mail-in ballots. After a months-long investigation and a four-day hearing, the state board ordered a new election on Feb. 28.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article227077449.html

Monday News: Folwell's Folly?

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BILL FILED TO BLOCK STATE TREASURER'S REVAMP OF STATE HEALTH PLAN: A plan to save state employees money on their health insurance expenses is facing opposition at the General Assembly over fears it could harm hospitals all around North Carolina, particularly in rural areas. A bipartisan group of legislators are backing a bill that would stop changes to the State Health Plan that are set to start on Jan. 1, 2020. But if the bill becomes law it would put off the changes until at least 2022, if not permanently. Robert Broome, the executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, said his group “strongly opposes this bill, which is a clear attempt to put corporate interests over working families and deny taxpayers a cost savings of more than $300 million each year.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226925109.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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JUDGE'S RULING REFLECTS LEGISLATIVE OVERREACH MORE THAN JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: State Sen. Phil Berger may be a lawyer by profession, but he might be angling for a job as a carnival barker or street hustling illusionist. He’s been in distraction overdrive since a Wake County Superior Court judge last week ruled that two constitutional amendments the legislature placed on the 2018 ballot should not have been there. Three organizations challenged the placement of the amendments on the ballot – one limiting the state income tax rate and another to require voter ID – because it was done by a legislature filled with representatives from illegally gerrymandered districts. He and other legislative leaders would have little to complain about if -- rather than obsessively working to rig laws to impose their rigid ideology and make it easier for Republicans to win elections -- they’d focus on making North Carolina a better place to learn and live.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-judge-s-ruling-reflects-legislative-overreach-more-than-judicial-acti...

Saturday News: Secret Sam?

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UNC BOG VIOLATED OPEN MEETINGS LAW DISCUSSING CONFEDERATE STATUE: The UNC system board chairman, Harry Smith, said the subcommittee didn’t have a quorum when it met. But he pledged that future meetings would be public. “Quite frankly I wasn’t even aware of the fact that we didn’t notice it,” Smith, a Greenville businessman, said in an interview. “I will tell you that it should be. We shouldn’t have a problem with that. I mean, it’s a very public conversation.” The UNC system’s top attorney, Tom Shanahan, declined to respond to questions about why the meeting was not announced. The committee’s chairman, Jim Holmes, said the meeting was informal, lasting about an hour or hour and a half. The five Board of Governors members on the special board committee talked about the issue with several UNC-Chapel Hill trustee members, he said. “We’re just trying to figure out where we’re going,” said Holmes, a Raleigh businessman.
https://www.newsobserver.com/article226908194.html

Friday News: Prudish behavior

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NC CONSERVATIVES ARE BACK TO FIGHTING SEX EDUCATION CLASSES: A proposal sponsored by conservative House members could change the way students receive health and sex education instruction in North Carolina schools. The state requires schools to offer sex education classes, but House Bill 196 would strike a provision requiring school systems to have an opt-out provision for students whose parents don't want their children to get the instruction. Instead, the bill would require schools to obtain parental permission before a child could attend the classes. The bill also would require parental consent for students to learn where contraception or abortion referral services can be obtained. Current law leaves it up to local school boards to set policies on how such information is provided. The bill's sponsors, Reps. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, Julia Howard, R-Davie, and Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, didn't respond to requests for comment Thursday.
https://www.wral.com/sex-ed-would-be-opt-in-not-opt-out-instruction-under-house-bill/18226327/

Thursday News: Busted

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GRAND JURY INDICTS KINGPIN OF NC09 ABSENTEE BALLOT FRAUD: McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of the 9th District election fraud case, was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on charges related to collecting absentee ballots in the 2018 primary and 2016 election. Dowless, 63, faces three felony charges of obstruction of justice, two charges of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two charges of possession of absentee ballot. The indictment from Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Dowless’ actions “served to undermine the integrity of the absentee ballot process and the public’s confidence in the outcome of the electoral process.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226864674.html

Wednesday News: Welcome to Hazzard?

HARRIS BOWS OUT OF NC09 DO-OVER, ENDORSES "BOSS HOGG" COMMISSIONER: In Tuesday's letter, Harris said he and his family struggled with the decision of how to move forward before they agreed to put his health first. "I ... owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign," he said. "It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation." Harris threw his support behind Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing for the 9th District seat. Rushing hasn't yet declared himself a candidate. "His background and his experience have proven him to stand firm on so many of the issues that concern us, including the issue of life, our national security, and religious freedom. I hope that those who have stood with me will strongly consider getting behind Stony Rushing," he said.
https://www.wral.com/mark-harris-not-running-in-new-9th-district-election/18220178/

Tuesday News: A true Statesman

GOVERNOR COOPER DELIVERS INCLUSIVE STATE-OF-THE-STATE ADDRESS: Cooper used “determined” as the theme of his second State of the State address and the first since Democrats added enough seats in the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly to uphold the Democratic governor’s vetoes. He struck a tone of bipartisanship and advocated for debates in good faith. “I believe we have broad agreement on what we want for our state,” he said. “We need to seek common ground and build solutions upon it.” Cooper invited a teacher, farmers, a pediatrician, and a state trooper to Raleigh to illustrate his points about education, help for rural communities, Medicaid expansion, and heroism in the hurricane. Lawmakers applauded the guests as Cooper introduced them. “The storm showed us it’s also time to come together to meet other challenges that people face every day across our state,” Cooper said. “And we have to bring that same determination to every challenge.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226766364.html

Monday News: Turkey buzzard

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PAT MCCRORY TEASES RUN FOR 9TH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: On Monday at 8:15 a.m., former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory will make an announcement about the new election for the 9th congressional district. In a tweet on Sunday, McCrory said he will share his "personal status" on the election. The announcement will be made on his radio show on 1110 WBT AM. "Much has changed over the past week regarding the 9th congressional district," McCrory wrote. "I have received an enormous number of calls about it from friends, reporters, and political operatives from our state and Washington, D.C." The 9th district covers an area that stretches from Charlotte to Fayettevile. Last week, the Board of Elections voted to hold a new election, following allegations of election fraud involving the apparent winner, Mark Harris' campaign. On Friday, Democrat Dan McCready, who ran against Harris, said he will run for the seat again.
https://www.wral.com/former-gov-pat-mccrory-plans-announcement-on-9th-district-election/18215932/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NEW 9TH DISTRICT ELECTION MUST PROMPT OTHER MUCH-NEEDED REFORMS: There’s more than ample testimony and evidence for criminal prosecutors to sift through. Wake County District Attorney Lorren Freeman's ongoing probe of 2016 election activities by Bladen County political fixer McRae Dowless – the apparent mastermind of the absentee ballot scheme at the root of the tainted election -- will easily be expanded to include the latest allegations. Further, we hope and encourage U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon’s office to take a serious look at what happened here. It would be an opportunity to resurrect his office’s reputation after it failed to explore these problems when the state Board of Elections passed along worrisome findings two years ago. We’re thankful for the persistence of the Board of Elections staff – particularly amid the political manipulating by state legislative leaders that embroiled the agency in litigation – for its focus on its duty.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-new-9th-district-election-must-prompt-other-much-needed-reforms/18208...

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