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...Politics & Current Events In N.C.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Primary delayed 

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As was widely anticipated, yesterday the State Board of Elections postponed the primaries scheduled for May until July 20. The reason was that the Justice Department has not given pre-clearance for the new state legislative districts as required under the voting rights act. Additionally, pending court challenges by Republicans to the new district maps must be resolved before a primary can be permanently scheduled. For the moment they are set for July. But in 2002, the primaries were delayed until September, and it seems possible for a recurrence of that scenario this year. This has important implications for races from the top of the ballot to the bottom. I am only going to address the races at the top of the ticket for the moment.

Presidential: The national parties require states to choose their delegates to the national convention well before July. No one in the cash-strapped government wants to foot the bill for a separate primary, so delegates will have to be chosen by another method. The Democrats have already drawn up a contingency plan which you can view here (PDF). A quasi-caucus will be held in mid-April. Some critics have claimed that the plan favors Sen. Edwards. The Republican Party has only just begun to draw up their new plan. In any case, the outcome of the North Carolina primary will probably be irrelevant since the nomination will most likely be wrapped up by mid-March for both parties.

Gubernatorial: Gov. Easley, is probably the biggest winner in this situation. The Democratic Easley is running for re-election and his war chest far exceeds any of his Republican opponents. Meanwhile there are at least five legitimate big-named Republicans on the ballot. Some of them are already broadcasting TV spots. The summer schedule will probably mean that the turnout will be skewed towards the hard-core loyalists of the Republican Party, and mean that the winner will be more Conservative than even North Carolina can handle and out of money. In addition, under the current schedule there is still time for a run-off in the Republican primary. A run-off would take place in August. With this many people in the field, it is possible that the Republican nominee for Governor will only have eight to ten weeks to come out of a bitter primary and take on Easley.

U.S. Senate: The U.S. Senate race is almost certainly going to be between the 2002 Democratic nominee, Erskine Bowles, and U.S. Rep. Richard Burr. The changed primary date probably will not affect this race much unless it tempts former NC House Speaker Dan Blue into challenging Bowles for the nomination again. Barring this possibility, the only consequence will probably be diminished press coverage of the race until the Republican Gubernatorial primary is decided. That should slightly favor Mr. Bowles who has better name recognition in the state.

Congress: Many of these races need to be examined in-depth (and a Republican would probably do better since this decision will mostly affect the Republican primaries). But here are a few thoughts. In the 5th district (held by Richard Burr who is running for Sen. Edwards seat), the ad war is already going and the money is flowing. However, this seat will almost certainly be retained by a Republican. But the longer that this bitter primary drags on, the more likely Dr. Jim Harrell (the most legitimate Democratic candidate) will have to look good to moderate Republicans in the district. In the case of a run-off in this race (which is highly possible) the seat could even become competitive. The 10th Congressional district (held by Cass Ballanger who is retiring) is even more likely to end up in Republican hands despite a very full Republican primary. In the other congressional districts there are not many important primaries, so this decision will have little effect on the eventual outcome.

I hope to have more time to examine this decision's affect on the other big races in the state and the closely divided NC legislature.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Amy Sullivan on the South 

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One of my favorite bloggers on a subject close to my heart.

Of Melissa's 35 colleagues in a public relations firm in Historic Charleston, only two hail from South Carolina. The rest -- like Mark, Melissa, Jill, and thousands of other residents -- have migrated to the state over the past decade. Between 1995 and 2003, more than 1.8 million people moved to the South from other areas of the country -- other regions of the country don't even come close in terms of migration. They come for jobs -- the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham has attracted tens of thousands of transplants on its own. They come for the weather (it's no surprise that frigid Midwestern states like Michigan and Wisconsin are well-represented in the Carolinas).

But what these new Southerners don't do is leave their political beliefs and values behind when they cross state borders. And that is the number one reason that Democrats -- despite consistent losses in the South over the past few decades -- would be foolish to abandon the region in a national presidential campaign.

Hunt Exonerated 

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The Winston-Salem Journal takes its victory lap.

Friday Headlines 

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Raleigh News & Observer: State seeks to quash subpoenas from music industry on identify of Triangle students
Winston-Salem Journal: Hunt's bid for exoneration goes to court today
Charlotte Observer: School dropout rate in state declines
Charlotte Observer: Community colleges to ask state for more funding
Winston-Salem Journal: Students to resist raises in tuition
Raleigh News & Observer: Memo shows misbehavior in Greene County scandal
Raleigh News & Observer: Delay likely in May primaries
Winston-Salem Journal: Panel set up to review North Carolina's lobbying laws
Charlotte Observer: Battered textile workers fight back in D.C.
Associated Press: Judge denies injunction against FedEx hub and warns against further suits
Associated Press: Easley names Alan Z. Thornburg to Appeals Court
Raleigh News & Observer: David "Mudcat" Saunders back with Edwards
Raleigh News & Observer: Under the Dome: Tobacco buyout is back
Fayetteville Observer: Postal worker sprayed down when powder found in Fayetteville post office
Raleigh News & Observer: Barry Jacobs of Orange weighs run for NC House
Greensboro News & Record: Parents speak out on "choice" plan
Barry Saunders: A chance to guide passed by
Asheville Citizen-Times: N.C. legislators owe it to voters to devise sensible redistricting map
Greensboro News-Record: Allamance drug raid could be anywhere
Raleigh News & Observer: Cooper is right to take on meth problem
Wilmington Star-News: NC job losses continue
Washington Daily News: Eastern NC prepares for elections
Shelby Star: Crowded 10th congressional district primary for Republicans

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Dear Mr. Hood 

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Could you please, please, please put a comment section on the Locker Room. I know you guys worry about inappropriate posts etc., but all it takes is a little monitoring (for those occasional people who post links to adult sites etc.) and tolerance of even the stupidist opinion.

Yesterday Jon Sanders posted:

More news on the non-rainbow-PC nature of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Earlier, you'll recall, some sages out there discovered racism in the blatant depiction of Orcs, Uruk-Hai and other LOTR bad guys as "dark people" intended to remind us of Africans and Arabs or I forget which. Me being so mired in Eurocentric thought & whatnot, I saw dark-green, grimy, bug-eyed, fang-baring freaks as director Peter Jackson's fanciful interpretation of said baddies, not part of the Omnipresent White Conspiracy, but silly me, eh?


As a big fan of these books I have to say I agree to a certain level with Jon. Much of Middle-Earth mythology was based on Nordic and other Northern European stories. After all, the author was a specialist in Old English and I remember reading his translation of Beowulf in high school. So it is understandable that everything good is Northern, golden-haired, and pale-skinned.

But there is a tendency in the books to describe evil people (men or goblins) as "swarthy" or "slant-eyed".

Personally I think it is probably irrelevant when considering the broader messages of the books. But Tolkien wrote these books mostly in the 1940's, and society at that time had not dealt with many of its more overt racial biases. The racial bias against dark-skinned people is very subtle, but it is definitely there. The article Jon links to probably takes this concern too far. But it is not a completely ridiculous point.

Pirates of Academia 

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Jim Jenkins has no pity for UNC deans and chancellors and seems a little perturbed at their recent bonuses.
Someone send in the reinforcements, and be quick about it. Can you hear the thundering hooves? Can you see them in the distance, kicking up the dusty trail in front of South Building, hollering and waving their swords as they spread to the laboratories and classrooms?

And there stands General James Moeser in the midst of it all, his skin burning from the sun, his saber above his head, his buckskins tattered from wear, his boots muddy from hours on the battlefield. (And he's not getting in any practice on the organ, either.) The enemy? Why, it's the hordes of deans and chancellors and university presidents around the country who are trying to kidnap the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Some say the devils are trying to clear out the halls at N.C. State, too.

Today's NC Headlines 

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Winston-Salem Journal: Early Presidential primary could make N.C. a player, Rep. Steve Wood Says
Associated Press: Judge's use of racial epithet questioned
Winston-Salem Journal: Police Chief Named
Winston-Salem Journal: Website gets attention of Hege attorney
Associated Press: 61,000 in N.C. likely to exhaust federal jobless benefit, Price says
Raleigh News & Observer: More complaints filed against Judge Hill
Associated Press: Cobey hits campaign trail
Raleigh News & Observer: Under the Dome: Workers will get benefit
Raleigh New & Observer: Retired judge joins State Board of Transportation
Charlotte Observer: Help pay for judicial races: Editorial by Common Cause
Charlotte Observer: Marshall joins craze to hobble lobbyists
Charlotte Observer: Canidate Cobey touts Helm’s support
Associated PressLayoffs, plant closures continue
Greensboro News-RecordStudents arrested in drug sting
Greensboro News-Record: Opponents of FedEx hub lose round in court
Asheville Citizen-Times: Taylor Toggs to close: 125 lose jobs
Wilmington Star: Cobey makes stop in Wilmington
Shelby Star: Non-partisan judicial races still interest parties
Charlotte Observer: Congressman Robin Hayes lacks challenger
Raleigh News & Observer: Easley's war-chest outweighs opponents'

Still looking 

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Today my contract with NC Public Trust expired as the group is still looking for more funding. Since I have the time, however, I thought I would start doing some more news summaries here.

But I am still looking for that golden job opportunity.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The real deal on the 5th district 

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Robinson raises more money than any other non-incumbant in the country

And Theo at the WSJ does a better job than I at reading those FEC reports.

Monday, February 02, 2004

What I worry about 

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I have heard this sentiment in a lot of places.

Dean's strategy is to bring in new voters who have given up. It is a campaign based on activating the base in the general election. A lot of people have said that Dean has done the job already, and now whoever wins the nomination will get the help of an angry Democratic base.

But posts like this one make me not so sure. Judging Kerry on his record rather than his media portrayal (NOTE TO MEDIA: KERRY IS A BIG, HUGE, TED KENNEDY, ANTI-GUN, ANTI-DEATH PENALTY, VOTING AGAINST THE FIRST GULF WAR LIBERAL--not that this is a bad thing for folks like me...I just thought you might want to stop portraying him as a moderate icon), he is a pandering schmuck who fights for what is right but only when doing what is right is up in the polls....or at least that is the judgement that lots of Dean supporters are making about him. A lot of these Deaniacs are going to take the ball and go home rather than support Kerry. It is one of the things that makes it harder for me to sleep.

5th congressional money race: Ahead of the newspapers 

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I live in Winston-Salem, so I am strangely interested in the 5th congressional district race.

Today the candidate's FEC reports are all online.

Apparently Vernon Robinson (yeah…the guy with the ten-commandments monument) has raised the most money, and when you consider the debt of the Helvey campaign he also has the most cash on hand (which I think is a more important figure).

But the thing is-- Robinson seems to be spending most of his money on soliciting new donations, while Helvey has been spending his money on TV advertising. So I have to give Helvey the edge on the money race.

But the big surprise to me is how little N.C. Senator Virginia Foxx has raised. I think that I am not reading the form correctly, or else there is some error, because NC Free reported that she raised over $200,000 in the third quarter. In any case, she is doing a better job than the rest in keeping the money she has already raised.

Here are the more detailed reports on the other contenders. Another interesting thing to watch is who is getting the PAC checks.

Tabor
Broyhill

On the Democrat side Dr. Jim Harrell has raised over $22,000 while Andrew Winfrey had raised none by the end of the year (although he has only recently declared).

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