NCDP Clips 11/30/18

Today’s daily clips from the NCDP

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ABC 11 // Jonah Kaplan // November 29, 2018
Summary: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is doubling down on his efforts to draw significant support from the federal government for hurricane relief and is requesting an additional $6.3 billion from Congress to help in the recovery. The formal request, submitted on Wednesday, follows a series of meetings on Capitol Hill with North Carolina’s congressional delegation and members of the Trump administration. “North Carolina has much work to do to build back stronger and smarter, and we are counting on North Carolina’s congressional delegation to help us get this done,” Cooper said, with a direct call to the Tar Heel State’s two senators and 13 congressman. “I’m proud of the people of our state who are working together to overcome disasters like Hurricane Florence. Now it is our job to work together to rebuild our state and I appreciate the work of North Carolina’s U.S. Senators and Members of the House.”

129 New Manufacturing Jobs Coming To Halifax County
WFMY2 // WFMY Staff // November 29, 2018

Summary: Wednesday Governor Roy Cooper announced that Halifax County will see 129 new jobs and $14 million in private investment from two economic development projects with manufacturing companies. Reser’s Fine Foods will create 79 new jobs with an expansion in Halifax. The company plans to invest $3.2 million in Halifax with the project. JBB Packaging will also create 50 new jobs with a new facility in Weldon. The company plans to invest $11 million in Weldon with the project. “Manufacturing companies choose North Carolina because our workforce has the experience needed to get the job done,” said Governor Cooper. “Communities like Halifax County have so much to offer—unique quality of life, easy access to major highways and a growing historic downtown. Through Hometown Strong, we’re getting rural North Carolina the resources it needs to sell these assets to more companies and help current industry thrive.”

Legislature finalizes how to spend $300M in hurricane relief
Charlotte Observer // AP // Novemeber 29, 2018

Summary: Nearly $300 million in additional state spending to address North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence has received quick and unanimous approval from the legislature. The House voted Thursday to send the relief measure to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to sign it into law. The Senate approved the bill Wednesday, also with no votes in opposition. The package takes money lawmakers already set aside last month for hurricane recovery and distributes it. The bill gives $240 million to the Agriculture Department to run a program making payments to farmers with destroyed crops and livestock from Florence and Hurricane Michael. Another $10 million helps commercial fishermen.

NC Senate passes Voter ID bill, moves on to House
ABC 11 // Jonah Kaplan // November 29, 2018
Summary: The North Carolina Senate on Thursday swiftly wrapped up the final vote on a proposed bill that spells out which photo identifications will be accepted to cast a ballot. The 30-10 decision in SB824’s third reading means the legislation now moves to the House of Representatives, which is also expected to support the bill. Once that happens, it’s up to Governor Roy Cooper (D) to choose whether or not to sign the bill into law. “Our goal is to defend against potential voter fraud but not make it difficult to vote,” Sen. Joyce Krawiec (Forsyth & Yadkin) told lawmakers on Wednesday when she introduced the bill to committee. “We’ve been exceptionally transparent and no one will be disenfranchised from voting.”

Lawmakers OK richer incentives as NJ company plans HQ move to Charlotte
WRAL // Matthew Burns // November 29, 2018

Summary: A New Jersey company is expected to announce Friday that it will move its headquarters to Charlotte, bringing about 750 high-paying executive jobs, state lawmakers said Thursday. With that in mind, the House voted 78-23 to approve legislation to sweeten the incentives North Carolina offers to attract businesses to the state. The bill cleared the Senate on Wednesday and now head to Gov. Roy Cooper, whose administration asked for the changes. Senate Bill 820 would more than double the cap on annual awards to businesses through the Job Development Investment Grant program, from a maximum of $6,500 per job to $16,000 per job. JDIG grants rebate part of the state withholding taxes from new jobs to relocating or expanding companies that meet specific hiring and investment targets each year.

Butler supports governor’s hurricane recovery plan
WECT // Caroline Burkard // November 28, 2018

Summary: Since shortly after Hurricane Florence hit southeastern North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper has advocated for rebuilding. On Wednesday, Representative Deb Butler of House District 18 offered her support for the governor’s recovery recommendations to help those who have lost their homes, businesses and in some cases, their livelihood. “There are a lot of good things in here. I’m very encouraged by it,” Butler said. “I think one shortcoming of the bill is that it does not provide the kind of money that the governor and I would in terms of resilience. If we keep rebuilding in the same places, in the same fashion that we’ve done generations now, we’re making a big mistake. We need to learn how to build better and smarter and in safer locations.” Cooper on Wednesday asked congressional budget-writers and the state’s congressional delegation to provide another $6.3 billion in federal recovery funds on top of the $2.5 billion already expected.

Lame-duck lawmakers’ voter ID meeting draws protests GOP drives law’s language while supermajority holds
Charlotte Post // Herbert L. White // November 28, 2018

Summary: The lame duck General Assembly’s drive to craft voter ID rules is drawing pushback from civil- and voting-rights activists. Voters approved a voter ID amendment to the state constitution earlier this month, and Republican lawmakers, who have a veto-proof supermajority until January, are meeting this week to decide the law’s language. The new General Assembly will have more Democrats in both chambers, which gives Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, more leverage with a veto. “Republicans put voter ID on the ballot because they claimed they wanted voters to decide,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Well, voters did decide. They want some form of voter ID, but they also want a new legislature. Voters rejected the Republican supermajority that has worked every angle to rig our democracy against the will of voters over the last eight years.”

NC Democratic Party Submits Affidavits Of Bladen County Voters Who Claim Wrongdoing
WFAE // Steve Harrison // November 29, 2018

Summary: The North Carolina Democratic Party said “people’s faith in democracy is at stake” in a letter to the North Carolina Board of Elections, asking for an investigation and submitting affidavits from voters and officials who said there were improprieties in Bladen County leading up to the Nov. 6 election. In one affidavit, Datesha Montgomery said a woman came to her and asked for her absentee ballot. Montgomery said the woman told her she was “collecting people’s ballots in the area.” Montgomery says she filled in two names on the ballot, for sheriff and board of education. Montgomery also said the woman told her “the others were not important” and that when she gave the woman the ballot the woman said “she would finish it herself.”

Two Weeks Remain to Apply for Florence Disaster Assistance

FEMA // Release // November 29, 2018
Summary: If you are a North Carolina homeowner, renter or business owner who sustained property damage or loss caused by Hurricane Florence you have two weeks left to register for federal disaster assistance. The deadline to apply for assistance from FEMA and for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration is 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Survivors should register even if they have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but eligible homeowners and renters may be able to receive money from FEMA for losses not covered by insurance to help pay for basic home repairs, temporary rental assistance and other needs such as replacing personal property. FEMA Individual Assistance is grant money that does not have to be repaid.

Process begins for buyout of homes hit by Hurricane Florence

ABC12 // Morgan Newell, Jason O. Boyd // November 29, 2018
Summary: There’s a lot that goes into recovering from Hurricane Florence, like trying to get aid and filing for insurance. Lenoir County is trying to make this process easier. Lenoir County Emergency Management is asking people with flood damage to apply for a potential buyout. Information is needed from homeowners to show the federal government the need is there. Officials want to stress the application doesn’t guarantee Lenoir County will be granted the buyouts. Lenoir County Emergency Planner Samuel Kornegay hopes the amount of applications can get the ball rolling faster.

Toy drive underway for victims of Hurricane Florence
ABC11 // John Clark // November 29, 2018

Summary: As many North Carolina families rebuild their lives from the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, a new holiday toy drive is underway for children affected by the storm. North Carolina first lady Kristin Cooper and the State Capitol have teamed up with Toys for Tots to collect toys for kids impacted by Florence in the eastern part of the state. You can participate by donating new, unwrapped toys at any area drop-off box, including those in the Capitol Rotunda.


Sworn affidavits question handling of U.S. House District 9 election
WSOC // Joe Bruno // November 29, 2018
Summary: Channel 9 has obtained several affidavits out of Bladen County, North Carolina, voicing concerns about how the U.S. House District 9 race in November was handled. Witnesses who signed the affidavits claimed a known player in the county’s political circles and an electioneer was also working for the Mark Harris campaign. One of those sworn affidavits claims that man, Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., would receive a $40,000 bonus from the Harris campaign if Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready. Another affidavit said Dowless was “doing absentee” for Harris. The document claims Dowless said, “You know I don’t take checks. They have to pay me cash.” Another affidavit points to workers going to voters’ doors to collect absentee ballots. One voter said a worker told her she would finish the voter’s ballot for her. Both acts would be illegal.

In Harris-Pittenger Race, ‘Unusual’ Bladen County Absentee Mail Votes Poured In For Harris
WFAE // Steve Harrison // November 29, 2018
Summary: An investigator for the N.C. Board of Elections seized absentee-by-mail ballot requests from Bladen County shortly after the Nov. 6 election as part of its scrutiny of Mark Harris’ win over Dan McCready in the 9th district congressional race. But an elections law expert says Bladen County’s results for the 9th district GOP primary also deserve attention, calling them “unusual.” In May, Harris narrowly upset incumbent Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary by 828 votes.  Harris’ win was powered, in part, by a surge of absentee-by-mail ballots from Bladen County, according to data from the N.C. Board of Elections. In the May primary, 22 percent of the votes cast in Bladen County in the Harris-Pittenger race were cast by absentee-by-mail, and Harris was the overwhelming winner of those ballots.

Possible absentee ‘irregularities’ examined in 9th Congressional District race
WSOC // Joe Bruno, Dashwan Brown, Liz Foster // November 29, 2018
Summary: Republican Mark Harris is in Washington preparing to take office, but his campaign is demanding to know what wrongdoing the state is investigating while refusing to officially declare him the winner. North Carolina’s elections board delayed finalizing the results Tuesday of a close U.S. House race, as officials appear to be scrutinizing potential wrongdoing within the 9th Congressional District. The official swearing into office is on Jan. 3.

Absentee ballot fraud allegations roil North Carolina U.S. House race
WSBTV // Jamie Dupree // November 29, 2018

Summary: As the North Carolina Board of Elections meets on Friday on matters surrounding the recent close election in the 9th Congressional District, where the GOP leads by just 905 votes, more evidence has started to surface of possible absentee voter fraud in one county, which may have generated an abnormally large number of votes for the Republican candidate for Congress. The focus is Bladen County, located in a triangle in between Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Lumberton, in the southern part of the Tar Heel State – which has been the subject of election questions before in 2016. A review of absentee ballots in the nine counties which make up the 9th District done by Dr. Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College in North Carolina, shows a striking anomaly when it comes to the tally of those ballots from Bladen County.

What the Hell Is Happening in This North Carolina Congressional Race?
Splinter // Nick Martin // November 29, 2018

Summary: We’ve reached out to McCready, Harris, and Pittenger for comment, and will update with any response we receive. If this all seems like a muddled, confusing mess, it’s because it is! The state board has offered minimal communication as the process has dragged on, leaving the yeoman’s work to the media and the local elections boards to piece together some general understanding of why it is that one of what ended up being the most hotly contested House races in the state and the nation is still unresolved. So, it seems about right that a potentially massive mail-in ballot scandal would unfold right as the state legislature spends its time and taxpayer-funded salaries drawing up voter ID legislation that the conservatives in the General Assembly have been drooling over for the past eight years, despite the fact that in-person voter fraud is essentially nonexistent in the state. Really great stuff all around. Update, 4:09 p.m. ET: Pittenger’s spokesperson responded to Splinter’s request for comment, passing along the following statement: Congressman Pittenger has discussed this issue in a previously-scheduled interview, and that is all he chooses to say at this time. Thank you for your inquiry.

N.C. officials investigating possible irregularities in 9th Congressional District election
WAPO // Kirk Ross // November 28, 2018

Summary: North Carolina election officials are investigating possible irregularities with absentee ballots in the state’s 9th Congressional District, refusing to certify the race weeks after Election Day. Unofficial results show Mark Harris, a Republican, defeating Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes out of 282,717 cast. At a Tuesday meeting to certify statewide election results, the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement declined to certify that race even as it signed off on the state’s other congressional contests. The investigation appears to be focused on Bladen County, but an official in Robeson County said that county also has been contacted. State officials have given no other details. They cited a state law allowing them to go into closed session to ensure an election is “without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of an election.” Elections officials confirmed Wednesday that an elections investigator seized completed absentee ballot request forms and absentee container envelopes Nov. 7, the day after the election.

NC Healthcare 

Commentary: North Carolinians deserve Medicaid expansion
Winston Salem Chronicle // Carolina Commentary // November 29, 2018

Summary: An important component of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded Medicaid eligibility so low-income people living in households at 138 percent of the federal poverty level could get health care coverage. However, the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states could not be forced to expand Medicaid programs. Eighteen states decided not to expand, citing difficulty predicting and affording the costs. Federal funding covered 100 percent of the costs until 2016, with a reduction to 90 percent by 2020. North Carolina’s Republican legislature passed a bill in 2013 that outright banned the expansion. The state has a history of moving slowly on Medicaid, being one of the last states to adopt it, in 1970, four years after the funding became available.

NC Economic Development

Fortune 100 company planning to move headquarters to Charlotte, sources say
N&O // Craig Jarvis, Deon Roberts // November 29, 2018

Summary: Charlotte is poised to become home to a Fortune 100 corporate headquarters that could bring 750 jobs that pay median salaries of $85,000 to the city, under incentives approved by the General Assembly on Thursday. The company is Honeywell, a major manufacturer of electronics, aerospace and electronic equipment, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the deal. Honeywell is considering locations in Ballantyne or SouthPark, according to Charlotte sources. Honeywell is based in Morris Plains, N.J. Spokesman Scott Sayres said in a statement that Honeywell doesn’t comment on “rumors or speculation.” The deal is expected to be announced Friday. Late Thursday, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, North Carolina Department of Commerce, city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina scheduled a “significant jobs announcement” in uptown Charlotte on Friday morning.

Farr Nomination

Scott to oppose Farr nomination to federal bench in NC, ending chances of confirmation
N&O // Emma Dumain, Brian Murphy // November 29, 2018
Summary: Sen. TIm Scott said Thursday he will oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench, assuring the controversial pick will not be confirmed. The South Carolina Republican was the deciding vote in determining whether Farr, widely accused of efforts to disenfranchise black voters, would be confirmed. Scott’s decision comes after four days of intense drama and speculation about what the Senate’s only black Republican would do. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, made it clear earlier in the day he, too, would oppose Farr’s nomination. Senate Republicans could only afford to lose one vote and still confirm Farr. Senate Republicans control 51 seats, and all 49 Democratic caucus members were expected to oppose Farr. In a brief statement explaining his decision, Scott cited a 1991 Department of Justice memo that was leaked just this week, days before the Senate was set to vote on Farr’s confirmation. It detailed Farr’s involvement in “ballot security” activities by the 1984 and 1990 campaigns of then-Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina. Farr worked for the campaign in 1984 and represented the 1990 campaign as a lawyer. Helms’ 1990 re-election campaign against former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, who is black, included charges of voter intimidation for postcards mailed to primarily black voters warning of possible arrest at the polls. The Department of Justice investigated the voter intimidation claims and settled with the Helms campaign in a consent decree. “I am ready and willing to support strong candidates for our judicial vacancies that do not have lingering concerns about issues that could affect their decision-making process as a federal judge,” Scott said in his statement. “This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities. This, in turn, created more concerns. Weighing these important factors, this afternoon I concluded that I could not support Mr. Farr’s nomination.”

Senate postpones vote on controversial judicial nominee from North Carolina
WAPO // John Wagner, Seung Min Kim // November 29, 2018
Summary: Senate Republican leaders postponed a vote Thursday on President Trump’s nominee for a federal judgeship in North Carolina, whose previous work as a lawyer has been the source of a racially charged controversy. The decision to delay the vote on Thomas Farr until next week was attributed to the absence of one Republican senator because of a family situation and continued concerns expressed by another whose vote would be needed to secure Farr’s confirmation. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said Republican leaders were still talking to Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) about his vote. “He’s got legitimate concerns that we’re trying to resolve,” said Cornyn, who also relayed that Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) was absent because of a family situation. Republican leaders will probably need votes from both Inhofe and Scott, the chamber’s only African American Republican, to confirm Farr.


What’s Stronger Than a Blue Wave? Gerrymandered Districts
NY Times // Maggie Astor, K.K. Renecca Lai // November 29, 2019
Summary: When the blue wave came to North Carolina, the red levees held. In a year in which Democrats picked up as many as 41 House seats, including in places as conservative as Oklahoma and Utah, they lost all three of their targets for pickups in one of the nation’s most closely divided states. Democrats in North Carolina earned 48.3 percent of the total vote cast in House races but won only three seats; Republicans had 50.4 percent of the vote and won 10 seats. The results, which left the partisan makeup of the state’s House delegation unchanged, were as much a triumph of mapmaking as campaigning. The election was held using gerrymandered district lines that federal judges had deemed unconstitutional; those lines were drawn because previous ones had also been deemed unconstitutional. That only hints at the depth and ferocity of the battles over gerrymandering and voting regulations in North Carolina, where a Republican takeover of the General Assembly in 2010 set off a barrage of conservative legislation and rule changes that are still being fought in the courts. In this, North Carolina is one conspicuous example of a critical story line in this year’s elections: the degree to which gerrymandering has created firewalls in key states that even a wave election may not be able to breach. North Carolina and Ohio are two of the most gerrymandered states, said Michael Li, senior counsel in the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program. And in both of those states, Democrats failed to pick up a single House seat despite winning close to half of the popular vote. They hold only four of 16 seats in Ohio — and in the Ohio House, Republicans maintained a veto-proof supermajority with a bare majority of the popular vote.

Women in Politics

My female students don’t want to run for office. That needs to change.

N&O // Elizabeth Wemlinger // November 29, 2018
Summary: The massive interest in the 2018 midterm elections has caused a renewed interest in the role of women in politics. The question of what difference “the woman voter” or “the woman candidate” makes to American democracy has captured our attention. Women securing 100 seats in the U.S. House for the first time in American history shows that women have more political power than ever. However, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings exhibited few differences from the earlier Clarence Thomas hearings, seeming to reiterate that women have diminished power in a male-dominated political environment. A panel comprised primarily of men dismiss claims of sexual assault and took a man at his word, allowing him to assume one of the most powerful posts in the country. This dominance of men in electoral politics often has translated into few women expressing any interest in running for political office. Each year in my Gender, Politics and Policy class it is extremely rare for even one of my female students to express an interest in running for elected office.


Oakwood Cemetery Needs Sponsors for ‘Wreaths Across America’ Service
Spectrum // Madison Cavalchire // November 29, 2018

Summary: They’re seeking sponsors of wreaths from their annual “Wreaths Across America” service. The special event is held across the country every December to pay tribute to servicemen and women. There are 2,300 veterans buried at Oakwood, and at last count, they only had a little over 600 wreaths. “I know it would really hurt me if I came out to this field of honor and all these veterans had wreaths, but not my parents. That’s why it’s important to donate these last few days. For every two wreaths purchased, we will get three to help us meet our goal,” said Charlene Stell, daughter of veterans. The cost to sponsor a wreath is $15 and the deadline is Monday. The link to purchase can be found here.

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