Photo shows Mark Harris and man at center of election fraud investigation together
WSOC // Joe Bruno // December 12, 2018
Summary: A new photo obtained by Channel 9 is adding to the complex and ever-evolving story of the 9th Congressional District election fraud investigation. The State Board of Elections has refused to certify Mark Harris the winner over Dan McCready amid claims of voting irregularities and other alleged fraudulent activities.
‘They all knew why we were there’: Joe Bruno on his election fraud investigation
Columbia Journalism Review // Khushbu Shah // December 12, 2018
Summary: BEFORE THE NETWORKS and international newspapers took over Bladen County, North Carolina, Joe Bruno, a political reporter with WSOC-TV in Charlotte, noticed a national story unfolding in a rural community that pointed to alleged election fraud. In late November, local news outlets such as WSOC and the Raleigh News and Observer reported that the bipartisan North Carolina State Board of Elections had refused to certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race, in which Republican Mark Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes out of more than 280,000 ballots cast. The state board announced it would look into “irregularities,” Charlotte station WSOC-TV reported. Within 24 hours, local coverage had spurred national headlines. More than a month after the midterm elections, the race remains uncertified.
Affidavit: Man at center of 9th District investigation had hundreds of ballots
WRAL // Travis Fain // December 11, 2018
Summary: A Robeson County man swore Tuesday that he saw the man at the heart of an investigation that may force a new congressional election with more than 800 absentee ballots. Kenneth Simmons said in a signed affidavit that he and his wife saw McCrae Dowless with the trove of ballots, which would be a felony. Simmons signed the affidavit Tuesday in front of a reporter for WECT News, the station reported. WECT was the first to report the development.
NCGOP All But Calling for New Election in 9th District
Spectrum News // Capital Tonight Staff // December 11, 2018
Summary: The NC Republican Party all but calling for a new election in the 9th Congressional District, after reports that early voting totals in Bladen County may have been tallied early and the results leaked. We talk with Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the NCGOP, about the latest developments in the investigation.
If early vote totals were leaked, NC GOP says new election in NC’s 9th is a must
Herald-Sun // Brian Murphy // December 11, 2018
Summary: The chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party said if early vote totals in Bladen County were leaked before Election Day, “this fact alone would likely require a new election” in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer reported Monday that early voting totals from Bladen County may have been leaked. Documents released by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement show that early voting tabulations were run several days before the Nov. 6 election in Bladen County. A witness who signed that vote tabulation wrote in a sworn affidavit that the totals were “viewed by officials at the one-stop site who were not judges.” “This action by election officials would be a fundamental violation of the sense of fair play, honesty, and integrity that the Republican Party stands for. We can never tolerate the state putting its thumb on the scale. The people involved in this must be held accountable and should it be true, this fact alone would likely require a new election,” Robin Hayes, the NC GOP’s chairman, in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
GOV. COOPER NEWS
Cooper requests disaster assistance for 21 counties hit by Hurricane Michael
WITN // Staff // December 12, 2018
Summary: Governor Roy Cooper is now requesting Federal Disaster Assistance for 21 counties hit by Hurricane Michael. Damage from Hurricane Michael is estimated to be greater than $22 Million in NC. Cooper requested the funds in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday.
'Don't take the risk': As snowstorm effects wane, Gov. Roy Cooper urges caution for travelers
Citizen-Times // Dillon Davis // December 11, 2018
Summary: The worst of Winter Storm Diego may be over, but North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents Tuesday to remain vigilant of black ice and other lingering issues caused by the storm. In an emergency management briefing, Cooper said the storm "lived up to its hype," dumping as much as two feet of snow in parts of Western North Carolina. The state continues to dig out from the storm that has left behind slippery roads, fallen trees and some 38,000 residents without power — including almost 5,800 in Rutherford County as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEWS
A proposal for a new 9th District congressional primary dies as elections bill advances
N&O // Lynn Bonner // December 11, 2018
Summary: A proposal for a new primary in the 9th Congressional District was stripped from an elections bill Tuesday after the sponsor said he could not get enough legislators to go along. Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican, wanted a new primary if the State Board of Elections orders a new election in the 9th District. “All indications are that the same activity that is alleged to have occurred concerning absentee ballots appeared to have also occurred in the primary,” Lewis said Tuesday afternoon. “Voters will have the opportunity to start over by selecting a new candidate if they so choose.”
GOP lawmakers expedite Board of Elections bill without Democratic, public input
NC Policy Watch // Melissa Boughton // December 12, 2018
Summary: Perhaps the sixth time is the charm? Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) unveiled another attempt Tuesday by Republican legislators to restructure the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement — this time through a fast-track process that can’t be amended by lawmakers who have to vote “yea” or “nay.” “We believe this puts to rest the long-standing battle between Gov. [Roy] Cooper and the legislature over the Board of Elections,” he said during an afternoon press conference Tuesday. The measure, which was put into a conference report, wasn’t released online to the public until over an hour into a House Rules Committee meeting on the subject. A final 19-page conference report was released to committee members less than 20 minutes before they voted to move it forward to the House floor.
GOP splits on job incentives
Robesonian // Mitch Kokai // December 11, 2018
Summary: It’s a safe bet that state Rep. Jonathan Jordan agrees with Republican colleagues Bill Brawley, Susan Martin, and Scott Stone much more often than he agrees with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the incoming New York congresswoman and newly elevated champion of the political left. But not on the issue of targeted tax incentives. When the conservative Jordan quipped recently, “I’m agreeing with a democratic socialist,” he did more than generate a few chuckles on the floor of the N.C. House of Representatives. Jordan, R-Ashe, also exposed a key dividing line within today’s Republican Party.
Tom Campbell: Legislators try something new — cooperation
Rocky Mount Telegram // Colin Campbell // December 11, 2018
Summary: Have the Republicans running the legislature gone soft? Their lame-duck session has been lacking the fireworks I'd expected in the last hurrah of veto-proof GOP rule. The main agenda item was voter ID. And with a newly inked constitutional amendment to back it up, I fully expected Republicans to ram through something similar to the 2013 voter ID requirements. Maybe they'd manage to pass a bill in a single day without considering public input, as they've done in the past. Or maybe they'd use voter ID as an opportunity to make it harder for college students to vote. Maybe they'd even throw some unrelated controversial proposal into the bill, just for fun. Instead, lawmakers returned to Raleigh on their best behavior. They spent about two weeks crafting the voter ID bill before sending it to Gov. Roy Cooper. They held a public hearing and took written comments, and they actually listened and made revisions based on those comments.
Courts likely to strike down Republican lame-duck power grabs, experts say
The Guardian // Tom Perkins // December 11, 2018
Summary: Courts have also overturned Wisconsin and North Carolina’s attempts at voter suppression that many experts believe are aimed at discouraging minorities from voting. Still, in North Carolina, the legislature is currently rushing to enact a law that voters approved that would require official photo identification at the polling place. It’s similar to a law that federal courts twice shot down, but with a minor tweak – college identification cards and a new identification card that counties will issue can be used to vote.
We're Seeing What Happens When Republicans Rule Without Popular Support
BuzzFeed // Daniel Squadron // December 9, 2018
Summary: Its modus operandi has become quite clear: If you can’t win elections, rig them. If the rules say you can’t do something, change the rules. Then if voters still elect Democrats, take away their power. The GOP’s ability to get away with this stems from years of Democrats’ underestimating the importance of state politics. And the only realistic way these assaults on our democracy can be repelled is for Democrats to get serious about the most consequential, and overlooked, part of our political system. Democrats have to stop viewing statehouses as mere tools of federal power, important only to the extent that they have control over gerrymandering, and recognize that they are powerful and important in their own right. This isn’t the first such power grab to override the will of voters. In fact, Michigan and Wisconsin Republicans are following a playbook carried out in North Carolina two years ago, where the Republican-led General Assembly passed a similar set of measures to reduce the incoming Democratic governor’s power.
NCDP NEWS & MENTIONS
NC Dems call on GOP candidate to answer questions about alleged electoral fraud
The Hill // Lisa Hagen // December 11, 2018
Summary: The North Carolina Democratic Party on Tuesday called on Republican Mark Harris to address his ties to the man at the center of an investigation into electoral fraud allegations swirling in the state’s 9th District. At a Tuesday press conference, NCDP Chair Wayne Goodwin urged Harris to answer a host of questions about his connection to Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., who worked as an independent contractor for the Republican’s campaign and is being investigated by the state elections board.
Thursday is last day to apply for Florence disaster assistance
Greensboro N&R // Staff // December 11, 2018
Summary: North Carolina survivors of Hurricane Florence have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, to register for assistance from FEMA or apply for a low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to a FEMA media alert.
Governor Cooper requests federal disaster aid for McDowell County after Hurricane Michael
WLOS // Bryan Overstreet // December 12, 2018
Summary: Governor Cooper requested federal disaster assistance for 21 North Carolina counties affected by Hurricane Michael in a letter to President Donald Trump. “Tropical Storm Michael inflicted major damage to North Carolina at a time when it was already devastated by Hurricane Florence,” said Governor Cooper. “Many people are suffering from the effects of Hurricane Michael and we want to get them the help they deserve.” Michael passed through North Carolina as a tropical storm back in October. The storm is blamed on four deaths, including 2 in McDowell County. A couple was killed when their vehicle was crushed by a tree on Toms Creek Road just north of Marion.
Three towns working to fix beaches damaged by Hurricane Florence
ABC12 // Greg Payne, Jason O. Boyd // December 12, 2018
Summary: Shortly after Emerald Isle Beach got some incredible news by being named best beach in our state, Hurricane Florence ruined all of that. Literally. Officials are now trying to make the beach look the way it was before Florence blew through on Sept. 13-15. The major beach erosion is the reason Emerald Isle commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a $20 million nourishment project which will restore the sand on the beaches. "The project will put about 600 cubit yards along the 33 miles of eastern Emerald Isle and again a dump truck holds about 12 cubic yards so that's a lot of cubic yards," said Greg Rudolph, Carteret County Shore Protection Manager. It's a project Rudolph and interim town manager Randy Martin say is very important to do sooner rather than later.
Hurricane Florence increases business for company
WECT // Kailey Tracy // December 11, 2018
Summary: Hurricane Florence destroyed a lot of memories for a lot of people, but one business is trying to restore those memories. The storm has given Family Stone Works on Carolina Beach Road record business. Zachary Shafer, co-owner of the headstone memorial company, said the company has made $10-20,000 more than in 2018 than after previous hurricanes. Shafer said Florence saturated the ground more than other hurricanes, causing monuments to be uprooted. The father-son business then has to redo the foundation and fix the stone. In some cases, trees fell on monuments as well.
Kevin Siers cartoon: President Trump’s negotiating gifts
Charlotte Observer // Kevin Siers // December 11, 2018
Marine from New Bern killed in aircraft crash off Japan
WITN // Anna Phillips // December 12, 2018
Summary: The U.S. Marine Corps has declared the five missing Marines from last Thursday's aircraft crash off the coast of Japan dead, including a Marine from New Bern. Lt. Colonel Kevin R. Herrmann was a KC-130 pilot commissioned in 2002. A KC-130 collided with an FA-18 fighter jet off the coast of Japan during a training exercise last week. Both aircraft crashed into the ocean.
US military identifies 5 dead in warplanes crash off Japan
Fayetteville Observer // AP // December 12, 2018
Summary: The U.S. military has identified five Marines who were declared dead after their refueling plane collided with a fighter jet last week off Japan’s southern coast. Search and recovery operations have ended after finding only one survivor, who was aboard the fighter jet. The five crew members identified Wednesday were on a KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft that collided with an F/A-18 Hornet during regular training. The warplanes crashed into the sea south of Japan’s Shikoku island. The Marine Corps identified the crew members as Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, North Carolina; Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, New York; Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Arizona; Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Illinois; and Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Johnson C. Smith University earns accreditation from regional board
Charlotte Post // Herbert L. White // December 11, 2018
Summary: Johnson C. Smith University’s accreditation has been reaffirmed a year after it was put on hold over financial issues. JCSU officials confirmed Tuesday the college earned a 10-year accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is key for students to access government-funded financial aid. “Johnson C. Smith University has been a beacon in higher education for 151 years,” first-year President Clarence D. Armbrister said in a statement. “We are gratified the quality of our educational programs, faculty and leadership has again been recognized and that our accreditation has been reaffirmed.”
N.C. educators group honors Forsyth teacher assistant
Winston Salem Chronicle // Staff // November 29, 2018
Summary: Beverly Miller, a teacher assistant at Konnoak Elementary School in Forsyth County, is the 2018-19 recipient of the Education Support Professional of the Year Award, presented by the North Carolina Association of Educators. The award is given annually by the North Carolina Education Support Professionals Association (NC-ESPA), a division of NCAE which represents public school employees who work in the following areas: clerical services, custodial and maintenance services, food services, health and student services, security services, skilled trades, technical services, transportation services, and those who are paraeducators. An active member of the Forsyth County Association of Educators (FCAE), Miller is a building representative at her school and serves on the Forsyth County Education Support Professionals Board of Directors. She also volunteers on several committees.
NC Economic Development
Race remains major barrier to state’s entrepreneurs of color
Charlotte Post // Herbert L. White // December 5, 2018
Summary: Growing entrepreneurship in North Carolina communities of color is a daunting task, according to a new report. The study from the Budget & Tax Center found accelerating businesses owned by people of color has great potential to spur local economic growth and drive wealth, which has just started to grow in recent years. Between 2007-12, the number of businesses owned by people of color grew by 40 percent according to BTC, a project of the Raleigh-based North Carolina Justice Center. “Businesses across North Carolina boost local economies by bringing goods and services to their communities, adding jobs and building wealth,” said Patrick McHugh, a BTC senior economic analyst and co-author of the report. “There is a lot of untapped potential in businesses owned by people of color that could help communities across the state thrive.”
Residents speak against GenX deal between Chemours, state and environmental officials
Fayetteville Observer // Steve Devane // December 11, 2018
Summary: Residents who live around and downstream from the Chemours plant told state officials Tuesday that they don’t like a proposed agreement between the company, a state agency and an environmental group. The proposed consent order was signed Nov. 21 by the state Department of Environmental Quality, Chemours and Cape Fear River Watch. It requires the company to pay a $12 million penalty and $1 million in investigative costs to the state. Chemours also must provide drinking water to homes near its Bladen County plant that have elevated levels of GenX.
New Hanover commissioners likely to oppose NCDEQ consent order with Chemours
WECT // Jon Evans // December 11, 2018
Summary: New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White is asking fellow board members to join ranks and oppose the proposed consent order between the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Chemours and Cape Fear River Watch over the company’s discharge of GenX and other chemicals into the drinking water supply. The order, which must be approved by a judge in Bladen County where Chemours’ Fayetteville Works Plant is located, forces the company to pay $12 million in fines, provide permanent drinking water to neighbors whose wells tested above the state’s health goal for GenX, and follow other mandates.
Teachers Came Together to Strike. What Will Happen Next?
Education Week // Madeline Will // December 10, 2018
Summary: After a historic year in which scores of teachers walked out of their classrooms to protest low pay and lack of education funding, and many ran for political office, education organizers are asking: Where do we go from here? A half-dozen statewide teacher walkouts occurred last spring, with Facebook a driving force behind them. Rather than the teachers' unions taking charge, those walkouts were primarily grassroots-driven, with tens of thousands of teachers organizing on social media. But experts say social media is a tenuous connector for long-term organizing, and now that the strikes are over and the midterm elections have passed, organizers will have to find new ways to sustain the energy of fired-up teachers. For the most part, experts say, this is uncharted territory.
Former state lawmaker becomes newest Wake County school board member
N&O // T. Keung Hui // December 11, 2018
Summary: Former state Rep. Chris Heagarty will become the latest member of the Wake County school board, filling the seat that had held by the late Kathy Hartenstine. The school board voted Tuesday to appoint Heagarty after interviewing the lone candidate to fill the District 7 position that covers Morrisville and parts of Cary and northwest Raleigh. In his application, Heagarty had stressed how he’s a 40-year Wake County resident, is the parent of students in the district and has public policy experience. Heagarty, 48, of Raleigh, will serve on the board through November 2020. He’s scheduled to be sworn in at the Dec. 17 board meeting.
OPINION / EDITORIALS
This is what seismic blasting off the Carolinas coast would be like, and it isn’t pretty
Charlotte Observer // Editorial Board // December 11, 2018
Summary: The Trump administration on Nov. 30 gave five companies permission to conduct seismic airgun blasting off the coast of the Carolinas and other states, a major step toward offshore oil and gas drilling. Here’s what that would look like, directly off the Carolinas’ coasts and extending over an area twice as large as California: Ships crisscrossing the ocean dragging dozens of airguns. The guns fire off blasts that can be heard underwater 2,000 miles away up to every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day for months. The five companies would have up to 208 guns in the water at a time and would fire a combined five million blasts over the first ye
Editorial: N.C. has greater needs than more corporate tax cuts
WRAL // CBC Opinion // December 12, 2018
Summary: North Carolina corporations, again, are about to get another huge tax break – a break they do not need. It will make it more difficult for the government to meet the obligations it has to provide a quality education to the state’s children and high quality of life to all its citizens. Given the state’s needs, not to mention the additional costs tied to hurricane and snowstorm recovery, the General Assembly must, before the year ends, suspend this latest un-needed cut. This latest tax cut, it is important to remember, is also coming on top of the tremendous tax benefits corporations reaped from Congress a year ago in the federal tax reforms that provided massive business tax cuts.
Everyone deserves health care
The Robesonian // Dr. Laura Gerald // December 7, 2018
Summary: I grew up in Lumberton, North Carolina, where I have many positive memories of family, church, and the community. But I was also acutely aware of the historical divides and significant gaps in opportunity, particularly health care. As an African American child, that is not lost on you. After medical school, I returned to Lumberton as a pediatrician in the local clinic where I used to go for care. I saw thousands of children and their families, many facing serious health challenges, impacted by economic and racial inequities. Today, I serve as president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, where we value thriving North Carolina communities, thriving residents, and equitable health outcomes — and this means equitable access to health insurance.