Under the Dome

Dome: Ellmers says GOP men made ‘unnecessary mistakes’

From Staff ReportsMarch 14, 2013 

U.S. Rep Renee Ellmers says the Republican Party – particularly its men – made “unnecessary mistakes” that cost the party the presidential election.

Ellmers, a Republican from Dunn, was participating in an online Yahoo News chat Thursday about how the GOP can better appeal to women.

She said: “Oddly enough, many of the mistakes were made by the men in our party. And this only fueled the misconception that the GOP does not care about women.”

The GOP needs to focus on winning the economy argument, and less on the social points promoted by Democrats, Ellmers continued. “Women care about how they’re going to feed their families and many other issues, not just their reproductive rights,” she said in the chat. “I continue to remain astonished that Democrats focus on the reproductive issues as if this were the only issue women care about ... and get away with it.”

Ellmers participated in the chat for 15 minutes, leaving at 12:50 p.m., just as the moderator asked those in the chat how much former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about rape hurt the Republican cause.

Professors decry RJA repeal

In reaction to Republican senators filing a bill Wednesday that would repeal the Racial Justice Act, 73 professors from across North Carolina have signed a statement urging legislators to leave the capital punishment law intact.

“If this bill is enacted, North Carolina would become, in the eyes of the nation, the state that was presented with clear evidence of racial bias in capital sentencing and chose to look away,” the statement reads. “Our lawmakers should work to eliminate the role of race in the death penalty, rather than repealing the law that uncovered the problem.”

The Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed the Racial Justice Act in 2009, permitting the use of statistics to challenge death sentences. A judge would have to be convinced that there was racial bias in the prosecution, jury selection or sentencing, and then could reduce the sentence to life in prison without parole.

Last session, the GOP-dominated legislature restricted the use of statistics and put more of a burden of proof on inmates filing claims under the act. Prosecutors said the law allowed too broad a use of statistics and noted that nearly all of the state’s death-row inmates have filed RJA claims, regardless of their race or the race of their victims.

The professors’ statement, released by the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, says they are “deeply concerned about our state’s civil rights legacy and the fairness of our capital punishment system.”

The professors come from a variety of fields.

McCrory endorses Pope

Gov. Pat McCrory has endorsed Claude Pope Jr. as his choice to lead the state Republican Party for the next two years.

Pope, a Brunswick County businessman and former Wake County GOP party chairman, announced this week his intention to seek the state party chairmanship at the convention in Charlotte in June. Current Chairman Robin Hayes is not seeking a second full term.

“I have known Claude Pope for many years, and he will make a great leader for our party in the coming term,” McCrory said in a statement. “His combination of business experience and political leadership make him well qualified for this important job, and I want everyone to know that he has my strong support and enthusiastic endorsement.”

Staff writers John Frank, Craig Jarvis and Rob Christensen

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