Under the Dome

Dome: National GOP blasts AG Cooper over voting rights comments

August 14, 2013 

With lawsuits and criticism greeting Gov. Pat McCrory’s signing of a complex elections bill on Monday, two national conservative groups on Wednesday rushed to defend him.

The Republican State Leadership Committee blasted N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, who both in his role as the state’s top law enforcement official and as a politician, opposed the bill. Not so incidentally, state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger is chairman of an RSLC subgroup, the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee.

RSLC President Chris Jankowski issued a statement saying Cooper had “politicized his role as the state’s top law enforcement officer by lambasting a law that he will be required to defend.”

Noting that Cooper “has often been rumored to have his eye on another office,” Jankowski added, “It should come as no surprise that a Democrat, in the vein of President Obama, has mimicked one of the president’s favorite maneuvers of attacking an election reform law that has been passed and signed by our elected leaders.”

Berger, too, has eyed another office, but has not yet committed to joining the Republican primary in the lead-up to Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election effort.

Also Wednesday, a group of national black conservatives – Project 21 – thanked McCrory for signing the bill into law.

“I’m thrilled to see that North Carolina is joining the brigade of states enforcing voter ID,” Horace Cooper, co-chairman of the group, said in a release. “Voter ID is constitutional and legal and, as the evidence demonstrates, it encourages real Americans to cast their vote knowing they won’t be displaced by ghosts, convicts or illegal aliens.”

Hunter retiring from N.C. court

Judge Bob Hunter said Wednesday he would not seek re-election in 2014, retiring from his seat on the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, Wake County Superior Court Judge Lucy Inman said she plans to run for Hunter’s seat. Inman has held her seat for three years.

Hunter, 69, has served on the appeals court for 15 years. He was appointed by Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt and won an eight-year term in 1998. He has participated in an estimated 4,000 cases and written more than 1,500 opinions.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my service, and hope that I have made a positive contribution during my years on the Court of Appeals,” Hunter said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing this work through the remainder of my term.”

Protesters’ popularity high

The public has a higher opinion of the Moral Monday protesters than it does of the legislature, according to a new survey.

Asked whom they have a higher opinion of, 47 percent chose the protesters and 38 percent chose the General Assembly, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm in Raleigh.

The poll found that only 24 percent of those surveyed approved of the job the legislature is doing. Fifty percent said they think the legislature is causing North Carolina national embarrassment, while 34 percent did not.

If the election were held today, 50 percent said they would vote for Democrats, while 41 percent said they would vote for Republicans.

Asked their opinion of the Rev. William Barber, the head of the state NAACP who has led the demonstrations, 28 percent had a favorable opinion, 26 percent had an unfavorable opinion, and 46 percent were not sure.

The survey of 600 N.C. voters was conducted Aug. 8-11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis and Rob Christensen

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