Morning Memo: McCrory faces Republican blowback for ultrasound stance

Posted by John Frank on January 27, 2014 

UPDATED: Gov. Pat McCrory’s opposition to appealing a federal ruling striking the state’s ultrasound requirements for abortions is not sitting well with his fellow Republicans.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate is the latest to hit McCrory. In a statement, the Baptist minister asks the governor to “strongly reconsider his stance on a court challenge.”

“We cannot remain silent while one judge’s ruling gravely affects women and those most vulnerable among us: the unborn,” Harris said in the statement.

Rival Thom Tillis also broke from the governor. In a tweet Saturday night, he wrote: “I disagree w/ Gov’s position on Woman’s Right to Know. It’s an important law that saves lives & the ruling should be appealed.”

Other Republicans are adding to the chorus. Rep. Ruth Samuelson, a Charlotte Republican and key sponsor of the ultrasound bill, said she wants the state to move quickly to appeal.

“I respect a woman’s ability to make the best choice for her medical care when she is given complete and accurate information,” she said in an email Saturday. “The judge’s ruling denies her access to a vital piece of information by removing the provision that the doctor display and describe the ultrasound image.” Read more reaction here.

*** The governor is also facing challenges on claims of a “Carolina Comeback.” Read more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

TODAY IN POLITICS: Gov. Pat McCrory will attend a NASCAR media event in Charlotte at 11:45 a.m. and then visit the Wilmington Port at 3 p.m.

At the legislative office building, the House committee looking at food deserts is meeting at 1 p.m. in room 415.

And customers of Aqua North Carolina, the state’s biggest non-municipal water utility, will have a final opportunity on Monday to sound off on the water company’s third rate increase proposed in the past six years at a N.C. Utilities Commission hearing. ( More here.)

THE BIG SUNDAY STORY -- IS IT A COMEBACK OR A JOBS MIRAGE? No one disputes that the drop in the state’s jobless rate over the past year has been dramatic. The unemployment rate is 7.4 percent, its lowest point since November 2008. The rate has fallen 2 percentage points over the past 12 months, more than in any other state.

Earlier this month, McCrory boasted in a speech to business executives in Durham that the decline in the state’s unemployment rate since he took office in January 2013 is evidence of what he labeled the “Great Carolina Comeback.” He praised lower corporate and personal income taxes and other measures pushed through the Republican-dominated legislature for improving the economy.

...But advocates for the poor argue that quirks in the way the unemployment rate is calculated distort the state’s job market and paint an overly optimistic picture of the economy – not to mention glossing over the financial hardships faced by the jobless.

The state created 37,700 jobs from January through November, which “is actually the poorest record of job creation we have had since the end of the recession,” said Allan Freyer, policy analyst for the Budget and Tax Center at the N.C. Justice Center, an advocacy group for the poor.

By contrast, he said, the state created 65,600 jobs in the first 11 months of 2012. Read more here.

NYT A1-- 2014 LIKELY TO KEEP DIVIDED GOVERNMENT -- NC RACE A FACTOR: With the 2014 political landscape becoming more defined, it is increasingly likely that the midterm elections in November will maintain divided government in the capital for the final two years of President Obama’s second term, with the chief unknown being exactly how divided it will be. Read more here.

McCRORY ESCAPES RALEIGH: AP -- After facing angry activists, second-guessers and lawsuits in 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory likely found some relief in small-town North Carolina as he began in his second year in office.

It’s in places such as Wilson where the state’s first Republican governor in 20 years visited regularly during the past year. That’s where McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, has been able to promote his message of fixing a broken government and reviving the economy before groups either loyal to him, cordial enough not to push back, or just pleased to have a governor come visit. Read more here.

ROB CHRISTENSEN -- CLEANUP IS GOOD IDEA: Raleigh’s once elegant Blount Street has the look of a down-on-its-heels neighborhood.

Stroll through Gov. Pat McCrory’s neighborhood and you will find vacant houses, peeling paint, rotting wood, a collapsing porch and boarded-up windows. There has been a problem of thieves breaking in to steal copper.

The landlord for these houses? The state of North Carolina. The cause of these problems goes back many years, and the administration is beginning to take steps to begin to fix it – which is a good thing. Read more here.

IMMIGRATION AN ISSUE IN ELLMERS PRIMARY RACE: From the Daily Caller -- North Carolina Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers says the federal government should allow illegal immigrants to stay in the United States, and should welcome a new inflow of foreign guest workers.

Her support for foreign workers is fueling a primary bid by Frank Roche, an economics lecturer at nearby Elon University. Read more here.

ELLMERS OP-ED: Read the original op-ed here.

MCCRORY JOB RECRUITING STRATEGY INCLUDES CASH POT TO LURE COMPANIES: A 10-year jobs plan unveiled by state leaders Friday recommends changes to some state economic incentives programs, including film incentives, and the creation of a special “closing fund” for Gov. Pat McCrory to help reel companies in.

The closing fund would be a “nimble” pot of money for the executive branch to use to “aggressively compete” with other states to attract companies, according to the broad “North Carolina Jobs Plan” adopted Friday by the N.C. Economic Development Board at a luncheon at the Executive Mansion. Read more here.

COLLEGES MAY LOSE POLLING SITES -- MAY HURT STUDENT VOTING: Some Triangle college campuses could lose early voting sites as county election boards across the state seek to secure locations that meet new voting requirements.

The state’s new election law placed strict rules on early voting – shortening the period by a week while demanding sites offer the same number of hours, operate on identical schedules and provide both parking and curbside voting.

UNC-Chapel Hill students may be the first affected as the Orange County elections board is looking for an alternate site for the May primary. ... Meanwhile at Duke University, there are worries that students will lose their on-campus site for the 2016 general election. Read more here.

LAWMAKERS FIGHT ACCESS TO RECORDS: North Carolina legislative leaders who led the crafting of the state’s new voter ID law have been very open about their support of the measure and other elections changes.

But voters and organizations challenging the wide-ranging amendments contend that those same lawmakers are being far too private about email and other correspondence they exchanged while transforming the state’s voting process. Read more here.

N.C. NAACP LAYS OUT AGENDA: The North Carolina NAACP announced plans Saturday to pressure U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in hopes of stopping the block on a vote of a Raleigh-based prosecutor’s nomination for federal judge – the first such nomination for a black woman.

“We’re not even asking him to vote for her,” said the Rev. William Barber, the state’s NAACP president. “We’re asking for her to be voted on. ... It is a travesty.” Barber’s comments Saturday topped the list of the NAACP’s five-point action plan for 2014, announced before about 350 people in Raleigh at Abundant Life Christian Center. Read more here.

NOT A HEADLINE THOM TILLIS WANTS TO SEE -- From The Hill: Tillis continues mediocre fundraising pace. Read more here.

QUICK HITS ---

Greg Brannon opens fifth campaign office in New Bern. Read more here.

Buzzfeed highlights Brannon’s old ‘conspiracy theory’ website. Read more here.

Robert Reives II chosen to fill former state Rep. Deb McManus: Read more here.

Politico ranks N.C. as 39th strongest state: Read more here.

Stam shows rocky road ahead on teacher pay: Read more here.

WBUR looks at N.C.’s political temperature: Read more here.

Charlotte won’t seek 2016 RNC convention. Read more here.

12th District candidates speak from common ground. Read more here.

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