Americans for Prosperity is organizing bus loads of conservative activists in North Carolina to travel to Virginia ahead of that state’s much-watched governor’s race in November. The North Carolina activists will focus on turning out voters aligned with the group, many of which are likely to side with Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
The tea party-aligned advocacy organization -- which doesn’t directly support a candidate -- is taking three waves of volunteers for overnight trips to Virginia, starting Friday, to knock on doors and canvass neighborhoods in the Hampton Roads area not far across the state line. One team plans to stay through Oct. 30. The organization is paying for travel, accommodations and food, officials say. “It is our turn to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with people who believe that ‘freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction,’” an organizing email says, referencing a Ronald Reagan quote.
*** More North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
TODAY IN POLITICS: Gov. Pat McCrory will speak at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Monday, addressing a group that helped lead the charge to shutdown the government to defund Obamacare. The conservative think tank dubbed the speech “A Conversation with a Reformer: How the States are Leading the Way.” It starts at noon at the foundation’s headquarters. C-SPAN will carry McCrory’s speech live. Watch it here. Later in the day, McCrory will visit the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting at 4 p.m. The Moral Monday protests move to the state’s historic capital Monday. The rally is scheduled at 4 p.m. in New Bern.
WEEKEND MUST READ: From Jonathan Martin, et al. at The New York Times -- “The budget fight that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years did not just set off a round of recriminations among Republicans over who was to blame for the politically disastrous standoff. It also heralded a very public escalation of a far more consequential battle for control of the Republican Party, a confrontation between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans that will play out in the coming Congressional and presidential primaries in 2014 and 2016 but has been simmering since President George W. Bush’s administration, if not before.
In dozens of interviews, elected officials, strategists and donors from both wings of the party were unusually blunt in drawing the intraparty battle lines, suggesting that the time for an open feud over the Republican future had arrived.”
RELATED: Look deeper inside the GOP split. Read Rob Christensen’s column here.
WHAT’S NEXT: Conflicting signals come from GOP on another shutdown. Read more here.
MORE LOCAL SHUTDOWN EFFECTS COME INTO FOCUS: Read it here.
A LOOK AT ROY COOPER’S EARLY BID FOR GOVERNOR: AP -- Attorney General Roy Cooper has been spending more time on the Democratic banquet circuit, letting the party faithful know he's ready to fight the new Republican agenda in Raleigh. And, by the way, he's ready for bigger things.
Cooper's recent words and actions leave little doubt about his gubernatorial aspirations for 2016, even with GOP Gov. Pat McCrory on the job for less than a year. Reticent in the past on issues unrelated to crime and law enforcement, Cooper is now taking a more vocal role challenging Republicans who control both the legislative and executive branches for the first time in 140 years. Read more here.
VOTER ID LAWSUIT: IS IT RACE OR POLITICS? North Carolina’s new restrictions on voting may favor the Republican Party, but Democrats must prove more than that to beat them in court. ... Who wins in court may hinge on whether judges believe Republicans were motivated by politics or race. In other words, have black voters been discriminated against? Or were they legal targets of hard-ball GOP politics?
... Election expert Rick Hasen says the voting package amounts to “the largest and most restrictive” set of election laws put in place in the half-century since Congress approved the Voting Rights Act. “You see pieces of what North Carolina has done in other states,” says Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California-Irvine. “But you can’t find a package like this anywhere else.” Read more here.
N.C. INSURER SENDS SCARY LETTERS, NOT ALL AFRAID: Ann and Rodger Lenhardt were in for a jolt when they received their notice from Blue Cross Blue Shield recently. It said their monthly health insurance cost would triple – to $859.42 a month – next year. Under closer inspection, however, the Lenhardts discovered a different story: By switching policies and taking advantage of federal subsidies, they will be able to offset most of their monthly premium costs, giving the farming couple highly discounted insurance.
About 160,000 Blue Cross customers in North Carolina have been receiving such insurance notices in recent weeks, prompting widespread anxiety among insurance customers who fear they’ll be priced out of the insurance market. The letters went out to Blue Cross customers who purchased individual policies after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010; the new law mandates more generous coverage that older policies didn’t include. Many of these Blue Cross customers will find financial relief with subsidies and cheaper policies, but some will not be able to avoid steep increases. Read more here.
EUGENICS: The deadline for eugenics compensation is looming. Read more here.
SBI AGENTS STAND THEIR GROUND: After 17 years in prison, the past three have been dramatic for Greg Taylor. A three-judge panel declared him innocent of a 1991 homicide, and his case spurred a scathing audit of practices at the State Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab. The governor pardoned him, and he recently received a $4.625 million settlement from the SBI and its insurers.
Despite these numerous public acknowledgments of Taylor’s innocence and official wrongdoing, the SBI agents responsible for the case testified this year that they’ve done nothing wrong. Read more here.
A LOOK AT THE NEW HEAD OF THE COASTAL RESOURCES COMMISSION: From Molly Parker at the Star-News -- Frank Gorham, the new chairman of the Coastal Resources Commission, says the 20-county coastal area covered by the commission's regulations is "under-realized, undervalued and underappreciated."
..."West of Interstate 95, they don't understand or appreciate or respect or know much about our coastal communities," said Gorham, whose appointment to the commission was announced this week by Gov. Pat McCrory. "I think that's a shame, and one of my goals is to educate the rest of the state."
Gorham is an independent producer in oil and gas, with small interests in properties in Texas and Mexico. He moved to Wilmington permanently four years ago, letting his wife pick the family's landing spot after various professional interests moved them around the country for years. Read more here.
NO EXPLANATION FROM McCRORY, PRICE SAYS: U.S. Rep. David Price says he has gotten no response from Gov. Pat McCrory on why North Carolina was the only state to announce it would end aid to low-income families, pregnant women and infants during the recent federal government shut down. The Democrat from Chapel Hill said at a luncheon in Raleigh on Friday that the state's Republican administration appeared too eager to cut off help to poor families during the crisis. Read more here.
A FRESH LOOK AT FILM INCENTIVES: From Wilmington Star-News -- Gov. Pat McCrory's administration is taking a fresh look at the state's film incentive in advance of its expiration date in just over a year, taking a pragmatic approach to its future considering the state's current political climate and some legislators' reluctance to renew it.
Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said she supports tools to grow the film industry in North Carolina, but added that top state officials are "evaluating what our options are and looking freshly at it (the film incentive)." She was light on details, noting that her office is still in the research and planning phase. Read more here.