North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senate race heats up Thursday with appearances by every candidate in the Charlotte area, a cameo by a top GOP strategist and a protest that underscores underlying tensions in the party, Jim Morrill reports.
Then on Friday, a Republican House panel will hold a rare field hearing in Gastonia that could give all the candidates more ammunition in their fight to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. The title of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing suggests it won’t help Hagan and other Democrats who supported the Affordable Care Act. It’s called “ObamaCare Implementation: Sticker Shock of Increased Premiums.”
“Kay Hagan’s going to have another bad week,” said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Washington-based Cook Political Report. “Health care will continue to be in the news. Her opponents will be in the news. And there’s not a lot she can do about it.”
So far health care is shaping up to be a defining issue in North Carolina’s 2014 race, one of a handful that Republicans are counting on in their bid for the six seats they need for control of the Senate.
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U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Dunn Republican, will appear on Fox News at approximately 10:25 a.m. to talk about the federal health care law troubles.
The North Carolina Awards are scheduled to be presented Thursday in Durham, with the science award going to Dr. Myron S. Cohen of Chapel Hill for his HIV/AIDS research. The fine arts award goes to John Cram of Asheville and the literature award to John M.H. Hart Jr. of Keswick, Va. Three men will receive public service awards: Dr. John Harding Lucas of Durham, Philip J. Kirk Jr. of Raleigh and Walt Wolfram of Cary.
Gov. Pat McCrory will present the awards at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham. The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources administers the awards.
The local hearing is the first in a series of field hearings for members of Congress who want to take a closer look at how the new health care law is affecting people at home.
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a critic of the Obama administration, will bring the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to the Gaston County Courthouse, 325 North Marietta St., for the hearing starting at 10 a.m.
Witnesses scheduled so far include Dan Waters, president of Dan Waters & Associates, a Hickory insurance agency; Joel Long, president of GSM Services, a commercial roofing and HVAC company in Gastonia; Tav Gauss, CEO of Action Group Human Resources Solutions, a staffing firm with multiple offices statewide; Sherry Overby, director of the Belmont Crisis Pregnancy Center, and Jason Falls, owner of Falls Insurance in Kings Mountain. Read more here.
House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius, meanwhile, hosts a noon fundraiser at Bank of America Stadium with former White House adviser Karl Rove. Rove has angered many conservatives by promising to help Republicans nominate candidates electable in a general election, and a protest is planned during his appearance.
“We’re just protesting Karl Rove mainly because of the things he’s said about grassroots candidates, and trying to blame some of our losses strictly on tea party candidates,” said Chuck Suter, a self-described tea party activist organizing Thursday’s protest.
That could rub off on Tillis.
Jennifer Stepp, president of the Gaston tea party group, said tea partiers want “the most conservative person we can (get) who believes in the principles of smaller government, limited and responsible spending and adhering to constitutional principles.”
“If the establishment GOP is on board with us, fine; if they’re not, fine,” she said. “Obviously Thom Tillis is the GOP establishment’s choice.” Read more here.
On Wednesday, Hagan's office responded by saying that it was the insurance companies who weren’t being upfront.
“It wasn’t clear – and it’s very disappointing – that for the last three years insurance companies continued to sell plans that didn’t meet the basic standards of the law and didn’t tell consumers that those plans would be canceled,” Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said in a statement. Read more here.
Gossage, a Republican, lost a 2008 bid for the House seat Murry later won in 2010. The two are friends and Murry donated money and helped Gossage campaign for Apex Mayor in 2011, a race he lost by a wide margin.
Murry’s wife is also listed as a health and wellness writer for the network of online news websites Gossage managed as publisher and editor. The websites, such as the Wake County Times, frequently featured stories naming Tom Murry in a favorable light. The news websites have not been updated since May, when Gossage took his first government post. Read more here.
Phil Berger Jr. began a tour of the 6th Congressional District with his kickoff announcement at a charter school in his home of Rockingham County before heading to Alamance County. He said if elected, he would fight "liberal overreach" in Washington and work to repeal President Obama's health care law.
"We can't let the guy who broke our health care system try to fix it. That doesn't make any sense," Berger said inside the Graham Soda Shop, across the street from the Alamance County courthouse. "Obamacare needs to be gone, removed and repealed."
That complaint involved Wanda Larson, one of the agency’s top child-protection supervisors, and the boy who was under her legal care.
Last Friday, Larson and her longtime boyfriend were arrested after the youth, now 11, was found handcuffed to their front porch, a dead chicken tied around his neck. She and Dorian Harper, 57, remained jailed Wednesday on child abuse and related charges. Read more here.
“Dean Smith is one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, but his successes go far beyond Xs and Os,” President Barack Obama said, and indeed they do.
It is an extremely cruel twist of fate that denied Smith the chance to enjoy this moment in person, as he so surely would have. The degenerative brain disorder that has robbed Smith of the extraordinary mind that made him such an extraordinary person also kept him from attending Wednesday’s ceremony. Read more here.