For months, Greg Brannon has sniped at House Speaker Thom Tillis in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. The potshots came in fundraising letters designed to stir the base detailing Tillis’ ties to political insiders, sex scandals in his legislative office and more recently his financial ties to legislation approved at the statehouse.
It makes sense: Brannon is the little-known tea party challenger seeking to break his natural ceiling of support and Tillis is the perceived frontrunner, leading the money race and backed by the bigwigs in Washington.
The difference about the latest Brannon attack: Tillis’ camp responded. Campaign manager and spokesman Jordan Shaw had declined to comment on Brannon’s own troubles – a civil jury verdict that he misled investors, plagiarism on his campaign website and an unpaid tax bill – until now.
Responding to claims from Brannon that Tillis was “unelectable” because of his baggage, Shaw responded: “All this coming from a guy ... who has strung together one embarrassing episode after another. If Greg Brannon wants to talk about unelectability, he should simply look in the mirror.”
Expect to hear more about each side’s baggage as the race enters crunch time in the coming weeks and the candidates try to differentiate themselves for voters. Read more on Brannon’s hit on Tillis here.
*** A handful of headaches for Gov. Pat McCrory detailed below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
The action will take place at the legislature. The newsmaker today, via AP: A legislative study committee directed to review the 2010 law pushed by President Barack Obama scheduled its first meeting for Tuesday at 1 p.m. Committee members will hear from representatives of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and the health insurance plan for state employees and teachers.
Earlier Tuesday, doctors and patients who support the Affordable Care Act will hold a news conference at the Legislative Building.
Also meeting: A legislative committee looking at healthcare will meet at 9 a.m. in room 643 of the legislative office building to hear presentations on industry trends and the certificate of need process on opening new hospitals. A panel studying civilian credits for military training convenes at 10 a.m. in room 544 LOB. And a foster care committee meets at 2 p.m. in room 414 LOB.
Sen. Louis Pate, a member of the advisory committee that helped guide creation of the proposal, said in a letter to the head of the state health agency that it fails to offer predictable Medicaid spending and doesn’t ease the administrative burdens or properly integrate physical and mental health care for patients.
“Instead of providing a comprehensive plan, the proposal presents a list of tentative steps that may move us in a new direction, but collectively falls short of the vision and goals of true reform this group was tasked with developing,” the Mount Olive Republican wrote.
Pate’s dissent came as state health leaders sent their proposal to move to Accountable Care Organizations to legislative leaders. Lawmakers are expected to debate the plan when they meet in May and can accept it, reject it or change it. Read more here.
A federal grand jury is set to meet behind closed doors from Tuesday to Thursday in the federal courthouse in Raleigh to examine documents, video and other materials with the Duke executives and 18 current and former N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources employees summoned to the hearing. Read more here.
Highway Patrol salaries have been largely frozen since 2009 by state lawmakers and two governors seeking to balance budgets during economic hard times. “What you’ve got is guys working out here for six, seven years making $37,000 a year, and they are working beside other master troopers who are making $60,000 a year, and they are facing the same criminals shooting bullets at them,” Wijewickrama in an interview.
Wijewickrama said it could cost the state roughly $7 million to $10 million if it were to restore the pay increases and related benefits such as full 401(k) and pension payments to the more than 500 troopers affected by the freezes.