“Could this be former Vice President Dick Cheney’s revenge for U.S. Rep. Walter Jones suggesting that he should rot in hell for his role in the Iraq War?”
That’s the provocative start to N&O columnist Rob Christensen’s column this morning on the 3rd District congressional race in which Taylor Griffin came from Washington to take on longtime incumbent Walter Jones.
It’s an intriguing race that Washington is obviously following closely. More from the column: Cheney allies and others are pouring money into Eastern North Carolina to take out Jones in next month’s GOP primary.
The Emergency Committee for Israel has put $348,000 into an independent TV campaign “against Jones. Its chairman is Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and a Cheney ally.
This comes on top of the $197,000 in TV ads from an independent group called Ending Spending Action Fund, which is chaired by Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade. ...
This is the first time a primary challenger has had the funding to compete with Jones, who has one of the best-known names in Tar Heel politics. His father was in Congress before him, and Jones has served for 20 years.
Jonathan Brooks, Jones’ chief political strategist, said the influx of money is an example of Potomac politics being played out along the Pamlico Sound. “It’s the neocons going after the paleocons,” Brooks said. “It’s part of the larger civil war going on in the Republican Party.” Read more here.
A full day of meetings at the legislative building today. The most attention will focus on lawmakers who are looking at how to clean up Jordan Lake. They meet at 9 a.m. in room 544 LOB, and public comment is expected. A heart disease and stroke prevention task force meets at 9:30 a.m. in room 1027 LB. The purchase and contract study committee meets at 1 p.m. in room 544 LOB. The much-watched program evaluation oversight committee meets at 1 p.m. in room 643 LOB. The Permanency Innovation Initiative panel meets at 2 p.m. in 414 LOB.
The N.C. Mining and Energy Commission also will hold its final meeting. (See more below.)
Republican leaders are pushing a plan to increase starting salaries for teachers but offering no boost for veteran educators. A legislative panel reached a dead end on the broader issue this week. The latest revenue report forecasts limited growth, so GOP legislative leaders say the state is too cash-strapped for the across-the-board increases demanded by teachers, who rank among the lowest paid in the nation.
The situation is putting renewed scrutiny on a key reason for the state’s financial picture: the tax cutting measure authored by Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders. The measure cuts personal and corporate income taxes, leaving the state with $2.4 billion less in revenue in the next five fiscal years, according to legislative analysts’ projections. ...
Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Senate GOP leader from Archdale, said increasing teacher pay across the board is a multiple year process and no broad pay hikes are likely in the legislative session that begins May 14. “Yes, you can go back and say if we didn’t cut taxes we would have money for education,” he said. “But that money is also going back into the economy and getting people back to work.”
Mark Jewell, the teachers association official, took issue with McCrory’s repeated assertion in recent months that cost overruns for Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income residents, is to blame for the state’s financial restraint. “It’s getting very tiresome to hear,” Jewell said. “They keep blaming poor people for the state the state is in. To pit poor people and public schools against each other is not a healthy solution.” Read more here.
When her father started an insurance business in the ’90s, she went to work for him to fix it up. When her son was diagnosed with benign chest tumors when he was a baby, she became a nurse so she could better care for him. And when, after nursing school, she heard that military families weren’t getting good health care, she joined the Army so she could try to fix that, too.
Once discharged, she moved to Wilkesboro and re-immersed herself in the state where she grew up and found a new problem she wanted to fix: Washington. ... She’s a long-shot candidate in the crowded Republican primary race, steadily trailing the trio of Thom Tillis, Greg Brannon and Mark Harris that has taken the lead. Read more here.
His total is far below the millions House Speaker Thom Tillis is raising and just short of the roughly $500,000 rival Greg Brannon reported raising in the first quarter.
The campaign touted the numbers but didn’t release how much it raised through March this year. It emphasized the “total raised” since he entered the race in October, about $800,000. But a campaign spokesman confirmed the number to Dome.
Harris’ campaign said 80 percent of its donations come from North Carolina, a number they believe bested other rivals. “Our in-state donor base is fueling our efforts, which confirms that our message is resonating with North Carolinians, setting us apart from other campaigns,” Harris said in a statement.”
The $280,000 Department of Transportation project was paid for with a total of $110,000 from the State House and Senate Department of Transportation discretionary funds, in-kind labor and materials from the Town of Wilkesboro, and funding from the Department of Transportation. The total project cost was $278,145.
Tillis, who helped get the $55,000 from the House DOT discretionary budget, said Friday, “When we make trips around the state, we like to see how the discretionary funding has been spent.” Read more here.
Our purpose wasn’t to endorse the Republican we think has the best or worst chance of defeating Hagan.
After all, we gave a very strong endorsement of Hagan for the Democratic nomination. It wouldn’t make sense to endorse the candidates we thought had the best chance of defeating each other. We’ll look at the general election match-up when we get there. See the surprising – to say the least – original endorsement here.
Martin faces Superior Court Judge Ola Mae Lewis in November.
“Public charter schools should disclose how they spend all tax dollars, including salaries paid,” N.C. Board of Education Chairman William Cobey said in a recent email.
“Charter schools are set up and organized as public schools. Therefore I believe salaries are to be open to the public for review,” state Superintendent June Atkinson said Monday. Atkinson said that when the N.C. Department of Public Instruction said in March that charter salaries are not subject to public disclosure, “our attorneys misunderstood the question.” Read more here.
McCrory, Republican lawmakers and representatives of conservative think tanks participated in a news conference to celebrate the law’s changes, which include lower individual and corporate income tax rates, along with the elimination of scores of credits, exemptions and deductions. ...
The news conference coincided with Tuesday’s release of an annual report from the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council that ranked North Carolina the sixth most economically competitive state, compared to 22nd a year ago. Council leaders credited the tax overhaul with the jump in the economic outlook rankings, the largest this year.
Opponents of the overhaul held their own news conference to lament the loss of a refundable tax credit for the working poor that the Republican-led legislature allowed to expire with 2013 tax year filings. Read more here.
Wednesday’s meeting will culminate a year-and-a-half of intense, technical review that fracking critics considered too rushed and advocates praised as meticulously thorough. By the end of the meeting, the commission will have produced about 120 safety rules, setting the stage for packed public comment sessions in August that are likely to be heated.
“It’s quite possible they could influence, in a minor way or a major way, some of the tweaks that we apply to the rules,” said Commission Chairman James Womack. “They could catch something we’ve missed. They could cause us to rework some aspect of our rule writing.” Read more here.
Last week, the ACLU of North Carolina and other groups sued Cooper and several state officials on behalf of three same-sex couples – one from Hickory – who are dealing with serious medical issues. Those health concerns require quick action by a court to overturn the state bans on same-sex marriages for insurance, adoption and health care purposes, the suit claims. Read more here.
Study says N.C. immigrants have positive economic impact. Read more here.
GOP lawmakers want to intervene in school vouchers case. Read more here.
Democrats target Republicans, including Ellmers, on immigration. Read more here.
McCrory tweaked for use of “infamous” to describe the Masters’ green jacket. Read more here.
Feds say N.C. has cleared food stamp backlog. Read more here.