Ostensibly nonpartisan, a N.C. Supreme Court race on the May ballot is one of the nastiest campaigns in the state right now with money flowing in from outside groups tied to noted national Republicans.
The negative ads rival those Democrats are running against House Speaker Thom Tillis in the Senate race and the vitriol in the 6th Congressional District GOP primary. Money is flowing into the race from major outside interests, including the Koch Industries, the company of Koch brothers, who are major conservative donors.
And the stakes are just as high, with a contentious redistricting before the state Supreme Court and Republicans controlling the governor’s mansion and legislative branch.
The race blew open when Justice For All NC, an organization that, according to campaign finance records, has received at least $650,000 from the Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee, took to the TV airwaves on Friday with an ad that has been described as a blistering attack on Hudson. The ad accuses Hudson of siding with child molesters.
It’s part of a new initiative from the RSLC to elect conservative judges, the Washington Post reported. Senate leader Phil Berger is the immediate past chairman of its affiliated legislative organization, the Republican Legislative Leadership Committee. Read more here.
An agriculture and forestry study commission meets at 9 a.m. in 643 LOB. The joint legislative program evaluation committee will meet at 1 p.m. in 544 LOB with education policy on the agenda.
Even though early turnout is up, the numbers remain small. Through Monday, 95,277 ballots had been cast – 90,051 of them one-stop voting and the rest mailed in. In a state with 6.5 million voters, that barely counts as a sliver.
If this were the general election, there would already be lines out to the street, said Michael Bitzer, a political expert at Catawba College. But this is shaping up to be a typical primary: In 2010, barely 20 percent of the ballots were cast by Election Day. Statewide voter turnout in the 2010 primary was only 14 percent.
But Civitas numbers-cruncher Susan Myrick doesn’t see the results necessarily heralding a big Democratic turnout. At this point in 2010, she says, Democrats made up 51 percent of the early voters; this time around they are at 49 percent. Republicans remained a consistent 32 percent in both years.
More unaffiliated voters are casting early ballots this year, 19 percent compared with 17 percent in 2010. So far, they’re mostly asking for Republican ballots – almost 60 percent contrasted with almost 37 percent. Myrick said she thinks it’s all about the U.S. Senate race. Unaffiliated voters do not have to vote for the same party in the general election as they did in the primary. Read more here.
For Bush, whose political future has been the subject of backroom whispers and front page newspaper headlines, taking a stance in the North Carolina race is something of a public re-entrance into the political fray, and it will undoubtedly fuel the speculation that he is seriously considering a presidential bid in 2016.
Democrats, aware that the measure faces all but certain rejection Wednesday in the chamber they control, plan to use the vote to buttress their campaign theme that the GOP is unwilling to protect financially struggling families. Read more here.
The Hagan campaign, in a statement quoted Bianca Strzalkowski, the 2011 Military Spouse of the Year whose family is stationed at Camp Lejeune, as saying: “It is clear that Mr. Tillis has not spent much time paying attention to the North Carolina military community, otherwise he wouldn’t have eliminated the Earned Income Tax Credit that 64,000 North Carolina military families rely on.”
She went on to say that Hagan devotes an “immense amount of time” in supporting military families and also “getting to really know us.”
“When military spouses have personally reached out to her office in dire times of need, she actually gets results. When the education of our military spouses and Active Duty military were threatened, she was one of the first elected leaders to stand up for us. When a budget was proposed that would have harmed our military, she strongly opposed it, explaining to her colleagues why that was not an option for North Carolina. And when my own husband deployed to Afghanistan, Senator Hagan took the time to check in to see how my family was doing.”
Strzalkowski also wrote that she’s gone to many military events and “I have never once seen Mr. Tillis or anyone on behalf of him lending an ear to our causes.”
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled the Wisconsin law places an unfair burden on poor and minority voters. The ruling could encourage opponents in North Carolina and other states to make similar challenges. Read more here.
“I almost came that day,” McCrory said. “I was actually back in North Carolina the day after. A lot of times it is worse for a politician to come visit and cause more problems the immediate day after.” McCrory said he called the local sheriff, who recommended he visit Sunday.
Democrats to elect Clodfelter’s state Senate successor. Read more here.
Former Gov. Bev Perdue to get honorary degree at UNC-Chapel Hill commencement. Read more here.
Congressional candidate forfeits inappropriate campaign contributions. Read more here.