As we ring in the new year – an election year at that – Dome is re-watching our favorite videos from the political scene this year.
Here are the 10 most memorable videos of the year:
1. Governor has a great fall: An office chair with wheels proved to be Gov. Pat McCrory’s literal downfall during an appearance in Durham in April. WNCN captured the incident, in which McCrory landed on the floor after the unruly chair slipped away. But the governor recovered like a champ: He laughed it off with a “Ta-da!” as he popped back up to a round of applause.
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2. Hunting RINOs: Republican Congressional candidate Kay Daly made a splash with her first campaign ad in September. A narrator offers a litany of complaints about Daly’s incumbent opponent, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, calling her a “feminist” who “voted to let homosexuals pretend they’re married.” But the highlight comes at the end, where Daly announces that she’s “hunting RINOs (Republicans in Name Only)” and then fires a shotgun.
3. Election night Dallas Woodhouse: While this is technically a video from 2014, it was back in the news last year. Dallas Woodhouse, now the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, was interviewed by a WNCN reporter on election night in 2014 as he celebrated Thom Tillis’ victory in the Senate race. Wearing a bright red hat covered in Tillis bumper stickers, a jovial Woodhouse was asked about spending “a lot of money” to get Tillis elected. “$4.7 milllion, we did it!” he replied. The comment has prompted complaints that Woodhouse’s group Carolina Rising, might have violated campaign finance laws.
4. The singing senators: Nothing summed up the exhaustion and wackiness of this year’s super-long legislative session better than a bipartisan song on the final night of session. As the night stretched on, Democratic Sen. Mike Woodard and Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman joined together to sing “Long Black Veil” on the Senate floor. Dome particularly enjoyed watching Sen. Jane Smith’s reaction to the men’s off-key talent.
5. N.C. House’s bluegrass dancers: Political observers were more impressed by the artistic talents of two mountain legislators when the bluegrass band Balsam Range played outside the Legislative Building in June. Rep. Joe Sam Queen of Waynesville broke out some epic clogging moves, and Rep. John Ager of Buncombe County joined in as well.
6. Trump’s Raleigh kick-off: Back in June, Donald Trump stopped by the N.C. Republican Party convention a few weeks before he launched his presidential campaign. He was already using the phrase “make America great again,” but he wasn’t getting much attention yet – Dome briefly had Trump to ourself at a news conference. In the video of his interview with The N&O, the billionaire boasted of his credentials, but didn’t insult the other Republican candidates when asked about them. “It’s a very big field and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
7. The tearful goodbye: Aldona Wos faced a lot of criticism in her role heading the Department of Health and Human Services. But McCrory was a big fan of her work, and when she left the job in August, he was sad. Really sad. So sad that he could barely finish his remarks, and Wos had to hand him a tissue.
8. ‘Suck, suck, suck’: Sometimes, the N.C. General Assembly can take on the atmosphere of a college fraternity. Case in point: The annual milk-chugging contest that pits a team of senators against a team of House members. The Senate team, led by Sen. Mike Woodard of Durham, came out on top in this year’s test of suction and dairy tolerance. “Suck, suck, suck,” shouted the Democrat as his team of mostly interns cruised to victory.
9. McCrory sees his breath: It was cold in Washington, D.C. when McCrory attended an outdoor news conference with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. McCrory stood behind Jindal and exhaled at regular intervals, which looked like he was blowing smoke. It was both a bit distracting and a bit mesmerizing.
10. The Raging Grannies: No legislative session these days is complete without a colorful protest event (or 20 of them). Last year included several visits from a group of women known as the Raging Grannies. Dressed in hats covered in campaign buttons, they sang about women’s health issues to the tune of “Take me out to the ballgame.”