Saturday, October 20, 2018

Early Voting Trend in Watauga After 3 Days

Watauga County early voting through yesterday, counting returned mail-in ballots: 4,276 total votes.

Voters by Party:

41% D
23% R
36% U

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Statewide Early Voting Trend

Courtesy BowTiePolitics:

Sign of the Times

Early Vote Totals, Day One, 2018 General Elections

Watauga County Early Voting Sites (in numerical order):
➽ Appalachian State University Plemmons Student Union 723 
➽ Watauga County Administration Building 530 
➽ Western Watauga Community Center 141  
➽ Blowing Rock Town Hall 136  
➽ Deep Gap Fire Department 99 
➽ Meat Camp Fire Department 72 

Of those 1,701 total voters yesterday in Watauga (in numerical order)...
43% Ds
34% Us (Independent)
22% Rs 

As always, the Unaffiliated hold the key in Watauga.

Cannon Fire On the Right; And Young Republican Message Fails

We do follow conservative blogs in North Carolina. It's another way to take the barometric pressure, and sometimes we learn something. Or we hear something that makes us go hmmm and wonder at the turning of the heavens like on an axle.

Brant Clifton writes The Daily Haymaker down in Moore County. His bio: "...[He's] marched to the beat of a different drum from very early in life. The grandson of a Democrat party machine boss, Mr. Clifton registered Republican at 18 and campaigned for Ronald Reagan and George Bush. He worked for the late U.S. Senator Jesse Helms in Washington during and right after college.
"Mr. Clifton took on the liberal media as an analyst with The Media Research Center, then jumped into a lengthy career with the "drive-by media". His work has appeared in local newspapers in The Carolinas. He has done on-camera work for ABC's Good Morning America, and print work for national publications such as US News & World Report and People magazine. Mr. Clifton has also worked as a correspondent for AP, UPI, Reuters and Agence France Presse." [Beaufort County Now]
Unlike the numbskulls at Watauga Conservative, Clifton can be funny. He's always cutting and brings information (the verity of which I know naught), but his blinders are Tea Party, and I'd say he's on the mean end of that danceline. He insults people. Especially Republicans he considers too soft. And the Reverend William Barber.

So here was Clifton yesterday:

House Republicans are not battling to hold a super-majority.  They’re fighting to keep a majority period.

He says he talked to Republican operatives in Raleigh to reach that opinion. There's a concession, apparently, among insider Republicans, that they're going to lose their veto-proof majority in the NC House (which means Democrats will sustain Roy Cooper's vetoes, and the Berger-Moore bulldozer will lose its gas tank). There's real terror, according to Clifton, that they could lose control of the whole House.

Clifton brought his big guns yesterday for his longtime enemies in the top echelons of the Republican Party, particularly Dallas Woodhouse and his gang at the NC Republican Party HDQs:
[The reason Republicans are losing...] It’s a leadership and management problem.
House Republicans have a leadership cabal more interested in pleasing lobbyists than keeping the promises they made to voters. They’ve become what they replaced. 
The state GOP is dominated by people who have been there since you could fit ALL the state’s Republicans in one phone booth. There’s more interest in obtaining and accruing personal power than there is in growing the party and helping the state.
That rings true, cause it's true for the Democrats too. It's true for any power that grows too big and turns crusty with age.

I guess we're calling the Tea Party the Trumpsters now, and the cracks against establishment Republicans are interesting in the middle of an election, particularly this election. Divided parties don't win.

Look at this sign that showed up all over Boone Tuesday night, on the eve of the start of Early Voting.

When I first saw that, and heard that the Young Republicans were putting them out, I assumed it was a revolt against Trumpism, a comment on Trump's rallies and his Twitter spew. Little did I know!

The signs were especially prominent on the campus of AppState, maybe because they were put out there, and all over town, by the ASU Young Republicans:

They're not Republican moderates. Apparently, the #Walkaway sign is making a cloaked reference to the Trump meme that Democrats now constitute a "mob." So I would have to grade the black sign a big ole message fail. Which is also a piece of interesting information about this current election: Republicans have no defense.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Another Day, Another Republican Law Ruled Unconstitutional

The Republican restructuring of the NC State Board of Elections got yet another black eye yesterday at 5 p.m. when the three-judge panel ruled the whole restructuring of the SBOE and the Ethics Enforcement board unconstitutional but said it could continue to function through this election.

Open question: Will Republican leaders in the General Assembly appeal the decision? Not if they get their constitutional amendment through, which will permanently lock in stalemate with a 4-4 board of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. If that amendment fails, then they'll appeal.

In the meantime, it's a decision without an effect. Which sucks.

Melissa Boughten coverage:
A three-judge panel ruled the evening before early voting that Republican lawmakers unconstitutionally restructured the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement after Gov. Roy Cooper was elected.
Provisions of a state law restructuring the State Board (including its executive director and chairperson) and county boards of elections violates the separation of powers clause in the Constitution by diminishing the Governor’s control over the agency, according to the 2-1 opinion released after 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Judges Jesse Caldwell III, a Democrat who presides in Gaston County and Todd Burke, a Democrat who presides in Forsyth County signed the opinion. Judge Jeffery Foster, a Republican who presides in Pitt County, wrote a dissenting opinion noting that he believed the issues were political questions and therefore nonjusticiable.
The split decision enjoins the parts of the law ruled unconstitutional but suspends that injunction until after the November election is certified so the election process can continue without interruption.
Supplemented by Will Doran's coverage in the News and Observer:
Currently the board has nine members, including four each from the Republican and Democratic parties and one person not affiliated with either party, who can break ties on politically contentious issues that come before the board.
That’s a less partisan setup than before 2016, when whichever party controlled the governor’s office also was guaranteed control of the elections board. The amendment on the ballot this November would permanently remove the ninth member of the board, leaving it with just four Republicans and four Democrats. The amendment would also remove most of the governor’s power to decide who sits on the board, giving that power to the legislature instead.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fired Up and Ready to Go v. Voter Suppression Laws

A new polling statistic: The percentage of both independents and younger voters who are claiming they’re absolutely certain to vote is up from October 2014:
➼ Independents determined to vote -- up from 59 percent in 2014 to 72 percent now
➼ Younger voters under 40 determined to vote -- up from 42 percent in 2014 to 67 percent now
One of the groups most in the crosshairs of North Carolina voter suppression = young voters, especially college kids at liberal universities. Those kids will be permanently sidelined from the ballot if a certain NC constitutional amendment passes, the one mandating a photo ID to vote -- but not just any photo ID, but rather the one the NC General Assembly decides is the Golden Ticket (which college students are guaranteed not to possess). I dunno. Perhaps the combination of such obvious attempts to discourage the youth vote (the Watauga County case is a prime, though not the only, example) and the proposed constitutional amendment -- "Don't Even Think About Voting in North Carolina Without the Passport We Mandate" -- perhaps those blatant attempts to suppress the vote has had the opposite effect. Because the young people I know are chomping at the bit.

Determination is the mother of results.

Last night, I learned about what's going on in North Dakota with native American voters, and I have to conclude that North Carolina maybe isn't the worst state any more for voter suppression. The North Dakota legislature has disenfranchised the native Americans in Sioux and Rolette counties by banning voter registrations with no street addresses, where most native American voters have PO box addresses, not street addresses, because most people get their mail from a p.o. and many roads aren't even named. Why did they do that? Because Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp won her seat by only 3,000 votes in 2012, votes which came from Sioux and Rolette counties, and the North Dakota Republicans in charge of the laws and interested in unseating Heitkamp intend to stop Indians from voting Democratic.

Or take Georgia, which has entrusted its fair voting system to the Republican secretary of state (Brian Kemp) who is also running for governor against a black woman Democrat (Stacey Abrams), so guess whose voter registrations have been and are being systematically nullified by the Secretary of State's office. No, guess.

The pickle their politics have put them in! The people don't like their policies, so they can't win any other way except keeping people away from the ballot. And because the public has often been ignorant or oblivious, they've gotten away with it. Have to hope -- and some of the polling today encourages the hope -- that more people are woke.

Republican elected officials are a tad touchy being asked about voter suppression, especially US Senator from Georgia David Perdue, who snatched a cell phone out of a student's hand to avoid being photographed answering the question, "Why have you endorsed a man for governor who's suppressing the vote?"

Monday, October 15, 2018

More Democratic Hopes for the NC Senate

We posted yesterday about five Democratic candidates who could break the Republican super-majority (down-column) and who are running in districts considered either competitive or "lean Democratic."

Below are videos by some Democrats running in NC Senate districts rated "lean Republican" and "strong Republican," and several of them have already made a reputation as stars in the 2018 Democratic crown. Can they win? Yes. Especially in a year like 2018 has proven to be.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Audience Laughs at Caldwell County Republican Lawmaker

At a candidate forum in the Caldwell County Public Library on October 6th, Republican NC House member Destin Hall bragged that the Republican gerrymandering of the General Assembly is the bestest gerrymandering evah:

“And I can tell you that the way the maps are drawn now are much, much, much more fair than they ever were.”

Sound right to you? Didn't sound right to the crowd in the public library, either. They laughed at him.

Destin Hall is completing his first term in Raleigh representing House District 87. He beat incumbent Republican lawmaker George Robinson in the 2016 Republican primary and faced no Democrat in the 2016 general election. He's an AppState grad with a law degree from Wake Forest. He looks to rise fast in the NC House caucus, as he has his conservative talking points down pat, and he's young in a tribe of old men.

This year he has an opponent, Democrat Amanda Bregel, a 10th grade English teacher at Caldwell Early College High School. After graduating from UNC-Greensboro in 2010, she spent two years teaching in a missionary school in Kenya before being hired in Caldwell County. She serves on the leadership team of Caldwell Women Rise, a community action organization, and is involved in her Methodist church food pantry and other community activities.