Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ex-Gov. Pat McCrory Is Still Hurt That College Students Didn't Vote for Him

The Charlotte Observer reported that on his radio talk show the ex-governor and long-term chucklehead jumped on the Trump bandwagon that there must be fraud in the Florida election recount and whined that he knows it was college student "fraud" that caused him to lose in 2016:
“In my particular election we had a lot of college students, who were out-of-state college students, vote, and they could do it because there was no voter ID which would have shown New Jersey license plates, Pennsylvania license plates, you name it.”

“The question is, where do they actually live? Do they live in Queens College or is their residence somewhere in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Ohio? … If they voted in North Carolina and yet their car is registered elsewhere, they have a driver’s license from elsewhere, they are breaking the law and there is no way we can prove it.”
Bullshit, or as the Charlotte Observer put it more politely, "That is false." (Have you noticed that when Republicans win, it's God's will? When they lose, it was fraud.)

In 1978 the Supreme Court ruled (Symm v. United States) that college students have the right to register and vote in the community where they are living to go to college. There is no "permanence" test, no "length of duration" test. Our culture is very mobile. If we get into the business of disenfranchising voters because we think they'll move away in a year, in two years, in four years, then we're imposing a test that is unconstitutional.

For example, the 18-year-old son of a Watauga County Republican comes of age and registers to vote in Watauga, but he is planning to go away to college at Campbell University next year and will never be returning permanently to live in his parents' home. He's about to be out in the world, going to school, and then getting a job in some other jurisdiction and getting married and starting a family. By Gov. McCrory's logic, at 18 he's a temporary resident of Watauga. Should we then say to that voter, "Sorry, but you're not a permanent resident because you intend to move"?

Where do college students actually live? They live where their clothes are hanging in a closet.

We know of course that the General Assembly will convene in a special session after Thanksgiving to write the actual rules for their voter photo ID constitutional amendment, and we know, as surely as we know anything concrete, that they'll try to disenfranchise as many Democratic-leaning voters as possible, so we fully expect them to deny college and university photo IDs.

The Republicans in the General Assembly have had previous attempts to impose voter suppression struck down by the courts, and there'll be a court battle again this time. They will never stop. Neither will we. They could try winning the hearts and minds of college students instead of suppressing their vote, but young people don't buy their political philosophy. Republican leaders respond by insulting their intelligence, calling them sheep, and accusing them of "fraud."

Monday, November 12, 2018

New Hope in the US House: Ben McAdams from Utah

I lived in Salt Lake City for four years and first got involved in Democratic Party organizing there, canvassing door-to-door for Eugene McCarthy during his 1968 insurgency against President Lyndon Johnson. I was bit by the bug and never recovered.

So I'm interested in that solidly red state, especially when it shows some blue cracks, which usually open up around the capitol city. The 4th Congressional District stretches south of Salt Lake City through prosperous suburbs but also takes in some deeply conservative enclaves.

As of yesterday, Democrat Ben McAdams is leading incumbent Republican Mia Love by 4,906 votes, with roughly 55,000 mail-in and provisional ballots still left to be counted in Salt Lake County and 72,000 ballots in Utah County (though some -- many? -- of those ballots actually belong to other congressional districts).

The race still hasn't been called.

Ben McAdams is a lawyer who served in the state senate before becoming mayor of Salt Lake County in 2013. He's a Mormon and a moderate, which means he may sometimes be a no vote on abortion rights (though he voted against a state law which would allow medical personnel to refuse to perform abortions on moral grounds and he voted against extending the waiting period for an abortion, so his record is mixed on that subject).

McAdams supports same-sex marriage. After the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the right to marry in the United States, McAdams said, "This decision enshrines what I’ve long believed — that all families should be treated equally under the law."

He's on record opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and has also called on Congress to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) after its funding lapsed in September 2017. For a Utah Democrat, he bravely opposed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, citing the expected $1.5 trillion increase of the national debt over 10 years. He said it clearly favored the "wealthy over the middle class."

Incumbent Republican Mia Love was until Tuesday at least a rising star in the national Republican Party. As an aspiring Utah politician (she had converted to the Mormon church), she was given a prominent speaking slot at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and then she ran for and won the 4th District in 2014, becoming the first black woman Republican in Congress. She was reelected in 2016 while keeping her distance from Donald Trump, who's toxic among some Utah Mormons.

Love ran a relentlessly negative campaign against Ben McAdams, but screaming "liberal liberal liberal" over and over has ceased to work with an educated electorate. And DJT dissed her very publicly on Wednesday, saying he'd never gotten any love from Mia Love, so good riddance to her.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

New Hope in the US House: Lucy McBath from Georgia

The can't-get-past-the-Civil-War South fades a little more every year. A black woman will now represent the 6th Congressional District of Georgia.

Not only that. She's a pro-gun-control black woman. Lucy McBath lost her son to gun violence in 2012 because he was playing his music too loudly and "took an attitude." White man shot him. Because the music was too loud. On Tuesday, Lucy McBath won the 6th (admittedly by a thin margin, 50.5%), the very seat in Congress that Newt Gingrich once used to step up on and take a leap into the nation's bloodstream. Lucy McBath.

“Six years ago I went from a Marietta mom to a mother on a mission,” she said.

No mean feat, taking the 6th. It's majority Republican overall (+2 aggregate margin), with Cobb County really Republican. According to them-what-count numbers (FiveThirtyEight), "a Democrat would be expected to lose Georgia 6 by 9.5 percentage points in a neutral national environment (one in which the two parties fought to a tie nationally)."

Some of us thought a Democrat was going to turn the Georgia 6th blue on June 20th, 2017, in the special election that Democrat Jon Ossoff ran in and became a phenomenal fundraising machine but couldn't close the deal. Ossoff got national star attention as part of a building "blue wave," and he got damn close -- 48%. How McBath did it better possibly reflects the Trump Fatigue among suburban Republican women. (Just spit-balling here.)

Have to feel a little sympathy for incumbent Republican Karen Handel, who hasn't served in office but a scant year, and who has a history of close ones that she's usually lost. She lost a Senate bid in 2014, coming in third in a Republican jungle primary. In 2010, she had beaten Nathan Deal in the first round of the Republican jungle primary for Governor but lost to him in the second round by .04 percent of the vote.

But wait, there's another potential Democratic flip in Georgia!

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in the 7th District -- Bourdeaux trailed the Republican incumbent by nearly 3,000 votes Wednesday morning. After mail-in absentee ballots got counted, Bourdeaux trailed Woodall by only 890 votes. In Gwinnett County, the heart of the district, there are also 2,400 provisional ballots to be counted. Historically, around 90 percent of the county's provisional ballots are accepted, according to the Gwinnett Elections Director. Provisional ballots tend to be overwhelmingly Democratic votes.

(SOUR NOTE: New voter ID laws in Georgia under Secretary of State Brian Kemp require provisional voters to go in and present identification to a local office.)

Bourdeaux had good company on Tuesday. She was running on the same ticket with seven Democrats who flipped seats in the Gwinnett legislative delegation — five in the Georgia House of Representatives and two in the state Senate.

The election is supposed to be certified next week.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The North Carolina "Seven": New Black Sheriffs Elected Last Tuesday

Paula Dance, Pitt County
Paula Dance, Pitt County, became the first African-American female sheriff in the state of North Carolina and only the fifth in the entire country. She was already a major in the sheriff's office, running for an open seat. She has 28 years of law enforcement experience, 26 of those in the Pitt County department.

Quentin Miller, Buncombe County, 25-year veteran of the Asheville Police Dept., won with over 61% of the vote against both a Republican and a Libertarian. It too was an open seat, and the Libertarian had been jailed on a stalking charge in September.

Ennis Wright, Cumberland County, was already serving as an appointed sheriff following the retirement of a fellow Democrat. Wright won on Tuesday with more than 63% of the vote.

Bobby Kimbrough Jr., Forsyth County, defeated 5-term Republican incumbent Bill Schatzman with 53% of the vote. Kimbrough is a retired agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. “People are ready for change,” Kimbrough said. “This race wasn’t about me, and it wasn’t about him [Schatzman]. It’s about building some bridges.”

Gerald Baker, Wake County, "in a stunning upset," defeated 4-term Sheriff Donnie Harrison. The 55-45 winning margin made it doubly stunning. Baker had worked for the Wake County Sheriff's Department for 28 years, 15 of those under Harrison. Harrison had partnered in and defended a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program that meant transferring people to federal custody who have been arrested and were believed to be in the U.S. illegally. Baker was critical of the program.

Danny Rogers, in Guilford County, ended the 24-year reign of Sheriff B J Barnes, a politician so powerful he was considered unbeatable. (That was Monday. Wednesday, people were thinking otherwise.) Rogers took 53% of the vote.

Clarence Birkhead, in Durham County, had virtually won the office back in the primary, taking some 69% of the vote against an unpopular white incumbent, and faced only write-in votes last Tuesday.

New Hope in the US House: 3 Women From Virginia

Personal Note
We'd like to meet the chief political minds behind these winning campaigns. Call us.

Jennifer Wexton in Virginia's 10th Congressional District beat incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock with over 56% of the vote.

Wexton had been a well known Virginia state senator from Loudoun County, and she won the June congressional primary against a slew of Democratic opponents. She was an immediate favorite to knock out Comstock, widely considered the most vulnerable Republican in the nation. Wexton ran her campaign not so much as an insurgent but as a frontrunner protecting a huge lead. (Trump is sufficiently unpopular in her northern Virginia district. And she wasn't shy about being the resistance. "Change Is Coming" was one of her slogans.)

Loudoun County was jet fuel for Wexton. It's both the heart of and the population center for the 10th District. Government professionals, non-profit professionals, local business entrepreneurs, suburban Republican women. The 10th hasn't voted for a Democrat in over 60 years. But Wexton was already known and respected as a state senator. She won her seat in a special election in 2014 and was reelected in 2015 with over 56% of the vote. She had earned distinction as a lawyer and a prosecutor -- an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. Plus she'd done a ton of pro bono legal work, served as president of the local bar, and was appointed a special judge in Loudoun District Court.

Perhaps a new political icon -- Suburban Professional Woman.

Abigail Spanberger in Virginia's 7th Congressional District beat incumbent Tea Party Republican Dave Brat by a 6,500-vote margin. A Libertarian candidate got just over 1% of the vote.

Spanberger grew up in Short Pump, Virginia, in Henrico County. She attended J.R. Tucker High School’s Spanish immersion program, served as a Senate Page for US Senator Chuck Robb, and graduated from the University of Virginia. After college, she moved to Germany and earned her MBA from a dual-degree German-American program. She was picking up important languages for espionage.

Before the CIA, she was a federal law enforcement officer working narcotics and money laundering cases with the US Postal Inspection Service. With her background speaking multiple languages, Abigail joined the CIA as an Operations Officer (entering the clandestine service and specializing in counter-terrorism). She traveled and lived abroad collecting intelligence, managing assets, and overseeing high-profile programs. In 2014, she left government service to begin a career in the private sector with EAB, a higher education consulting firm. At EAB Spanberger has helped colleges and universities create diverse student bodies, increase graduation rates, and break down financial barriers to higher education.

Good introductory video:

Elaine Luria in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District beat incumbent Republican Scott Taylor with a little over 51% of the vote. The 2nd District contains the HDQs of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.

Michael Tackett profiled Luria way back last January in the New York Times (along with two other women veterans of the Armed Forces running for high office in 2018):

Luria joined the Navy at the age of 17, eventually "majoring in" surface warfare at the Naval Academy. She rose to commander rank and served for 20 years before retiring.

"Luria said that she felt the pull to run for office after Mr. Trump’s election, and that her husband quit his job to help take over household duties so she could focus on campaigning .... she had earned a black belt in taekwondo, passed all the required endurance tests and flourished in the classroom .... After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she said, she felt compelled to stay in the Navy. She had a letter of resignation stuck in her desk, but never submitted it." 

Luria had the backing of the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and ran a disciplined and (judging from my own in-box) relentless campaign.

But There Were Also 3 Heart-Breaks in Virginia

Organic farmer and writer Anthony Flaccavento in the 7th, whom I profiled back in July.

Investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn in the 5th, whom I profiled back on May 30th.

"Bold progressive activist" Jennifer Lewis in the 6th, whom I profiled in July.

Vote outcomes: Flaccavento didn't come close, Cockburn got almost 47%, and Lewis got 40%.

 Flaccavento's loss probably means it'll take years before another Democrat attempts it (I at least hear that from a political activist in the 7th). Cockburn (or someone like her) could possibly win it next time. And Lewis has something to build on.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Coach Jerry Moore Gets Used by the Watauga GOP

AsheCountyLine has the story.

At the Election Eve prayer meeting on the Watauga County courthouse steps last Monday night (they streamed it live), Republican faithful were urged to supply themselves with the yellow flyers advertising "Coach Jerry Moore's MVPs," an obvious counter-attack on "Pam'sPicks," a decades-old election year endorsement by a local progressive warrior that I happen to know very well.

"PamsPicks" is well known and closely attended to by people in and out of Watauga County and has attained a certain local fame.

The Republicans needed a celebrity name to attach to an "endorsement" of their candidates, and someone apparently thought, "I know! Legendary ASU football coach Jerry Moore ... that's the answer! The students will swoon!"

But someone's enthusiasm for a bright idea got ahead of their performance of that idea. No one bothered to ask Coach Moore for his permission.

So they produced their flyers ... actually several versions of their flyer. There's the one pictured here, and there's a better designed one with Coach Moore's photograph that's reprinted with the AsheCountyLine article, but on election day, there were other versions circulating that had no "Paid For By ____" disclaimer on them, which is required by North Carolina state election law and which caused the complaints that alerted Coach Moore that his name was being tossed around as the celebrity supporter of the entire Republican ticket, including all six constitutional amendments.


There's sloppiness ... and then there's the Watauga County Republican Party.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Watauga GOP Shoots Self in Kneecap

Just leaving this here without comment.

New Hope in the US House: Joe Cunningham from South Carolina

Among the many nationwide Congressional races that animated my political corpuscles and my hope for surviving Trump ... Democrat Joe Cunningham's campaign in the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina, a coastal district that includes Charleston. Cunningham won the seat on Tuesday with 50.71% of the vote. I'm proud to say that I first took note of Joe Cunningham's arrival as a brand-new candidate back in February 2018, and I kept up with what looked to me like a winning and newly minted politician.

He's the first Democrat elected in this district in over 30 years. This was the seat once held by Tim Scott, the black Republican who went on to the US Senate, and by Mark Sanford, who went on a hike ... actually, two hikes, the second one being his loss in the Republican primary last spring after he dared to criticize Twitterman.

Katie Arrington, the Trump-endorsed woman who won that primary, had the Trump laying-on-of-hands during the final days of the campaign (see photo below), and her defeat is being called an "upset" by South Carolina political operatives. Arrington chose to ape Trump in talking about the "immigrant invasion" of our Southern border, and that didn't earn her any enthusiasm in the 1st District. She also supported Trump's plan to allow more offshore oil and gas exploration, something the coastal tourism industry hates and dreads.

Donald Junior stumped for Arrington on election eve, and The Donald Himself recorded a robocall for her ... more evidence that lashing yourself to Trump's axle in a urban/suburban district might not be good for your political health.

Junior with losing candidate Katie Arrington,
Nov. 5, 2018

New Hope in the US House: Sharice Davids from Kansas

New Congresswoman Sharice Davids
The Kansas 3rd Congressional District elected a lesbian, native American, civil rights lawyer to Congress. Oh yeah, and she's also a mixed martial arts fighter. Sharice Davids tried out for Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighting Championship, a pay-for-view venue with a big following. She didn't quite make the cut, but she's been a successful professional fighter since 2013. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and graduated from Cornell University. And she's going to Congress.

Say what? A muscle-woman in the marble halls?

She's also the first openly gay member of Congress elected from Kansas, and she joins Debra Haaland of the New Mexico 1st District as the first ever Native American women elected to Congress.

The Kansas 3rd District is suburban Kansas City. Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016, but Republican incumbent Tea Party Congressman Kevin Yoder held on too, even though Republican women in the suburbs (even in Kansas) had begun to get a stomachful of Twitterman. This year Yoder earned the full Trump endorsement -- tweets and in-person campaigning, which probably helped doom him. When reporters questioned Yoder during October 2016 about "grab 'em by the pussy," Yoder couldn't think of one critical thing to say about DJT. He had also voted very publicly to repeal the Affordable Care Act many times, but by 2018 that vindictiveness toward the poor and sick just seemed unnecessarily cruel. That apparent lack of moral compass bit Yoder in the pants.

Yoder served eight years in the Kansas state legislature before getting elected to Congress in the 2010 Republican wave. By this year, he had gotten some rank, especially on the Homeland Security subcommittee. That's over now.

If the woman fighter who beat him -- with over 53% of the vote, mind you -- can just develop some policy chops to go with her karate chops, she might become the kind of new voice we need in Congress.

FOOTNOTE: Who Helped Get Sharice Davids Elected?

In the 2016 campaign, Chris Gentry worked as a field team member for the Watauga County Democratic Party's Coordinated Campaign. He was a ball of fire. In the 2018 campaign just past, Chris Gentry worked for the Progressive Turnout Project (PTP), an "independent expenditure" group headquartered in Chicago. This is their self-description:
Progressive Turnout Project is a grassroots-funded organization with a single mission: get Democrats to the polls. We design, test, and execute specialized voter turnout programs targeting inconsistent Democratic voters in the most competitive districts in the country. In 2017, our trained teams flipped 10 Republican House of Delegate districts in Virginia. In 2018, we’ll bring that same strategy to competitive districts across the country.
The key is recruitment and training, which means boots on the ground for direct voter contact. PTP raised the money to target many flippable districts this year (I count 24 district field organizers on the PTP website), and they hired experienced field managers willing to live and work in those targeted districts. Chris Gentry earned the privilege of running the Kansas 3rd. He was working totally independent from the Sharice Davids campaign (the PTP is one of those "Not Authorized by Any Candidate" groups that continue to proliferate since 2016). Chris stayed on the ground for months in Kansas, organized troops to knock doors and register voters, and he obviously helped sweep the table.

Watauga County salutes an alumnus of local campaigning, Chris Gentry!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

This May Be the Greatest Legacy of North Carolina's 2018 Blue Wave

Democrats Swept All State-Wide Judicial Races in North Carolina

Anita Earls Won Her Seat on the NC Supreme Court!
Anita Earls is a legal rock star. She founded the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and served as its executive director and became a major warrior against voter suppression and the evils of gerrymandering. She was the lead attorney challenging the gerrymandering of the state, the voter ID law, and other voting restrictions. 
“I passionately believe in the importance of the right to vote, and that an independent judiciary is crucial to the balance of powers necessary to maintain democratic government of, by and for the people,” Earls said. “... In these times, I am seeing how those values are under attack, and I admire the determination of ordinary people who take great risks to stand up for their rights.” 
"...Too often this political process feels like a powerful few rigging the system against a powerless many,” Earls said. “In light of recent attacks on the independence of North Carolina’s judiciary, and on the right of all citizens to cast a ballot that is counted equally, it is clear to me that I have to not just talk the talk, but also must have the courage to walk the walk.”
Earls took 49.48% of the vote against incumbent Republican Barbara Jackson's 34.12%, with the other Republican Chris Anglin drawing 16.39% of the vote. 
The NC Supreme Court now has a 6-3 Democratic majority.

 John Arrowood won reelection to the NC Court of Appeals!
Arrowood won reelection yesterday against his Republican opponent with 50.71% of the vote. 
Arrowood is famous in our household because of the way he was appointed to the bench by Governor Roy Cooper. When Cooper was sworn into office in December of 2016, the Republicans in the General Assembly were facing an unappetizing prospect. Three judges on the Court of Appeals — two of which were Republicans — were going to be forced into mandatory retirement during Governor Cooper’s term, meaning he would get to appoint their replacements. 
The troops under GOP legislators Phil Berger and Tim Moore got busy and came up with a new law reducing the Court of Appeals from 15 to 12 seats, meaning that those mandatory retirements would not be replaced at all. Governor Cooper vetoed that bill in April and before the Republicans could override the veto, Republican Judge Doug McCullough, one of the three facing mandatory retirement, retired suddenly and early to allow Cooper to appoint his replacement before the General Assembly could override that veto. Boom! Cooper appointed John Arrowood of Charlotte to the bench. 
So, naturally, the Berger/Moore machine has put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to give themselves appointment powers over all the judiciary. That constitutional amendment was soundly defeated yesterday. 
Arrowood has more than a quarter-century of legal experience behind him as a lawyer in private practice aside from his two stints on the Court of Appeals. He graduated from the UNC law school at Chapel Hill, clerked for NC Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Arnold, and also served as a staff attorney and head of the Court’s central staff. He was vastly more experienced than his Republican opponent.

Tobias (Toby) Hampson won an open seat on the NC Court of Appeals!
Hampson took 48.71% of the vote against two Republicans who divided the rest of the vote between them. 
Hampson is a Moore County boy who was plucked out for advanced studies during high school at the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham in 1994. He went on to earn his law degree in 2002 from Campbell University with multiple honors including a seat on the Law Review. He began his career at the North Carolina Court of Appeals clerking for judges K. Edward Greene, Wanda Bryant, and Bob C. Hunter. He then practiced with Patterson Dilthey in Raleigh focusing on trial and appellate litigation before joining Wyrick, Robbins, Yates & Ponton in Raleigh in 2007, where he now leads the firm’s Appellate Practice group as a full partner. 
Hampson is massively qualified for a seat on the appellate bench. He was named one of the “Top 100 Super Lawyers in North Carolina” (2015, 2017, 2018) by Super Lawyers Magazine. He was a top-rated appellate attorney by North Carolina Super Lawyers — recognized in Appellate Practice (2014-2018) and as a “Rising Star” (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). He is recognized as “Legal Elite” in the area of appellate law (2018) and “Young Guns” (2010, 2012) by Business North Carolina magazine.

Allegra Collins won an open seat on the NC Court of Appeals!
Collins took the seat with 48.50%. The rest of the vote was divided between a Republican and a Libertarian. 
Collins is both a judicial scholar and an athlete with a pedigree of high-level competition. She represented the United States at the Pan American Games in 1999 and 2003 as a member of the United States Women’s Handball Team. She was a “resident-athlete” at the United States Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, in preparation for the 2003 Pan American Games. She’s played professional team handball in Italy and Germany. She received a full athletic scholarship (tennis) at both UCLA and the College of William and Mary. And she played on the professional tennis circuit, earning a world ranking in doubles. 
In addition to her education at UCLA and William and Mary, she attended Campbell Law School in Raleigh for her J.D. She was no slouch at legal research either: While still a student, she received the I. Beverly Lake Constitutional Law Award for outstanding writing in constitutional law. She served an important apprenticeship under Court of Appeals Judge Linda Stephens, 2007-2010, and she’s established her own practice specializing in appellate cases. 
She knows the Court of Appeals inside-out.

Holy Flippity Flip, Batman!

What happened in these NC House and Senate races that we were watching:

NC HOUSE -- Districts that flipped are highlighted. NOTE: The race in District 103 (Rachel Hunt) is so close that provisional ballots could still win it for Democrats. Bottomline: Republican super-majority has been decisively broken
Winner Christy Clark in NCHD98
Gail Young in NC House District 83 -- incumbent Larry Pittman beat her 52.95% v. 47.05% -- impressive showing by Gail Young
*Christy Clark in Dist. 98 -- is ahead of incumbent John Bradford by 333 votes. Provisional ballots and mail-in absentees still to be counted
Joe Fowler in Dist. 76 -- was easily beaten by incumbent Harry Warren
Steven Buccini in Dist. 59 -- beaten by incumbent Jon Hardister, who took almost 57% of the vote
Dan Besse in Dist. 75 -- made a respectable showing (almost 47%) against incumbent Donny Lambeth
Marcia Morgan in Dist. 19 -- incumbent Ted Davis beat her by less than a thousand votes and couldn't reach 50% of the total because of a Libertarian in the race
*Terence Everitt in Dist. 35 -- beat Republican veteran incumbent Chris Malone with 51% of the vote
*Brandon Lofton in Dist. 104 -- won this district with 51.63% of the vote
Rhonda Schandevel in Dist. 118 -- lost her rematch with incumbent Michele Presnell
*Joe Sam Queen in Dist. 119 -- took his old seat back from Republican Mike Clampitt
Lowell Simon in Dist. 52 -- was easily defeated by the Republican
*Ashton Clemmons in Dist. 57 -- buried her Republican opponent with 67.53% of the vote
Leslie Cohen in Dist. 20 -- was edged out by a slim margin of 2,000 votes
*Kandie Smith in Dist. 8 -- buried her Republican opponent
Sam Edney in Dist. 113 -- didn't come close against the Republican
Rick Foulke in Dist. 68 -- didn't come close against the Republican
Dan Whitten in Dist. 15 -- was buried by his Republican opponent
Darryl Moss in Dist. 2 -- easily beaten
Linda Bennett in Dist. 26 -- easily beaten
Erica McAdoo in Dist. 63 -- heartbreaker! She's 295 votes behind Republican Stephen Ross
Wendy B. Sellers in Dist. 80 -- buried by the Republican
*Wesley Harris in Dist. 105 -- won, taking over 52% of the vote
Susan Maxon in Dist. 109 -- easily beaten by the Republican. Interestingly, write-in candidates took 77 votes
Albeiro Florez in Dist. 45 -- only took 41.54% of the vote

Ron Wesson in Dist. 1 -- took 46.88% of the vote against the Republican
Kim Bost in Dist. 96 -- attractive candidate in an impossible district
*Zack Hawkins in Dist. 31 -- a foregone conclusion ... took 80.99% of the vote. This is not a flip, as the seat was held by Democrat Mickey Michaux for years 
*James D. Gailliard in Dist. 25 -- won this district with 51.43% of the vote
Tess Judge in Dist. 6 -- lost in her second try for this seat
*Sydney Batch in Dist. 37 -- won against the Republican with 49.76% of the vote, with a Libertarian also in the race
Rachel Hunt in Dist. 103 -- is 52 votes behind Republican Bill Brawley. Provisional ballots still to be counted. It ain't over!
*Julie von Haefen in Dist. 36 -- is 687 votes against Republican powerhouse Nelson Dollar
*Ray Russell in Dist. 93 -- edged out incumbent Jonathan Jordan with 52% of the vote
Barbara Yates-Lockamy in Dist. 46 -- hardly ran a campaign and lost badly
David Brinkley in Dist. 111 -- wouldn't run against incumbent Tim Moore's corruption and lost badly
Aimy Steele in Dist. 82 -- took a respectable 47% of the vote against Republican Linda Johnson
Terri LeGrand in Dist. 74 -- another heartbreaker ... lost to Republican Debra Conrad with 45.36% of the vote
Martha Shafer in Dist. 62 -- beaten

NCSENATE -- Republican super-majority has been broken
Winner Natasha Marcus
in NCSD 41
*Natasha Marcus Dist. 41 -- easily beat Republican incumbent Jeff Tarte
Mack Paul in NC Senate District 18 -- barely beaten by Republican John Alexander, who took 49.85% of the vote in a three-way race
*Harper Peterson in Dist. 9 -- is ahead of his Republican opponent by a mere 36 votes, with many provisional ballots still to be counted. A Libertarian candidate appears to have taken important votes from the Republican
Ginger Garner in Dist. 2 -- attractive candidate, beaten badly
Helen Probst Mills in Dist. 25 -- lost to incumbent Republican Tom McInnis
Ric Vandett in Dist 42 -- lost badly in a really difficult district
Caroline Walker in Dist. 35 -- another really attractive candidate who couldn't make a go against the Republican running for an open seat
*Sam Searcy in Dist. 17 -- took 50.44% of the vote against incumbent Republican Tamara Barringer
Cheraton Love in Dist. 29 -- was buried by the Republican
Bobby Kuppers in Dist. 50 -- buried
Jen Mangrum in Dist. 30 -- our greatest heartbreak ... she lost to bully Phil Berger but was an inspiration to thousands
*Wiley Nickel in Dist. 16 -- won easily in a three-way race
J. D. Wooten in Dist. 24 -- lost, but took a respectable 46% of the vote
*Michael K. Garrett in Dist. 27 -- is ahead of the poisonous Republican Trudy Wade by 763 votes
*Kirk DeViere in Dist. 19 -- won against Wesley Meredith, with 50.26% of the vote
*Mujtaba Mohammed in Dist. 38 -- buried his Republican opponent with over 81% of the vote. This is not a flip, as the district was previously held by a Democrat, whom Mujtaba defeated in the primary

A Note on Gerrymandering and the Current Unconstitutional District Lines in North Carolina

You don't think it makes a difference who draws the district lines?

Yesterday for the NC House -- GOP won 55% of the seats but only 48.5% of the votes. Democrats took 50.9% of the votes but won only 45% of the seats.

For the NC Senate -- GOP won 58% of the seats with only 50.5% of the votes. Democrats took 48.6% of the votes but won only 42% of the seats.

Statistics from Jonathan Kappler

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Election Finals in Watauga

The Early Vote numbers came in first, and they were pretty astounding ... with Ray Russell leading Jonathan Jordan in Watauga almost 65% to 35% ... with D D Adams leading Virginia Foxx 63% to 37% ... with every other Democrat in contested races way out front in Watauga (at least).

Biggest news of the night ... Ray Russell wins the NC House seat, District 93.

In Watauga, looks like a Democratic sweep.

More granular detail tomorrow when I can go deep into the North Carolina numbers.

Signs of the Times

I'm totally to the point of just stealing wholesale off my Twitter feed.

This is the longest day of any year.

Monday, November 05, 2018

More Data Points from North Carolina Early Voting, 2018

➼ 29% of all NC voters cast ballots during Early Voting ... compared to 18% in 2014

➼ 42.5% of early voters in 2018 = Democrats; 30.3% = Republicans ... compared to 45.3% Democrats in 2014 and 32.1% Republicans in 2014

➼ 32% of registered Democrats voted early in 2018, compared to 20% in 2014

➼ 29% of registered Republicans voted early in 2018, compared to 19% in 2014

➼ 26.9% of early voters in 2018 are Unaffiliated, compared to 20.4% in 2014

➼ 24% of those registered Unaffiliated voted in 2018, compared to 13% in 2014

➼ 9.1% of early voters in 2018 were aged 18-29, compared to 5.9% in 2014

➼ 99 of NC's 100 counties experienced increased turnout during Early Voting, with several counties experiencing double-digit increases

All statistics: Andrew Carter in the NewsAndObserver.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

There's Something Happening Here...

15,517 voted early in Watauga County through Saturday, November 3 (that number includes mail-in absentee ballots and 713 same-day registrations, some of which may end up not counting)

Party breakdown (excluding the same-days): 
35% D
28% R
37% U
For comparison, 7,865 voted early in Watauga County in the last mid-term election of 2014. In 2014, the total vote in Watauga, including Early and Election Day = 17,197.

In other words, O my brethren, the Early Vote in Watauga in 2018 is just 1,680 votes shy of the total turnout in 2014.


For more comparison, here are state-wide numbers (courtesy Jonathan Kappler):

This was the scene yesterday morning at the Early Voting station on the campus of NC State University in Raleigh:

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Sen. Dan Bishop -- NC's Poster Child for White Supremacy

The Pittsburgh synagogue killer posted "I'm going in!" on a Far Right social media platform called Gab (which is currently displaying just a declaration that it's not going away, although for the moment, it's away, shut down, caput).

News surfaced this past week that the only known investor in Gab is a North Carolina member of the NC Senate, Dan Bishop, who gave the start-up $500 through its crowd-funding push in 2017.

Here's the crucial evidence for what Senator Bishop thought he was supporting with his $500. This headline in the Washington Post: "Silicon Valley escalates its war on white supremacy despite free speech concerns." The article was about the unheralded struggle of racists to get their racism out into the American mass-media bloodstream without a lot of social media gatekeepers (like PayPal) crying "racism" and shutting them down.

And Senator Dan Bishop thought, Yassir! That's who I want to give my money to! According to reporter Billy Corriher, "The senator tweeted about his investment in Gab on Aug. 17, 2017, saying he had just read about the company in a Washington Post article .... After reading this, Bishop said that he's 'about done with [San Francisco] tech giants' Big Brother routine' and implied that the companies' banning of white supremacists was a form of 'tyranny.' "

Exposed as a promoter of Gab, Senator Bishop now says this: If Gab "allows its users to promote violence, anti-Semitism, and racism on the platform, they have certainly misled investors." In an editorial, the Charlotte Observer said that to believe Bishop's defense, "you also would need to believe he wasn't aware in 2017 of Gab's links to hate groups — despite common knowledge and the article he cited — and that he did not investigate or even explore the site before giving it $500 of his money."

Bishop was only elected to the NC Senate in 2016 after serving in the NC House. He was opposed this year in the Republican primary by Beth Monaghan, a credible, moderate Republican woman upset with Bishop's authorship of the notorious HB2 "Bathroom Bill." We wrote extensively about Monaghan back in April as the primary approached, hoping there was still life in moderate Republicanism in North Carolina. Unfortunately, there wasn't life.

Chad Stachowicz with his family
Bishop's Democratic challenger next Tuesday ... Chad Stachowicz. I'm cannabilizing what I wrote about Stachowicz in April:

Stachowicz is CEO of Cloverhound, an IT company he founded that has employees in North Carolina, Colorado, and Ohio. He describes himself as "socially liberal but fiscally conservative." "A fiscal conservative to me means spending money in the right way and making sure we get a return on our investment," Stachowicz says. The public investment needs to be in education, sure, but there are different kinds of educations that deserve our support: “I come from a generation where they preach that college is the only way to make it. That is a way to go for some, but an electrician is a job here in North Carolina where there is a great need. An electrician will make close to $70,000 once they finish their apprenticeship, which is two years."

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) has endorsed Sachowicz. So has Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic. And the New South Progressives. And Moms Demand Action.

I haven't followed Stachowicz's campaign. I hope he's been running hard and effectively, and I hope that the voters in the 39th senatorial district (Mecklenburg County) think that maybe Dan Bishop isn't the sort of man they want representing them in the future.

Friday, November 02, 2018

It's the Data, Stupid!

If you read the daily polls ... you're nuts. I avert my gaze, as soon as I know I'm about to see somebody's guess based on telephone calls to 400, 800, 1,200 randomly selected voters, whether they be "likely" voters, merely "registered" voters, or some other ad hoc group of goddamned voters. I don't believe those polls, and being altogether human, I'm charmed by the ones that make my side look good-to-go, and it's a terrible trap to begin to believe. Remember Clinton v. Trump, October 2016? So it's best to avert the gaze altogether.

But I do pay attention to Early Voting trends, especially partisan turnout percentages and comparisons to 2014. Generally speaking for 2018: Mid-term turnout is up over 2014 (but not up over 2016, a presidential year). Statewide, partisan edge goes to Democrats, with 43% of the Early Voting turnout through Oct. 30:

Old North State Politics

Locally in Watauga County, Republicans are doing even worse: out of 11,648 total votes, 37% D, 27% R, and 37% U.

Caution: We've learned through the history of Early Voting in NC that Republicans have always underutilized the option. They preferred to come out on election day, sometimes in waves that overwhelmed the Democrats ... like in 1994 and 2010. The Early Voting traffic at the Watauga rural satellite sites -- where most of the Republicans live -- has been historically and remains cold this year, like a corpse.
Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Dept. -- 7% of the total Early Vote

Meat Camp Volunteer Fire Dept. -- 5%

Western Watauga Community Center -- 9%

These Republican neighborhoods may be building some Republican surge. We can't tell. Sure doesn't look like it.

In Watauga, -- and across the state -- it's the Unaffiliated who hold the power. And maybe some well educated Republican women (as predicted by many and written up again this morning in the NYTimes).

Here's the $1.98 question: Are the Republican candidates getting out new or otherwise infrequent Republican voters? Have they expanded their base? Is immigrant-fear sufficient drug for educated Republican women (and some educated men)?

Will the Republicans come flooding out next Tuesday, by their thousands and tens of thousands, to overwhelm the little blue ripple of Democratic pushback in North Carolina? We've seen it happen before, like in 1994 and 2010. How is this year feeling? I'll take your intuition over the polls.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Richard Ojeda in West Virginia

One of the stand-out Democratic stars we've been following for months, Richard Ojeda (pronounced Oh-jed-a), getting the star treatment in the WashPost:

How the Republican General Assembly May Have Screwed Their Own Voters

Played a lot of Hearts when I was in college and living in a dorm. The local vernacular for that card game -- at a Southern Baptist college with strict rules -- was "f**k your buddy." Because you could slip your dorm-mate, on any dealt hand, a deadly grenade with the pin pulled.

I'm thinking f**k your buddy was the game Berger/Moore were inadvertently playing last June in the General Assembly when they changed (once again) the Early Voting law, a change that has ultimately hurt Republican voters in rural areas. Here's the play-by-play:

Members of Wake Co Bd of Elections
discuss Early Voting locations,
July 10, 2018.
Photo WRAL
In the waning hours of the session...
A. June 13 -15, 2018: New law is written and hurried through both chambers in a flat 40 hours on party-line votes mandating that early voting locations in each county be open uniformly from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Republican lawmakers say the changes were important "to ensure consistency within counties, cut down on voter confusion, and expand hours for casting ballots." All high-minded shit. But everyone knowledgeable about Berger/Moore knew the ulterior motive: With a mandate of 12-hour days at every site, some counties would be forced to retrench. The prejudice against Early Voting is based on Democrats' loving it and Republicans under-utilizing it.
NOTE: Early Voting has been one of the chief targets of Berger/Moore in squashing the votes of their opponents. Republicans have resisted Early Voting and tend to roll out on Election Day itself. So the reasoning must have gone: If you squeeze the dollar resources of small counties, then you force more Early Voting into the offices of the local Board of Elections, which will discourage Democrats. (And that's what the presently proposed Constitutional Amendment is all about. With a 4-4 partisan split on the board, no contested Early Voting plans from any county can get approval, which means, under statute language, all Early Voting in that county must take place in the office of the Board of Elections, and only in that office, which is often a small space in the county courthouse.)
B. June 25: Governor Cooper vetoes the rewrite of the Early Voting law.
C. June 27: NC House completes the override of the governor's veto, and Senate Bill 325 becomes law.
And ... surprise! The law is possibly biting Republicans harder than Democrats.

A WRAL-TV investigation of 70 NC counties that had to reduce Early Voting plans because of the new mandate found that rural voters have been disproportionately impacted by the new law:
With some Early Voting satellite sites now closed because of lack of funding, voters in some rural counties are disproportionately farther away from their nearest early voting location. A greater percentage of white and Republican voters have farther to travel.

Some 70 counties, but not true in Watauga. Every rural Early Voting site we had in 2016 is still open in 2018, and now open for very long 12-hour days. The Watauga County Commission (majority Democrat) coughed up the extra money to keep all satellite sites open 12 hours a day for the entire 17-day period. That takes a lot more money for additional salaries for workers as well as incidental expenses. Before the law changed, Watauga could vary the hours to maximize use and save money. For example, the ASU site was previously open a fraction of the full time.

The Republican excuse for changing the law was to "cut down on voter confusion," they said, which may be the greatest laugh-line of 2018.

Some Watauga County and Statewide Early Voting Numbers

11,648 TOTAL have voted in Watauga County during Early Voting (through Oct. 31)
37% D
27% R
37% U

Happy belated Halloween.

And now this, about the whole state during Early Voting 2018, which shows numbers this year running well ahead of 2010 and 2014 (the last two first-term mid-term elections) but behind 2016, which was a presidential year ... from Old North State Politics:

BOEs Gone Wild: Now It's Caldwell County

Caldwell County Board of Elections--
Bill Stone at head of table in purple; Sandra Rich, first on the left
Photo Lenoir Voice

Well, it's really just one member of the Caldwell County Board of Elections, Bill Stone. He's the problem. Bill Stone is Chair of the board, a Republican of a sort we've known. Partisan to the bone. Partisan to the tips of his hair, what's left of it, which is often on fire. He's a billboard leader of the Caldwell Republican Party.

There are of course complaints against Bill Stone in his official capacity as chair of the board for fair, free, and unimpaired elections. One interesting complaint against Bill Stone: he's been hanging out and becoming an intimidating presence in the parking lot outside and during early voting at the one polling place in Lenoir. He's been lectured by fellow members of the BOE -- the Democrats -- to at least pretend to a non-partisan aloofness, and behave himself. To which Bill Stone replied in open meeting, “I am going to represent myself.” (All direct quotes: Michael Barrick, The Lenoir Voice)

Confronted with the allegation in another complaint (Barrick's got the details), Bill Stone turned to his fellow Republican on the board: “This is politics. We need to take this up with the executive committee.” That's how tied in he is with the Republican power structure, and that's how arrogant he is.

We expect the Democrats to fuss. But, lookee here ... the long-time Director of Elections, Sandra Rich (who works at the pleasure of the board and who actually runs all aspects of every election and who knows vast amounts more about the law than does Bill Stone) ... Sandra Rich has gone public about the chair of her board:
Rich finds Stone’s behavior disturbing. “As a board, when they come in that door, they are to leave the party at the door and serve all of the voters of the county.”
Indeed, Rich, who during her many years as the Director of Elections would never comment publicly or privately on board members, said she could remain silent no longer about Bill Stone. “The way I see it, I want all board members to represent all of the people and do their job. They need to cooperate, and I don’t see that with Bill. They need to work as one, not against each other.”
Sandra Rich is obviously the person the personnel at the NC State Board of Elections need to talk to.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fear as a Campaign Tactic in North Carolina

Take a look at this fear tactic coming from the North Carolina Republican Party to a voter near you:

Dirty pool. The postcard puts on display the recipient's voting history, along with people who have other near-by addresses ... to scare the bejesus out of them that if they don't vote for the Republicans' Photo ID constitutional amendment -- and their "other 5 Constitutional Amendments," please note -- then the poor put-upon voter will be subject to having their dirty little secrets made public -- which this flyer just did, incidentally, at the hands of the NC Republican Party.

Dallas Woodhouse and the termites intend that this low-information voter won't bother to ask the obvious question: What does my voting history have to do with a Photo ID required for voting? Let alone a constitutional amendment about hunting and fishing?

Why, nothing whatsoever.

What Republicans are good at: spooking irrational fear with no grounding in reality.

How Can You Tell When They're Nervous? They Sweat Money

Republicans approve of fear as good politics -- caravans of illegals looking to spread a plague of leprosy, for just one example -- so let's talk fear with one week to go. Republican fear. Oh, they're not actually afraid of brown-skinned plague-bearers. That's just a pose (or else they're as gullible as a Florida bomb maker or a synagogue murderer). What they're really afraid of right now is losing big-time.

Watching the scrambles of Republican PAC money in Washington -- now that's a study in fear.
congressional seats needed for Dems to take the House ... 23
*congressional seats held by Rs in districts won by Clinton in 2016 ... 25
deep red seats that now look flippable to blue ... ??  
Guesses vary, go as high as 70 or more. Predictions are always fantasies.

But seriously, folks, literally dozens of "comer" Democrats are running in red districts from Maine to Washington state who could overturn the tables of the money-changers, good D candidates running exceptional campaigns in deep red districts. They're muddying predictions because they're playing for keeps and playing well in districts no one thought competitive.

Republican disbelievers in a blue wave fall back on recent history: Those deep red districts aren't really flippable because Trump's base is fired up, and it's the Democrats who're an angry, impotent mob, and Congressional districts just don't change hands that much. Weren't they paying attention during all those 2017 and early 2018 special elections (save one, below) in which longtime Republican incumbents went down -- or ancient Republican state and Federal seats changed hands, often decisively, like an ice-water slap? Don't they remember that?

So news reaches us here this morning that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is rushing quick aid to a number of Republican candidates (both incumbents and newcomers) running in red districts that Trump took in 2016 by anywhere from 7 to 20+ points ... because of impressive Democrats running stronger than anyone thought possible.

Partial list of those in-trouble Rs (and their D challengers, who are pictured):

Lucy McBath
Karen Handel --first-term Republican incumbent. You may recall how Handel won her seat in a special 2017 election against young, attractive Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff. If you recall that, you'll also recall our getting excited about Ossoff, who popped onto the national radar well funded and staffed by professionals. But Ossoff lost that special election to Handel for apparently being too much the outsider, a liberal pimp. Instead of a Northern carpetbagger like Ossoff, this year the Democrats of the 6th District of Georgia picked Lucy McBath. She's very much the insider. Also black, young, and an avowed proponent of gun control. They're afraid of McBath in Georgia (let alone D.C.) and are pumping up Handel. With Stacey Abrams at the top of the Georgia ticket, McBath and Abrams would mutually benefit from voter enthusiasm if they can overcome the voter suppression.

Abigail Spanberger
Dave Brat -- in Virginia's 7th District. He's the brat who beat powerful incumbent Republican big-wig Eric Cantor in 2014. He's in trouble. Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer, has come on strong. A poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University very recently put Spanberger over Brat, 46 - 45. NRCC is pouring money in for attack ads on TV.

Leslie Cockburn
Denver Riggleman -- in Virginia's 5th District. Riggleman is running for the seat left open by retiring Republican Tom Garrett, who announced he had an alcohol problem, and the high he got from being powerful wasn't helping. Background on Garrett here. Democrat Leslie Cockburn won the primary and has been a credible candidate in a sprawling rural district that includes the university town of Charlottesville. We wrote extensively about Cockburn way back in May.

Joe Cunningham

Katie Arrington -- in South Carolina's 1st District, which includes Charleston. Arrington is Trump-blessed (he laid his holy hands on Arrington's noggin in the Republican primary after incumbent Republican adulterer Mark Sanford dared to criticize the president out loud). According to Sullivan and Weigel, "Katie Arrington has had trouble putting away her Democratic opponent, Joe Cunningham," in a district both Trump and Mark Sanford won easily. I've written admiringly of Cunningham more than once. He looks like a winner to me.

Amy McGrath
Garland "Andy" Barr -- in Kentucky's 6th. Incumbent Barr is seriously endangered by former fighter pilot Amy McGrath, who's been a favorite of mine all year. Barr is getting big TV money and consultants to try to knock those wings off McGrath. Trump carried the 6th District by 13 points. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) is flying in to campaign for Barr -- curious choice, since Ryan himself is a perfect symbol of Republican defeatism in this cycle -- Ryan retired rather than face IronStache.

* NRCC and Republican super-PACS have been pulling support for some incumbents considered too far gone to save -- throwing them to the wolves.