Real Facts NC has updated its NC House races to watch, which we find very helpful. And very hopeful. Here's where some of the surprises will be, come November, and also some of the heartbreaks. You can read more here.
|"Races to Watch," Real Facts NC|
|"Races to Watch," Real Facts NC|
|Barbara Jackson, the Republican|
who wants to be the ONLY
|Chris Anglin, the other|
Republican who's been
told he can't be a Republican
This evening GOP leaders of the Legislature are once again demonstrating that they have forgotten what it is to be Constitutional Conservatives.
They are so frightened by our campaign and message, that in a stunning act of cowardice, they are taking steps to misrepresent who I am on the ballot. They made the rules, I followed them. This is another example of them changing the rules in the middle of the game. They will stop at nothing to hand pick their judge and undermine our democratic process.
This invites a debate about who decides who is a Republican and what it means to be one. I welcome that.
I chose to run as a Republican for a reason. To be a voice for Republicans who are appalled at these types of shenanigans that attack our rule of law and the checks and balances of our Republic. I’ve just begun the fight.I trust that last sentence is a promise that Chris Anglin will sue their pants off.
|Anita Earls, the Democrat running for NC Supreme Court|
|Member/District||Old Rating||New Rating|
|French Hill (R, AR-2)||Likely Republican||Leans Republican|
|Vern Buchanan (R, FL-16)||Likely Republican||Leans Republican|
|Charlie Crist (D, FL-13)||Likely Democratic||Safe Democratic|
|Steve King (R, IA-4)||Safe Republican||Likely Republican|
|David Young (R, IA-3)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|Peter Roskam (R, IL-6)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|Trey Hollingsworth (R, IN-9)||Safe Republican||Likely Republican|
|Jackie Walorski (R, IN-2)||Safe Republican||Likely Republican|
|Andy Barr (R, KY-6)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|Mike Bishop (R, MI-8)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|NM-2 Open (Pearce, R)||Likely Republican||Leans Republican|
|Steve Chabot (R, OH-1)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|OH-12 Special (Tiberi, R)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|Mike Kelly (R, PA-16)||Safe Republican||Likely Republican|
|John Carter (R, TX-31)||Safe Republican||Likely Republican|
|John Culberson (R, TX-7)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|WV-3 Open (Jenkins, R)||Leans Republican||Toss-up|
|It's time for him to find a new hammock|
Republican Don Blankenship is filing to run for Senate in West Virginia, taking on the state's sore loser law that prohibits candidates who lost in the primary from running in the general election.
The Blankenship campaign acknowledged that the West Virginia secretary of state's office was unlikely to certify his candidacy, but described his plan to file papers as a first step toward getting around state law and earning the right to challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in the midterm elections as a third party candidate.Blankenship, a felon coal mine operator who came in third (last) on May 8th in the Republican primary for US Senate, makes it a habit to stick his thumb in the establishment's eye. We posted here on the eve of the May 8th primary:
Holy crap! Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin has been considered the most endangered Democrat in the US Senate, but the Republican voters in their primary tomorrow may grant him a reprieve ... if they choose felon coal baron Don Blankenship to run against him. National Republicans are so worried about that outcome that they induced Corporal Bonespurs to tweet this morning a warning to WVa voters not to vote for Blankenship. "Remember Alabama," DJT tweeted.Being dissed by the Twitterman is ironic, isn't it? Because Blankenship fancies himself another Trump. In fact, "trumpier than Trump!" -- similar appetites, personality, and carelessness with the truth.
|Tim Moore and Phil Berger intend to put themselves in control|
of every goddamn lever of power in North Carolina
... I was astonished this weekend to find out that Representative Lewis has cast aspersions on the upcoming meeting of the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission ....
... the Commission scheduled a meeting on July 31st to provide simple and commonly used caption language well ahead of that deadline [Aug. 8]. Any assertion to the contrary is false. In fact, Representative Lewis’s proposal for a special session will take much longer and cost the taxpayers a whole lot of money.
Second, I have had no outside groups or pressure tactics aimed at me or used against me. None. If either of the other two commissioners have received such pressure, they have not indicated such to me. In any case, I am publicly stating it has not happened to me.
Third, the Commission’s job is not to promote or oppose proposed amendments. The Commission did not write these amendments and takes no position on them. It has not asked the voters to approve or reject them. In fact, it is the General Assembly that wrote them, approved them, and has now asked the voters to change our North Carolina Constitution by adding them....You can read Marshall's entire backbone-of-steel letter here.
|Strongman David Lewis|
Democrat Brandon Lofton first came to our attention back on January 14 of this year as one of the potential stars of this cycle (full disclosure: I'm a contributor to his campaign). Lofton is a lawyer and a partner at Robinson Bradshaw, concentrating on public finance. Quoting from the Robinson Bradshaw website: "He regularly serves as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, borrower's counsel and bank counsel for tax-exempt and taxable financings. Brandon represents municipalities, counties, hospitals, universities, nonprofits and underwriters in the financing and refinancing of capital improvements. He also represents clients in a variety of public finance transactions, including general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, installment financings and limited obligation bonds." Lofton graduated from Chapel Hill with his bachelor's in 2001 and then earned his law degree at New York University in 2004, trailing service awards and academic honors along the way. Lofton was honored by his law school as the featured representative and speaker for the class of 2004. He described "his childhood dream of being a lawyer, explaining how he wanted to be a source of positive social change and to emulate legal heroes such as Thurgood Marshall." He's got volunteers door-knocking for him and volunteers calling for more volunteers to door-knock. That's what we light to see!
Democrat Erica McAdoo was also written up on WataugaWatch on January 14. Love seeing this in her Twitter feed today: "Last weekend's stats: 951 doors knocked, 60+ volunteers. Join us as we canvass again this weekend on July 22nd." And I applaud this stand on redistricting: "It's time for creation of an independent redistricting commission!" McAdoo is the firm manager for The Paynter Law Firm in Hillsborough and teaches at Guilford College and Meredith College (while simultaneously working on an MBA at ECU). She earned a Master's of Music from Appalachian State, a paralegal certificate from Meredith, and a B.S. in piano from Campbell University. According to the Paynter website, McAdoo previously "worked in the legal industry as a litigation paralegal where she was frequently responsible for legal research, document drafting, employee training, office and file organization, client recruitment and retainment, implementation of firm-sponsored community events, identification of marketing opportunities, and development of marketing materials."
Democrat Mack Paul was another of those Democrats I wrote about on January 14 who were making me "anticipate November like Christmas morning." Paul is a Raleigh real-estate attorney and former Wake County Democratic Party chair. He says his campaign will focus on economic issues affecting the middle class, and he says the Republican-dominated Senate has “been focused way too much on issues that divide us.” He was a founding member of Triangle Growth Strategies and the Triangle Smart Growth Coalition, two groups that brought together homebuilders and environmentalists on growth issues. As a partner at Morningstar Law Group, he has represented big developers who were defeated in their plans by local opposition, but Paul says he does not support recent legislation backed by developers to limit local governments’ planning and zoning powers. “I feel like it’s important that our local governments have authority to implement the policies that they need because they understand the issues at the local level,” he said. I want to believe him. Back in the middle of June, he posted a Facebook ad for interns in communications, finance, and field operations. He can certainly afford to pay a big team of young people.
Democrat Rachel Hunt waited until the last week of filing to jump into the race, but she has plenty of Democratic juice supporting her. She is one of former Governor Jim Hunt's daughters, so she is already networked in a helpful way. Like her father, Rachel has been and will continue to be a champion for public education. She is a board member of the NC Foundation for Public School Children, and she started two companies that help parents and students, including those with disabilities, find a good school and quality education. “I’ve spent my life helping North Carolina grow into a beautiful, inspiring state that looked out for the little guy and put strong public education above everything else, but lately, that shared vision has been threatened. I am running because I can no longer stand back and watch this great state that my family and so many other families like ours worked so hard to build be undermined by politicians in Raleigh.” She has served as the chair of Generation Nation and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Youth Lead and Youth Councils. She trained as a lawyer. Governor Roy Cooper recently appointed her to the Education and Workforce Innovative Council.
Democrat Martha Shafer is one of the new Democratic women running in 2018 who've been endorsed by Emily's List of North Carolina. She's a native of Charlotte but has lived in Guilford County for some 25 years. She's a retired hospital administrator, trained in health administration at Duke University, so she's particularly sharp on health-care issues: "Having spent her entire career working in healthcare, Martha knows first-hand that many North Carolina families are struggling to cover basic health needs. Unfortunately, the General Assembly has decided NOT to expand access to Medicaid to 500,000 North Carolinians who would benefit under the Affordable Care Act. Not only is this immoral, it is fiscally irresponsible. Expanding Medicaid would create 43,000 jobs by 2020, both in health care and other sectors, and the state’s economy could gain tens of billions in business revenue. Most of the cost would be paid by Federal dollars, which are currently funding expanded care in thirty-one other states that have made the rational and caring choice to expand Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid will lower the amount of charity care that hospitals provide, which will put downward pressure on insurance premiums for insured patients, making expansion a win for everyone." https://marthashafer.com/ Shafer also highlights the shabby way public education has been treated since a Republican super-majority took over in Raleigh: "Public education is not being adequately funded; per pupil spending is down since 2008, putting us as one of the states that spends the least per student in the country. Laws that directly affect our children in the classroom are rushed through without open debate and fair hearings, leading to bad decisions."
Democrat Sam Searcy has a law degree, but he's gotten people's attention through his entrepreneurial activities. In 2016 Searcy teamed up with some of his previous business partners and a new guy with an old-world recipe for long-grain rice distilled vodka, and they formed Graybeard Distillery in Durham, which now touts its success as "the largest grain-to-glass distillery in North Carolina." Searcy's life story to get to that success was no bed of roses. “I’ve seen first-hand what happens when North Carolina families struggle to make ends meet,” said Searcy. “My family lost our home when I was in 7th Grade, and I began working to help support my family when I was fourteen. Too many families in North Carolina are facing the same challenges we did." "Sam Searcy grew up in the small town of Hendersonville, NC. His mother was a teacher’s assistant in public schools and his dad worked in the factories. Sam became the first person in his family to graduate from a four-year college. With the help of student loans and on-campus jobs, he put himself through Appalachian State University. Sam worked a few different jobs until the Great Recession hit. He, like many North Carolinians, found himself laid off. He took a job at Lowe's garden center to support his family. Eventually, he helped start two local companies which continue to employ people right here in North Carolina." One of his campaign issues that should resonate with struggling North Carolinians: "Having worked in the healthcare industry and helped build a successful medical services company, I believe we can and should do more to lower costs. But, Republicans in Raleigh have put the health of thousands of North Carolinians at risk by refusing to expand access to Medicaid. I will work to ensure that every person in North Carolina has access to quality, affordable healthcare."
|Sydney Batch with husband J. Patrick Williams|
and their two sons
Democrat Sydney Batch got written up on WataugaWatch way back on January 2nd, when she was among the first wave of new Democrats announcing their plans to run in 2018. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, with both a master's degree in social work and a law degree. She and her husband J. Patrick Williams opened their own law firm in 2005. She has wide and intense experience in child welfare advocacy and family law. She says on her website, "I fight every day for families across Wake County who are worried about their future. Whether stressed about sending their kids to a good public school, paying back their student loans, or affording quality health care and finding a good, well-paying job, too many people feel the deck is stacked against them. Despite these struggles, I also get to see the many common values that bind us. People want affordable, accessible health care, quality and affordable education, safe air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a fair paycheck. Most of all, they want their children to live a more prosperous life than they have. I’m running because I want to make a difference for those people who feel stressed, and to work with them through our common shared values to make a better Wake county. There’s no doubt that the challenges facing us are great. However, so is our will. I humbly ask for your support.” Glad to see that Batch has been teaming up with the Sam Searcy campaign for direct voter contact in their overlapping districts.
Democrat Ray Russell is not your standard Democrat (non-standardization is the standard of 2018!). He used to be a Republican. He's also a preacher who attended a Bible college and has pastored several churches. But he's also a climate scientist with a deep reverence for scientific truth. He launched Ray's Weather, the on-line forecast site for the mountains of western North Carolina, in 2000, using his higher training as a computer scientist and a keen hobbyist's enthusiasm. He now employs four meteorologists and stretches his weather coverage from Asheville to Wytheville, Va. Russell announced his candidacy early in 2017 and went to work, and he's got solid campaign infrastructure: a manager and an army of volunteers and Facebook, Twitter, and website presence. He's raising money and sharpening a message and presents an energetic contrast to the lethargic Jordan: Russell, among other qualities, is a marathon runner. In 2016 he ran the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, 469 miles, to raise money for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
Democrat Joe Sam Queen is an architect in Waynesville. He provides color, and politically, he's got plenty of grit. His family speaks to his values: "My wife, Dr. Kate Queen, is a rheumatologist for Haywood Regional Medical Center. My daughter Sara is an outstanding young architect and professor at NCSU, as well as a new mom to my first grandson Cole. My son Charlie, a chemist, is the Lab Director for Panacea, a North Carolina start up company in the field of personalized medicine. Both are graduates of the University of North Carolina system. As a united Methodist, I've taught Sunday school for over 20 years, led Boy Scouts, and coached youth soccer. And, like my granddaddy before me, I call the Appalachian Square Dance." He's served in both NC House and Senate. He won the 47th Senate District in 2002, lost it in 2004, and came back and won it again in 2006 and kept it through the election of 2010. That's grit. After he lost the Senate seat, he ran and won the House seat in 2012 and kept it through reelection in 2014. He was a vocal leader in the call to expand Medicaid in North Carolina and raise teacher pay. He is strongly against fracking in North Carolina and has made strong public remarks against it.
Democrat Ron Wesson is impressively qualified to win the seat. He's been elected and then reelected as a Bertie County commissioner, and he's served as both the chair of the board of commissioners and currently as vice-chair. He was born and raised in Bertie County, and he's married to a psychiatrist in private practice, Dr. Patricia W. Wesson. Ron completed his undergraduate work at UNC-Chapel Hill and his graduate studies at The Sloan School of Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and then joined the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation where he served for more than 31 years, retiring as a senior vice-president and Global Leader. In 2004, Black Enterprise Magazine named Wesson one of the 50 most Influential Minorities in Business. Returning to Bertie County after retirement, he threw himself into community service, became chair of the Bertie County Chamber of Commerce, joined the Rotary Club, the Bertie County Community Foundation, and the Bertie County Schools Foundation. He moved into public service in 2012, running for and winning his seat on the county commission. He was actively recruited for this race by the Democratic House Caucus. He says on his website, "Any success that I have had in business and in life, can be directly traced to the investment that others have made in me. I have always been encouraged to look beyond one’s self and seek to support others in ways that I have been supported. My Mother once said to me…'Son, God has blessed you with enough sense to do pretty much anything you set your mind to do. You will find that there are a lot of much smarter people out there, but never let anyone out work you to achieve your goals.' I have endeavored to live by this advice, and if given the opportunity, I look forward to working hard for the citizens of North Carolina’s 1st House District."
Democrat Lowell Simon looks viable. He is a recently retired high school math teacher, a profession he came to late in his career after many years in business. First in New York state and then in North Carolina, he managed chains of convenience stores. He was vice president of operations for Quick Chek, a chain of about 30 convenience stores based in Troy, which brought him and his family to Seven Lakes to live. He later bought into Southern Pines based Fuel Mate, which had six BP stores. During his time teaching math at Union Pines High School, the superintendent tapped him to start an entrepreneurship program for students. "Simon has served on the boards of Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust. A political appointee of three different state House speakers from both parties, he has helped draft key legislation, including the formation of the NC Lottery .... He currently serves on the boards of Moore Regional Hospital and Moore Forward, and is president emeritus of the Sandhills Jewish Congregation" (ThePilot.com).
Democrat Cole Phelps is a young lawyer. How young? When he was elected to the county commission of Washington County at 24, he was the youngest member of any county commission in the state. He's serving his second term now at the age of 29. He was the first in his family to go to college, first to East Carolina for a degree in Family and Community Services and then to NC Central School of Law. He got a leg up to get that good education, and it says something about him that he immediately turned around and established a scholarship program for deserving first-generation, college-bound students in several east Carolina counties. From his very first campaign for county commission, he was pumping education and the need to keep kids in school and make college more possible. He's been named a William C. Friday Fellow. That's a prestigious group of 200 citizens deemed crucial leaders in their local communities. For the record (and this particular issue looks decisive on the coast), he's an outspoken opponent of Twitterman's scheme to drill for oil in North Carolina waters.
Democrat Helen Probst Mills has been on our radar since the second week of February. She's an attorney from Pinehurst and entered politics this year, she says, in part to simply provide an option. “The reality is that I walk in on Election Day to the polling booth here in Pinehurst and there are no Democrats for me to check. We need a choice,” Mills said. “There needs to be an opportunity for an individual to stand up and to make him crystalize his position on issues and policies and to defend the votes he has taken.” Mills says she grew up a daughter to a single mother and is herself the mother of three and a cancer survivor who moved to North Carolina with her husband, Stuart, in 2006. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois. Last year, Mills was appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper to the Sandhills Community College Board of Trustees. She also serves on the college’s Foundation Board, where she helped develop a program allowing high school graduates to attend for two years tuition-free. She serves as development chair for the Northern Moore Family Resource Center in Robbins, which has opened a preschool and is developing a community center. She credits the overcoming of breast cancer to having health insurance: “Everyone, no matter their background or how much money they make, should have access to affordable, quality health care. Yet too many politicians in Raleigh put petty partisan politics over policies that would help thousands. That is wrong for my community and for North Carolina.” (Republican incumbent McInnis opposed, like most other Republicans in Phil Berger's senate, the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.)
Democrat Julie von Haefen is president of the Wake County PTA Council and has three school-age children in the Wake County public schools. She scorched Dollar in her filing announcement for what his state budgets have done to public education: "From the expansion of school vouchers and charter schools to the failure to pay our teachers and principals what they deserve, Representative Dollar and his legislature have harmed our students and our schools. Most recently, their reckless and unfunded K-3 class size mandate caused unnecessary stress for school districts across the state. It is time to put our teachers and our children ahead of partisan politics. North Carolina's students deserve better than they are getting from our legislature. They deserve increased funding for school counselors and nurses. And they deserve a public school system with the funding and resources it needs to prepare them for the future. We owe it to our students, and to the economy, and to the state." Von Haefen is married to an NC State professor, and they have lived in Apex for the last 13 years. She trained as a lawyer and practiced law for 10 years.
Lisa Mathis was a "military kid" who says that repeatedly moving all over the country taught her "courage, adaptability, and a deep respect for the sacrifices of our service members and their families." She trained as an artist and graphic designer and opened a small graphic design business in Sanford, N.C. Deeply involved in community and profoundly appreciative of putting down deep roots in a single place, she started a second small business in 2003, ArtStudio in downtown Sanford, "a place for children and adults to explore their creativity." Especially children. She is a strong advocate for education spending and for expanding Medicaid. She talks on her website about helping working families and encouraging small businesses, especially in areas previously devastated by the Bush recession. She's got boots on the ground -- a good following of willing volunteers -- and a field organizer. Always a good sign.
Democrat Harper Peterson has been a leader in the reaction to the GenX pollution crisis and helped start the community watchdog group Clean Cape Fear. He's also a former mayor of Wilmington and city councilman. He announced that he was running for this seat back last September. He says, "Unfortunately, in recent years, the basic needs and guaranteed rights of North Carolinians have taken a backseat to the interests of politicians and their big donors. Specifically, they have spread distrust among North Carolinians while trading to their donors our excellent public schools, quality healthcare and natural resources for tax giveaways. The games at our expense have to stop. I now have the time and energy and the full support of my family and friends to serve and be a voice for common sense in our state legislature." Peterson is critical of current Republican legislative priorities: "Too many of our representatives ignored the governor’s request for $2.6 million in emergency funds for the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health and Human Services to vigorously address GenX and other cancer-causing compounds that have been dumped into our river. Additionally, tax giveaways to corporate interests have been paid for through slashed budgets and staffing for the state agencies who could have been proactive in defending us from this poison in our water." He also wants to bring back the film industry, which the General Assembly essentially ran out of North Carolina in one of its budget bills.
Democrat Natasha Marcus has been on my radar since early in February. She made an unsuccessful bid for the state House in her Cornelius neighborhood in 2014, when Republican John Bradford III defeated her 55 to 45 percent. “The policies that touch our lives most closely often come from the state level,” Marcus told WUNC. “Federal politics is important, but what happens at the General Assembly in Raleigh – from public school funding, to healthcare, to whether we’re going to have to pay tolls here in the North Mecklenburg area is also important." According to Ballotpedia, Marcus earned her B.A. in public policy from Hamilton College and her J.D. from Duke University School of Law in 1994. Her professional experience includes working as a lawyer for Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard; as Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Frank W. Bullock, Jr. of the U.S. District Court in Greensboro; and as a founding member of DavidsonLearns, a non-profit providing senior citizen learning and enrichment. Marcus intends a fight for the seat: “Cuts to public pre-K through higher education, unconstitutional laws, politicians who put polluters over our clean air and water, policies that make healthcare more expensive and less accessible, and expensive toll lanes on I-77 have taken us backwards. Like many people in our community, I am fed up with being ignored by Raleigh Republicans and am ready to take a stand.”