WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Chapel Hill Friday to help raise campaign money for State Senator Kay Hagan.
The White House made the announcement on Tuesday.
Hagan seeks re-election next year. Vice President Biden had planned a trip to Durham last month, but that trip was cancelled due to the partial government shutdown.http://chapelboro.com/news/national/vp-biden-to-visit-chapel-hill-for-hagan-campaign/
CHAPEL HILL - Shortly after Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was easily re-elected to his third term last Tuesday, he received a surprise phone call of congratulations from the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden.
“I just picked it up and said hello, and I was greeted with a ‘Hello, this is Joe Biden,” said Kleinschmidt, a Democrat.
After leaving an election party, he received a call from an unknown number and thankfully answered it rather than letting it go to voice mail.
“I’ve participated in several campaigns over the years and never received a call like that one,” Kleinschmidt said.
Biden, considered likely to run in the 2016 presidential election, made several calls that evening to Democratic municipal election winners in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucus, and the battleground states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to USA Today.
“We have a particularly well-tuned-in White House that understands that change is made by fostering and nurturing connections between all levels of government,” Kleinschmidt said.
The Vice President has pledged support for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as she seeks a second six-year term in 2014. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is one of several Republicans running for their party’s nomination to challenge her.
Kleinshmidt is among those who support Hagan.
“I told him [Biden] how excited I was to participate in the next election here in North Carolina next year and [for me to help] Senator Hagan get re-elected. He was glad to hear that.”
Republicans hold a super majority in the North Carolina House, Senate and Governor’s Mansion. Many local elected officials here in Orange County have voiced their opposition to legislation enacted by the General Assembly this past legislative term. Kleinschmidt said Biden offered praise for the progressivism that’s come to be attributed to this community.
“He responded by thanking [us] for the work we have been doing and acknowledging that places like Chapel Hill are where progress is being made in our country, and he was grateful that we were continuing to be committed to it.”
As far as offering endorsements for potential presidential nominees in the 2016 election, Kleinschmidt said he was inclined to support Hillary Clinton, though he said it was still early in the process.http://chapelboro.com/news/national/vice-president-joe-biden-calls-chapel-hill-mayor/
RALEIGH – Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina later this month in part to raise money for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election bid.
A Hagan spokeswoman confirmed Monday that Biden was scheduled to speak Oct. 21 at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham. Tickets range from $500 to $10,000. Proceeds go to a committee for Hagan, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and state Democratic Party. The News & Observer of Raleigh first reported Biden’s appearance.
Hagan is seeking a second six-year term in 2014. At least four Republicans are running for their party’s nomination to challenge her, including state House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Tillis is getting fundraising help from Karl Rove, the one-time strategist for President George W. Bush. He’ll be appearing at Tillis events next month.http://chapelboro.com/news/election/hagan-to-get-help-from-vp-joe-biden-in-nc/
WASHINGTON - Two and a half days have passed since non-essential government employees were told to stay home as congress can’t agree on a budget, and there are reportedly no signs of reaching an agreement any time soon.
WCHL’s Ron Stutts spoke with U.S. Senator Kay Hagan about the shutdown and the current mood in Washington.
***Listen To The Interview***http://chapelboro.com/news/national/sen-hagan-very-frustrated-with-govt-shutdown/
Pictured: Aleppo, Syria; courtesy AP Photo/Narciso Contreras
CARRBORO - Led by Mayor Mark Chilton, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen approved a letter to Congress taking a stance against U.S. military action in Syria.
Chilton explained that the letter will be directed to North Carolina’s federal elected officials, including Congressman David Price (D-NC 4th District), as well as President Barack Obama.
Price said over the weekend that a “targeted, limited response” was merited, but he was not advocating entering into a war. Senator Kay Hagan said that the U.S. should find ways to prevent “atrocities” from happening again without putting Americans into ground combat.
“Different people on the Board have perhaps slightly different views on the situation in Syria and how to respond, but I think all of us are feeling that missile strikes or bombings would definitely be premature and not a good way to respond to this situation,” Chilton said.
The motion was proposed by Alderman Sammy Slade at Tuesday’s board meeting. Similar resolutions have been made by the Board of Alderman before, including a letter petitioning the U.S. entry into the Iraq War and another calling for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
On Saturday, about a dozen protesters gathered at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, calling for the U.S. to avoid military action against Syria.
A Senate panel voted Wednesday to give Obama the authority to use military force against Syria in response to apparent use of chemical weapons. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.
The resolution would permit Obama to order a limited, 90 day maximum military mission against Syria, prohibiting the use of American troops on the ground for combat operations.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/carrboro-aldermen-to-write-letter-petitioning-us-action-in-syria/
RALEIGH – After a month of national attention on your state, Public Policy Polling released a new poll showing Governor Pat McCrory’s approval rating among voters and the numbers are not favorable.
Fifty-one percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the job Gov. McCrory is doing, with 39 percent approving. In addition, 52 percent of respondents oppose the state’s recent budget, with 33 percent supporting its passage.
PPP director, Tom Jensen, says he believes the disapproval for the governor is coming more from a growing, general disdain than for anything specific like the budget.
“Probably less than the specifics of the budget, what these numbers reflect is that voters are just generally in a bad mood,” Jensen says.
Fifty percent of voters in the PPP poll say they believe that Gov. McCrory broke his promise to not sign any new abortion legislation and 57 percent also said the governor’s move to give cookies to pro-choice protesters who showed up at his home was inappropriate.
Jensen says that North Carolinians are reacting negatively to the passage of the abortion bill, but not necessarily because of objections to the bill’s contents.
“Voters are not, I think, necessarily reacting negatively so much to the actual content of the legislation. It’s really just not liking the process,” Jensen says.
PPP’s poll also found that the Moral Monday protests have a favorable opinion among voters, with 49 percent approving and 35 percent disapproving. Jensen says that the protesters were polling negatively when the rallies started, but the General Assembly’s bad image has pushed them forward.
“I think that’s just a reflection of the fact that voters are so unhappy with the General Assembly that they’re glad that somebody is going out there and speaking out against them and standing up to them,” Jensen says.
The General Assembly’s approval ratings continue to be low in the poll, as PPP found that 50 percent of respondents say they would vote Democratic if there was an election for the legislature now.
With both of the potential Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in the state, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger, coming from the legislature, Jensen says this could benefit incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, who has a 49-percent approval rating and a 48-percent disapproval rating.
“If I was the GOP, I’d be thinking about maybe trying to find a different candidate who’s not such an establishment politician,” Jensen says.
In PPP surveys this week, Hagan beats both Tillis and Berger by eight points.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/ppp-finds-mccrory-hagans-approval-ratings/
RALEIGH – As our state becomes the 34th state in the union to require I.D. for be able to vote, Public Policy Polling found that the new law is unpopular among voters.
According to the poll, 39 percent of North Carolinians support the voting reform bill signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory on Monday while 59 percent oppose.
Tom Jensen, director of PPP, says that voter I.D. requirements themselves are actually popular in North Carolina, but the bill became unpopular as other provisions were added, such as an end to straight ticket voting and shortening the early voting period from 17 to 10 days.
“We found that only 33 percent of voters in the state thought that it was a good idea to cut the early voting period by a week,” Jensen says. “59 percent were opposed to that.”
Tracy Reams, Orange County Board of Elections director, says that early voting is used by voters in the county in the 2012 November election.
“We had a total of 50,233 ballots that were cast during the early voting period,” Reams says.
In a January 2011 poll by PPP, Jensen says 66 percent of North Carolinians supported just the idea of requiring voters to show I.D.
“This is one of the few things that the Republicans wanted to do that really was popular,” Jensen says. “They managed to make it unpopular by adding all of this extra stuff.”
The elimination of straight-ticket voting in the voting reform bill was also unpopular with voters. Disapproval ran among both parties, with 68 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats opposing the move.
Jensen says that Republicans in the General Assembly got rid off straight-ticket voting because Democrats are more likely to use it.
“I think the Republicans think that if they get rid of that, they’ll have a better chance of winning some of those down-ballot offices like insurance commissioner, secretary of state, those kinds of things,” Jensen says.
Jensen says the move to pass a bill with added unpopular provisions is something the Republican General Assembly has been doing since Gov. McCrory’s election.
“I think it’s a situation where Republicans really felt like, ‘we have this super majority in both the House and Senate, we have a Republican governor. We can really do pretty much whatever we want without having to worry about how popular it is,’” Jensen says.
Among the other items in the new voting reform law is that voters who show up at the wrong precinct are no longer given a provisional ballot so they can vote properly even at that location.
Reams says this was also utilized in the previous election.
“For the November general election in 2012, we had 34 provisional ballots that were cast due to voting out of precinct,” Reams says.
The law also prevents precincts from extending the time that they are open on Election Day, due to long lines or other errors. Reams says no precincts in Orange County extended their hours in the 2012 election.
Senator Kay Hagan sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday asking him to review the voting reform law.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/new-vote-reform-law-unpopular-in-nc/
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Republican leader of the North Carolina state Senate says he should make a decision by the end of July about whether to enter the race to try to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan.
Senator Phil Berger told reporters Tuesday about his potential timetable. The Eden attorney has been weighing a bid for several months. His counterpart in the House – Speaker Thom Tillis – already announced in May he would seek the Republican primary nomination.
Berger confirmed he spoke Tuesday morning with representatives of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which recruits candidates and usually gives financial support to primary victors.
Physician Greg Brannon of Cary is running in the GOP primary. The Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte is considering getting in as well.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/berger-still-not-ready-to-decide-on-us-senate-bid/
RALEIGH - Public Policy Polling(PPP) released their latest poll on the North Carolina Senate race this week, and for the third time in as many months found a different Republican front-runner to challenge Kay Hagan this fall.
“The top choice among Republicans to be their U.S Senate candidate next year would be Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest,” says PPP director Tom Jensen. “We find him polling at 18%, 13% for Congresswomen Virginia Foxx, 12% for Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, and 10% for Congresswomen Renee Ellmers. Everybody else who we tested drew single-digits.”
The poll also shows the probable Republican candidates are struggling with name recognition. Only Forest and Berry were recognized by over half of respondents.
Jensen says the lack of name recognition is leading to a wide-open race.
“In January, Virginia Foxx had the lead and last month Cherrie Berry had the lead,” says Jensen. “I think when you see a different leader every month like that, it just shows how really wide open the Republican Senate race is. None of the folks are particularly well-known at that point, and that means it is really up for grabs. Just about anyone could win the nomination.”
“She has leads ranging from 10 to 19 points against these Republicans,” says Jensen. “I think that Hagan is in a pretty decent position, but it is still going to get closer. We see a lot of undecided Republicans in all of these matchups simply because Republican voters are not familiar with their potential candidates”
According to Jensen, Dan Forest and Patrick McHenry poll the best in direct competition with Hagan.
Because of the lack of recognition of Republican candidates, Jensen says Hagan’s approval numbers may be a better indicator of how close the race could be this fall.
How are the North Carolina Democratic Party and the National Republican Party alike?
That is easy. Both lost elections this fall and do not know what to do about it.
It is particularly humiliating for North Carolina Democrats. They have to face a legislature totally dominated by Republicans, who have gerrymandered so effectively that it is hard to see how Democrats could regain control in the foreseeable future.
Thus, they are scratching their heads when they hear and read about how the Republicans lost their way and the Democrats won a great victory in November. Or, when they hear that North Carolina demographic trends favor Democrats in the long term.
So, what should the North Carolina Democrats do now?
One party activist told me they should follow the example of national Republicans and “and get some new leadership at the state and district level willing to critically evaluate our mistakes.”
He read that the Republican National Committee has a plan to review the 2012 elections to determine what worked and what did not. Their Growth and Opportunity project will address issues like “campaign mechanics and ground game, messaging, fundraising, demographic partners and allies, third-party groups, campaign finance issues, presidential primaries, lessons learned from Democratic campaign tactics.”
Assuming North Carolina Democrats are willing to follow the lead of the national Republicans, what should they be doing? Before they can follow anybody’s lead, they have to find a leader or a leadership group.
For the first time in 20 years, the Democrats do not have a governor who could claim responsibility to recruit party leadership. Nor are there senior legislative leaders up to the task.
That leaves statewide elected political leaders such as Council of State members Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Attorney General Roy Cooper, Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin, Treasurer Janet Cowell, Auditor Beth Wood, and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson. None of them, of course, has the clout of a governor. But all have statewide contacts and supporters. Marshall and Cooper have high-profile positions and have earned widespread respect. Goodwin and Cowell have built good networks and are potential candidates for higher office.
Any of them who garnered enthusiastic support from the others would be a good candidate to take the lead in rebuilding the party.
The other major statewide elected official is U.S. Senator Kay Hagan. In recent years, North Carolina Democratic senators have not been active in state and local party matters. They have built their own organizations and fundraising efforts.
Hagan, too, has her own support group, and she is a successful fundraiser. Arguably, she should stay out of state party politics. But she has more to gain than any other statewide elected official from a strong active party. She is up for reelection in 2014 and her prospects would be improved by an enthusiastic, well-organized, and unified party.
Once Hagan or some other individual or small group takes responsibility, the first task will be to recruit and persuade the party organization to select a party chair and executive director who will bring unity and energy to the task. For an example, they could look back to the 1980s, which were also challenging times for North Carolina Democrats. People like current Congressman David Price, popular Raleigh lawyer Wade Smith, and current public relations executive Ken Eudy were recruited to party leadership positions where they helped strengthen the organization and prepared it for a string of successes.
For today’s North Carolina Democrats, time is wasting. The 2014 campaign begins in just a few days.
D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Fridays at 9:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage. A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.
This week’s (December 28, 30) guest is Kevin Duffus author of “War Zone—World War II off the North Carolina Coast.” Bookwatch Classics (programs from earlier years) airs Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). Wednesday’s (January 2) past guest program features Lee Smith author of “The Last Girls.”
For a North Carolinian who is interested in World War II, here is a perfect suggestion: “War Zone—World War II off the North Carolina Coast.” Author Kevin Duffus reviews the first seven months of the war when German U-boats destroyed U.S. ships off the North Carolina coast at will. He also tells some of the human interest stories that accompanied military action in the North Carolina zone of that war. (Dec. 28, 30)