Sen. Phil Berger Subject of NC Elections Complaint

RALEIGH—North Carolina NAACP leaders are accusing Senate leader Phil Berger of unlawfully misleading potential voters watching his television ad that highlights his role passing a photo identification requirement to vote in person.

NAACP state president the Rev. William Barber and group attorneys filed a complaint Tuesday with the State Board of Elections asking it to investigate and that Berger be prosecuted.

The narrator in the commercial running on Triad television stations says that:

“Now, thanks to Phil Berger, voters must show a photo ID to vote.”

The legislature approved the law in 2013, but the NAACP points out the requirement doesn’t begin until 2016. Barber says viewers without ID may be discouraged to exercise their right to vote this November.

Berger’s campaign hadn’t commented on the complaint by Tuesday afternoon.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


NC Conservative Group Wants Death Penalty Reviewed

RALEIGH—A conservative group is calling on state lawmakers to take another look at the death penalty.

The group NC Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty said the General Assembly should re-evaluate capital punishment in light of some recently vacated murder cases.

Two weeks ago, two half brothers were released after new d-n-a evidence cleared them of a murder. One was the longest serving death row inmate in the state.

Last year, Republicans in the legislature passed a law designed to resume executions after years of delays.

Chris Christie Visits Wilmington for Tillis Campaign Event

WILMINGTON—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was in Wilmington Tuesday, campaigning for U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis.

Tillis is running against Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan in November for the U.S. Senate.

Christie, who is the chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, accompanied Tillis to the Port City for a rally. The support comes as several recent polls showed Kay Hagan pulling ahead.

While there, Christie also attended a private campaign event for Tillis before heading to South Carolina to campaign for Gov. Nikki Haley.

“Let me tell you there is one simple reason why I am here. America cannot move in the direction that we have to move, unless we elect Thom Tillis to the United States Senate in 49 days. You are the people who can get it done and I wanted to come down here and let you all know,” said Christie.

Christie also took time to criticize Hagan’s close alignment with President Obama. Tillis also criticized the President’s stance on the terrorist threat of ISIS and what he called Hagan’s inaction on the issue.

- Amara Omeokwe

Sen. Burr Planning for Re-Election Bid in 2016

Sen. Richard Burr

RALEIGH—North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr says he’s expecting to run for a third U.S. Senate term in 2016.

The office of the Winston-Salem Republican essentially confirmed Tuesday the comments he made to a Washington-based political publication that he would seek re-election.

Burr rejected speculation he would leave when his six-year term ended and told National Journal he was planning on running.

Burr spokeswoman Rachel Hicks says the senator’s words to the publication speak for themselves but that he’s focused now on regaining a GOP majority in the Senate this year.

The 58-year-old Burr was first elected to the U.S. House in 1994 and served ten years there before winning the Senate seat vacated by the departing John Edwards in 2004. He defeated Elaine Marshall in 2010 for a second term.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Political Observers: Women a Key Demographic in US Senate Race

RALEIGH — When it comes to winning one key demographic in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, political observers say women are essential.

“You start to see in the recent decades that women are turning out at higher rates than men,” said Kenneth Fernandez with Elon University. “So they are a larger portion of the electorate.”

According to the poll released Monday by Elon University, Kay Hagan is currently doing a better job attracting women voters than Thom Tillis. This poll suggests 52 percent of women say they plan to vote for Hagan and 33 percent for Tillis.

“I think he may close that a little bit, but I think Kay Hagan has that in her favor and will continue by at least a few percentage points,” said Dr. Susan Roberts with Davidson College.

Roberts points out that winning women is a challenge today, though. She says women’s issues today don’t necessarily focus on feminist issues like they used to.

“I don’t think the feminism as many people understand it, the Gloria Steinen, and let’s break the glass ceiling, that’s not there as much today as it is the pay equity, the healthcare and some issues on unemployment,” said Roberts.

“A Republican Senate candidate is not going to win among women voters,” said Stephen Greene of NC State University. “It’s how badly are you going to lose among women voters?”

Greene says while women’s issues can’t be pigeon-holed, the issues coming to the forefront this campaign season are not typical.

“This is a really unusual Senate race,” said Greene. “Senate races are usually focused on education, apart from a dozen years ago when we had No Child Left Behind, is very much a state level issue.”

Observers say these candidates will likely use the final weeks of this election to try to win over some more women voters.

Time Warner Cable News is hosting a U.S. Senate debate on Oct. 21. It will air at 7 p.m. on Capital Tonight.

- See more at:–women-a-key-demographic-in-us-senate-race/#sthash.nTdvEzl1.dpuf

US Wealth Gap Putting the Squeeze on State Revenue

WASHINGTON—Experts say income inequality has now spread beyond a social issue, it’s putting a squeeze on state revenue.

A report released Monday by ‘Standard And Poor’s’ finds that a slowdown in state revenue is connected to the widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.

It shows income has barely kept pace with inflation for most, meaning less income tax revenue. The wealthy have seen an increase in earnings, but can shield more of their income from taxes.

The dilemma facing most states is whether to raises taxes or cut spending.

Kay Hagan Leads Tillis in New Polls Released Monday

November’s election is inching closer, and the race for U.S. Senate is heating up.

Elon University and American Insights released new polls Monday, showing how voters are leaning right now.

Elon Poll Results:

• Sen. Kay Hagan: 42.7%
• Rep. Thom Tillis: 36.8%
• Someone Else: 10.7%
• Undecided: 9.1%


American Insights Poll Results:

• Sen. Kay Hagan: 43%
• Rep. Thom Tillis: 34%
• Sean Haugh: 5%

Read the Elon poll results here and read the American Insights poll results here.

McCrory Will Not Call General Assembly Back for Special Session

RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory will not call the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session, he announced in a video released Friday.

In McCrory’s video, he said he will only call the legislature back if there is a major economic development project in the works.

“It would counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted,” McCrory said. “And after a lengthy session, they need a break, and, frankly, I need a break from them.”

There was speculation the governor might do so to reauthorize economic development funds set to expire this year. The state house and senate did not reach an agreement on renewing the funds before ending the session in August.

McCrory also said he will bring back several issues to the General Assembly when it reconvenes in January. Among them is his career plan for teachers, a new program for preserving historic buildings and tougher regulations on puppy mills.

Capital Tonight Sept. 12: Bow Tie Caucus

On Capital Tonight: What happens when politicians go wild and get caught in sticky situations while in office? The Bow Tie Caucus convenes to sort that out and more. Profs. Michael Bitzer and Scott Huffmon join us from Charlotte. Watch the program here.

Union Members Protest Outside Durham VA

DURHAM– A national union wants to oust a top VA official.

The American Federation of Government Employees held a protest outside the Veterans Affairs Mid-Atlantic Regional office in Durham on Friday. They want network director, Dan Hoffman, gone.

Union members blame him for many of the problems in the VA system. His office oversees VA hospitals in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Hospitals have come under fire for lack of patient care. A national audit showed the Durham VA had one of the longest wait times for patients. Hospital officials dispute that.

AFGE members say part of the problem is that Hoffman hasn’t hired more doctors and nurses. They say he continues to downgrade and cut the pay of low-salaried employees.

“If you’re taken down a grade, you’re going to end up making less money. You’re going to have a lower-career ladder and pensions,” said member Mike Rosenblatt.

“That’s a shame, shame, an absolute shame on Dan Hoffman,” said AFGE President J. David Cox.

Many say employees have left which affects patient care.

“We don’t have enough, and we need enough employees. We need to hire, hire, hire,” said Arleatha White, who works as a nursing assistant at the Durham VA.

Hoffman has yet to respond to any of the media’s request for an interview.

“And we want strong management that’s going to work well with us to make sure that we’re providing the best healthcare to veterans as possible,” said Rosenblatt.

- Chris Williams