Election 2014

Social Media Changing Campaign Process for Political Candidates

RALEIGH — When it comes to elections, voters have started to accept that outside groups are spending just as much money as campaigns to get their candidates elected. Under law, though, there can be no coordination between the candidates and the super PACs or non-profits. But in the age of social media, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t know what the other is doing.

“Here are our concerns. Here’s what the poll numbers look like,” said Robert Orr, a former NC Supreme Court Justice. “Here’s what we need. You don’t overtly contact them and coordinate it, but there are a lot of really smart people. They are figuring it out to get an edge in the campaign.”

From Twitter to YouTube, to other social media sites, campaigns can reach out to supporters with the assumption the independent spenders are listening.

But according to a report by CNN, social media may have played a bigger role in the last election cycle, with dummy Twitter accounts being set up to share expensive poll results between super PACs and campaigns.

“The ability to communicate in a way that sends the message but doesn’t violate the law about the separateness between the campaign and the independent expenditure is ruling pushing the envelope,” said Orr. “But it just goes to the real problem created by the independent expenditure concept.”

At UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, assistant professor Daniel Kreiss says he is studying the constantly growing and changing force of social media, especially in the political arena.

“Social media has really become the way in which people consume political content,” said Kreiss. “Talk about political affairs, debate and discuss political issues.”

While legal experts may wrangle with whether or not it is fair to use social media to share campaign information, media people say there is also a gray area as to whether or not information shared there is public or private.

“So it’s not public in the sense in being in the town square, right,” said Kreiss. “But it is public in the sense of being something that has many layers of users shaping what they are going to make public and private to whom as much as they can.”

– Loretta Boniti

Capital Tonight Nov. 6: Larry & Dan on midterm elections

On Capital Tonight: Larry Shaheen and Dan McCorkle face the music on their midterm election predictions, and two Campbell Law students talk about their experiences on the campaign trail. Watch the program here.

Talk of 2016 Race Begins Just Days After Election

RALEIGH — The polls may have just closed on 2014, but that opens the door for talk of 2016. That is especially true in a state like North Carolina, which has proven it’s a divided state.

“It was close in 2008 for the presidential race,” said Kenneth Fernandez with Elon University. “It was pretty close, Romney won by less than three points in 2012. And we saw a two point margin with Tillis and Hagan.”

Elon University Poll asked an open ended question to survey folks across the state for what they were thinking for the big race in 2016, the race for the White House.

No surprise, Democrats overwhelmingly are awaiting Hillary Clinton officially throwing her hat in the ring. Independents also say they want to see Hillary, or maybe Rand Paul.

Republicans are going with an old standby: Mitt Romney. But closer to home, another race is brewing, and has been for quite a while.

“I think there has been a pretty strong campaign against me since the day I was sworn in as the 74th governor of North Carolina,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.

Ads against McCrory have been on the airwaves for a while. But make no mistake, there are ads on the other side as well.

With Attorney General Roy Cooper all but announcing his intention to run against McCrory in 2016, he sounded very much like a candidate the day after the 2014 election, posting on his Facebook page:

“The results at the polls yesterday have strengthened my resolve to make big changes in Raleigh. I am so determined to take on the challenges ahead and make sure North Carolina is a place that values a quality education, clean water and air, and good-paying jobs.”

For his part, the current governor says he can’t say for certain he’ll run again, but it is likely.

“In reality, I’ve got to start thinking about the election. It’s two years from now. I’m not even halfway through my term in office and for the last year people have been talking about my re-election,” said McCrory.

To add to the mix, 2016 is also the next time North Carolina voters will consider U.S. Senate candidates, and it will be the first time voter ID is mandated at the polls.

And with fatigue from 2014 still present, voters won’t get much of a break before 2016 campaigning begins.

– Loretta Boniti

Clay Aiken to Appear in TV Reality Series

LOS ANGELES — Clay Aiken may not have made it to Congress, but he’s still going to be on TV, in his own reality series.

The LA Times reports Esquire Network picked up a four episode series about Aiken’s congressional bid.

British documentary filmmaker Simon Chinn, best known for movies like “Man on Wire,” and “Searching for Sugarman,” followed Aiken for months.

Esquire says the series will show the hope of victory and the disappointment of defeat. It’s set to air early next year.

Wake Voters Fire Republicans, Give Board of Commissioners to Democrats

RALEIGH — Tuesday’s election means a big change on the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

All four sitting Republican Commissioners lost their bids for re-election, which swings the control of power from a narrow 4-3 Republican majority to an all Democratic board.

“Now we’re beginning to have conversations about what the future of Wake County will look like,” said Democrat Sig Hutchinson, who unseated Board Vice-Chair Joe Bryan in District 1. “What the voters said was they’re tired of the partisanship and the bickering and they’re ready to move Wake County forward.”

Commissioners and political analysts say the sweeping change will also mean big changes in how the Board of Commissioners interacts with the Wake School Board, which has been a strained and contentious relationship in recent years.

“[The four of the newly elected commissioners have] all campaigned about adding to the [WCPSS] teacher supplement, and they’ve got more detailed plans about how they’re going to do it,” said Meredith College Political Science Professor David McLennan. “Republicans want to help teachers, but Democrats said we’re going to do it and perhaps, even consider raising taxes.”

McLennan said there will also likely be a change with the new board in how commissioners interact with each other.

“Those things matter in politics, how a group of people get along, how they talk about issues and policies,” he said.

The newly elected commissioners say they also plan to move quickly to adopt and implement a mass transit plan for Wake County, something the sitting board has stalled for years.

“The citizens need to be thinking about increasing transit as bus first, and then beyond that, we will consider rail options in addition to that,” Hutchinson said.

Two-term Republican Commissioner Paul Coble declined Time Warner Cable News’ request for an on-camera interview Wednesday, but he told Time Warner Cable News by phone the voters have spoken and he hopes the new board will move forward in a positive way.

The four newly elected commissioners will be sworn into office Dec. 1.

– Heather Moore

Senator-Elect Tillis Speaks About Plans for Washington

CHARLOTTE – Senator-elect Thom Tillis spoke Wednesday about what he plans to do now that he’s won a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Tillis defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan after a hard-fought and expensive campaign.

Tillis says he plans to take the policies he helped put in place in North Carolina with him to Washington.

“I think the longer our regulatory reform and tax policies are in place, the more and more opportunities were going to see in North Carolina. I think we need to do the same kinds of things at the federal level and I, for one, think we should start by finding bipartisan opportunities to move forward on the congressional agenda,” he said.

“I hope that the president will be willing to come to the table with the House and Senate members and he can leave a legacy of bipartisanship. It hasn’t been that way for the past couple years and I would like this Congress to establish a reputation for governing, and in order to govern you’re going to have to work across the aisles,” Tillis added.

Tillis says he plans to get started with assigning a cabinet and getting acclimated to his new position within the coming week.

– Loretta Boniti

Thom Tillis Declared Winner; Republicans Cinch Control of US Senate

Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis has defeated Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan after a lengthy, expensive race in North Carolina.

Republicans have now seized control of the Senate for the first time in eight years.

Tillis’ win gives the Republicans the six seats they need for a majority in the Senate that takes office in January.

Tillis’ political career began in 2003 when he was elected to the Town of Cornelius Board of Commissioners, and served a two year term. In 2006 Tillis was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives, and was elected Republican House Whip in his sophomore year.

The former IBM consultant and onetime architect of the GOP takeover of North Carolina state government defeated Hagan by a vote of 49 percent to 47 percent, with nearly all the votes counted.

Tillis won the race following a bruising campaign in which the candidates and outside groups spent more than $100 million, making it the most expensive Senate race.

Tillis ran on a platform that highlighted the Republican record of legislative accomplishments that included lower taxes and regulations. He and his allies also blasted Hagan for being too closely aligned with President Barack Obama. 


Rep. Ellmers Re-Elected, Defeating Clay Aiken

RALEIGH (AP) — U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers has won re-election to a third term representing North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District.

The incumbent Republican from Dunn defeated her Democratic opponent, singer and former reality-show star Clay Aiken of Cary. According to returns tabulated by The Associated Press, Ellmers was leading Aiken with more than 56 percent of the vote.

Ellmers serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and as chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee.

The 2nd District stretches from Asheboro east to Cary, including parts of Apex, Fayetteville and Sanford.

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

Alma Adams Elected to Represent District 12

GREENSBORO — Democrat Alma Adams defeated Republican Vince Coakley in the race for the North Carolina District 12 seat in the U.S. House. The seat had been held by Mel Watt since the district was created in 1993.

Adams has had a long political career, serving in the state House for 20 years.

Coakley, most known for being a news anchor in Charlotte, knew he faced an uphill climb as the district is more than 60 percent Democrat.


Rouzer Takes 7th Congressional District

JOHNSTON COUNTY — Republican developer David Rouzer has won the 7th Congressional District.

Rouzer was up against Democratic broker and New Hanover Co. commissioner Jonathan Barfield and Libertarian Attorney J. Wesley Casteen.

Former 7th District Congressional Democrat Mike McIntyre is retiring.

Rouzer ran for this seat last year and barely lost to McIntyre. It was the closest race in the country.

Rouzer supporters gathered at Gregory Vineyards in Johnston County.

Rouzer, who grew up in Durham, spent many summers working on a family farm in Johnston County. He says in Congress he wants to champion small businesses. He says this is the only way to bring down the national debt.

Rouzer formerly worked for former U.S. Senators Elizabeth Dole and Jesse Helms. He served two terms in the state Senate.