Election 2016

Deborah Ross Adds Name to US Senate Candidate List

Deborah_RossRALEIGH—A former state legislator is hoping to unseat Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

Deborah Ross announced that she is running for the Democratic nomination in a video shortly after Tuesday night’s Democractic presidential debate.

Ross served in the house for 10 years before leaving in 2013 to become a transit authority attorney. Spring Lake mayor Chris Rey and state senator Joel Ford of Charlotte have also decided to or are considering entering the race.

Cooper Relatively Unknown in Race for Governor

roy_cooper_announceRALEIGH—North Carolina is set to have many tough political battles next fall, including the governor’s race.

For nearly 15 years, Roy Cooper has served as the state’s attorney general. However,  Cooper is still coming into the race as a relative unknown for many people in North Carolina. It was no surprise when Roy Cooper announced his intention to run for governor in 2016. It is a move he has been alluding to some time now.

“One thing that sort of ended up hurting Roy Cooper a little bit is that in 2012 he was completely unopposed, didn’t have to run a campaign. So what that means at this point is that he has not run statewide in seven years and voters are going to forget about you in seven years if you are not always in the headlines,” said Tom Jensen, with Public Policy Polling.

Left-leaning Public Policy Polling has been looking at the matchup of incumbent governor Pat McCrory against Cooper for months. It is always a close race, most recently showing McCrory with a slight edge over Cooper.

It also showed that when asked about Cooper’s favorability: 49 percent of those polled, had no opinion. Jensen said one reason behind this could be the number of new voters that have moved into the state.

“There is not going to be a lot of time for Roy to introducing himself in an abstract way,” said Mac McCorkle, with Duke University.

McCorkle said for Cooper to take on McCrory, he will have to spend little time re-introducing himself to the state, and instead immediately take on the incumbent.

“He is going to brand his identity in a comparative sense, that he is not the incumbent and he does not have the incumbents problems,” said McCorkle.

Cooper has already done quite well fundraising, as has McCroy with over a year until election day, observers say the campaigning for this race is expected to be intense to the very end.

Both McCrory and Cooper had more than $2 million cash on hand as of July, prior to either one of them officially announcing their run in 2016. Analysts say they also expect a lot of outside interest group money to be spent on this race in addition to what the candidates raise themselves.

– Loretta Boniti

NC May Have Single March Primary for All Races

Early_votingRALEIGH—North Carolina legislators are considering whether to move all primary elections next year to March instead of just the presidential primaries.

This is two months earlier than they are currently scheduled for, but would allow voters to avoid heading to the polls twice in this presidential election year.

Republican leaders decided in 2013 to move up the presidential primary so state voters could have more influence on choosing nominees. Separate elections also would cost several million dollars more to operate.

The state house voted Wednesday to not accept a bill that would move the state’s presidential primary to March 15. However leaders say that’s not because they don’t want the move to happen, but because they might want to move *all* primaries to that date.

“There was quite a bit of encouragement to move all the primaries when we made the change two years ago as a cost saving measure. We did not act on it at that time. We are going to explore that as one of the considerations this time,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican.

The Senate has said they will talk about the issue but are not ready to say the move should happen.

There is also a cost issue associated with the way the primaries are currently constructed—that would be one for the presidential races… and one for the rest of the races.

State election officials say that carries a several million dollar price tag.

If the primaries are on the same date, it could be more costly for down ticket candidates who are fighting for airtime against what is expected to be a tough presidential primary.

“The argument that the airtime will be expensive because of the availability is frankly legitimate and frankly one of the reasons this change was made two years ago to make two separate primaries. I don’t think that concern has gone away, it is just we want to take one more look at the balancing act between the cost to hold separate primaries and the accessibility if you will for the lower ballot races to heard,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican.

North Carolina lawmakers moved the presidential primary two years ago, in an effort to make the state more relevant in the primary process.

But national party leaders said they went too far, and needed to back up the date to March. The deadline for that move is looming and must be official by Oct. 1.

Lawmakers say they hope to resolve this latest voting question by then.

If North Carolina does not move its presidential primary it would go from being one of the most influential states in the Republican nominating process to one of the least important, because of sanctions it would face from national party leaders.

– Loretta Boniti

Jeb Bush Continues South Carolina Campaign Swing in Rock Hill

jeb_bush_to_ncROCK HILL, S.C. — Still months away from the primaries, Presidential candidate and Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush has been making his way through South Carolina this week.

Tuesday morning he made a stop in Rock Hill to speak about national security to more than 200 voters about his plans if he were to take office.

“We need to have the courage to recognize we have to preserve and protect our entitlement programs that are really important for a lot of people we also have to reform it for the next generation,” said Governor Bush.

According to the latest CNN poll Governor Bush is in second place following Donald Trump by eleven points. Bush is expected in New Hampshire and Ohio later this week.

– Jordan Harpstrite

McCrory Behind Cooper in 2015 Fundraising for NC Governor

mccrory_28_jpgRALEIGH—Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper has outpaced incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in fundraising this year as the two gear up for the 2016 North Carolina gubernatorial race.

According to campaign finance reports released Friday, Cooper raised more than $2 million in the first six months of 2015, and had more than $3 million in cash on hand. McCrory raised more than a $1 million in that same period, and has a little less than $2.5 million in campaign coffers.

McCrory began the year with about $100,000 more cash-on-hand than Cooper, who is planning to run but has not formally declared as a candidate.

Durham lawyer Ken Spaulding is also running for the Democratic nomination, having raised a little less than $45,000, with more than $50,000 cash on hand.

– Associated Press

NC Senate Takes First Steps on New Deal to Push Back Primary

prez_primaryRALEIGH—State lawmakers are set to approve a new date for North Carolina’s presidential primary after state republican leaders moved the primary to an early date two years ago, but national officials said they disapproved of the change.

A Senate committee approved a bill Monday that would set the primary date for both parties for March 15. General Assembly leaders announced the deal this weekend, after the RNC did not back down on threats to cut the state’s voting delegation by 80 percent if it held its primary in February.

Originally the proposal dealt with paper ballots, but soon was amended to put an end to the controversy surround North Carolina’s presidential primary.

“We’ve talked to all the interested parties, the stakeholders, the national parties. They are okay with the date,” said Sen. Andrew Brock, a Rowan County Republican.

If no changes were made, North Carolina’s primary would be held in February next year—making it one of the first. But national leaders say they have carved out that distinction four states-Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

If the state didn’t make the change, the national parties said North Carolina, which now holds one of the highest delegate counts making it an important state for candidates, would be shifted to one of the least important states with only 12 delegates who get to vote.

“This accomplishes two things, No. 1 it keeps an early slot. Perhaps not as early as they would have wanted it.  But also keep all the delegates.  So that means that North Carolina is a player for the Republican nomination, maybe the democratic nomination. But it just means we will see a lot of candidates between now and the 15th,” said David McLennan, with Meredith College.

Senators had resisted this change, saying North Carolina deserves to be one of the early states, but have now come on board with this compromise.

“If we deem it to be favorable, as we anticipate, than we can take whatever action necessary for 2020,” said Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican.

This bill is considered a compromise bill. So assuming it moves through the Senate, it is also expected to get approval from the House.

– Loretta Boniti

Scott Walker to Remind Voters of Union Wins as He Enters 2016 Race

scott_walker_bidMADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has announced on social media that he’s running for president, Tweeting “I’m in. I’m running for president because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them.”

Walker, a Republican who built a national profile largely due to his clashes with labor unions, also released a campaign video at the same time Monday declaring his entry in the race.

He becomes the 15th Republican to put his name in the race for president in 2016.

Hillary Clinton to Make First NC Campaign Appearance

hillary_clintonRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will be in North Carolina later this month raising money for her campaign.

A scheduled July 22 fundraiser at the home of a Raleigh couple marks her first political appearance in the state since a campaign-launching rally last month in New York.

The invitation for what’s called “a conversation in support of Hillary for America” seeks donations of $2,700 per person, the maximum allowed individuals during the primary campaign. A special reception with Clinton is available to those who help raise at least $15,000 in campaign cash.

North Carolina’s 2016 presidential primary is likely to get more attention from candidates because it’s about two months earlier than in the past. The exact date primary may be changed by the General Assembly.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Poll: Donald Trump in the Lead for NC Republican Primary Voters

es_Trump_2016_17875528NORTH CAROLINA — According to a new PPP poll, presidential candidate Donald Trump is the top choice for Republican primary voters in North Carolina.

Here’s a breakdown of where Republican primary candidates stand in North Carolina, according to the poll:

  • Trump – 16%
  • Jeb Bush – 12%; Scott Walker – 12%
  • Mike Huckabee 11%
  • Ben Carson – 9%; Marco Rubio – 9%
  • Rand Paul – 7%
  • Ted Cruz – 6%
  • Chris Christie – 5%
  • Carly Fiorina – 4%
  • Rick Perry – 2%
  • Lindsey Graham – 1%
  • Bobby Jindal – 1%
  • Rick Santorum – 1%
  • John Kasich and George Pataki – less than 1%
The poll also found that Trump has gained momentum with far right voters — 66 percent of “very conservative” voters view Trump favorably to only 24 percent with a negative view of him. For Jeb Bush, only 37 percent of “very conservative” voters see him favorably to 44 percent who have a negative opinion of him.
Trump’s favorability rating in North Carolina is 55/32. Bush’s is 43/35.
Trump is also polling well with younger voters (29 percent) and men (20 percent).
Click here for full results.

Hillary Clinton Campaigns in South Carolina

hillary_clinton-1COLUMBIA, S.C. — Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was busy stumping in South Carolina on Wednesday, making her first campaign  visit to the state since announcing her candidacy earlier this year.

South Carolina was not a very good experience for Clinton during her 2008 presidential run and she acknowledged as much. But this go around, supporters here say they strongly believe she will emerge victorious and eventually take the White House.

Speaking in front of an intimate group of supporters, served as the keynote speaker at the third annual ‘Day in Blue’ – an event put together by the Democratic Women’s Council. Clinton turned quickly to the serious job at hand and pushed for the passing of the paycheck fairness act, advocated for paycheck transparency, and raising wages for the lowest paid jobs in the country.

The Palmetto State is crucial for the Clinton campaign. It hosts the South’s first 2016 primary which is important for Democrats, because it’s the contest with a large number of African-American voters.

Despite her nearly 30-point loss in 2008 to President Barack Obama, she closed with a promise for the long and difficult campaign ahead. Clinton also spent time on Wednesday at the state House speaking to House and Senate Democrats. She also met privately with a number of minority business owners.

She wasn’t the only female presidential candidate in Columbia on Wednesday. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Republican hopeful Carly Fiorina held a news conference at the same hotel a few hours earlier.

– Becky Bereiter