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by Barry Smith
RALEIGH – The state Senate’s recent vote to move North Carolina’s presidential preference primary to March 15, 2016, means the state won’t be one of the early-tier decision-makers. But with the winner-take-all format established in House Bill 373, North Carolina should grab the attention of presidential contenders.
“Now with a winner-take-all, North Carolina is going to be a big prize,” said Andy Taylor, professor of political science at N.C. State University. “A lot will depend on the status of the race at the time, who’s still in, and the winnowing effect of states before us.”
“If there is a real contest going on, winning North Carolina could be a big boost,” said Chalmers Brumbaugh, political science professor at Elon University.
Traditionally, North Carolina’s presidential preference primary has been held in early May, along with primaries for statewide and local offices. The May date, in most instances, meant that the major party nominees had pretty sown up their nominations by the time the state’s voters cast their ballots.
Two years ago, lawmakers decided to decouple the presidential preference primary from the remaining primaries and place it soon after South Carolina’s presidential preference primary, making it one of the earliest in the nation.
However, that front-loaded date ran afoul of Republican and Democratic party rules. The likely result of keeping a February date would have been penalties from the parties greatly reducing the number of delegates North Carolina could send to the presidential nominating conventions.
The March 15 date allows North Carolina to have a winner-take-all primary and still comply with national GOP convention rules. In the past, the state’s delegates have been awarded proportionately. If the candidate receiving the most support from North Carolina voters withdraws from the race before the nominating convention, then all the delegates will be released from their commitment and they can vote for any candidate.
While final primary and caucus dates aren’t yet set in many states, including North Carolina’s (which depends on the House approving the latest version of H.B. 373), it appears that about 20 states will have presidential primaries or caucuses before March 15, 2016. Four other states — Ohio, Florida, Illinois, and Missouri — are slated to have their primaries on that date.
“I’d be very surprised if the Republican [nomination] isn’t still up for grabs” in mid-March, Taylor said.
North Carolina will have one of the larger delegations to the 2016 Republican National Convention, primarily because of its population and GOP success in the state.
“That would make it a bigger deal and a bigger prize to win,” Brumbaugh said. Winning all of the state’s delegates would be a momentum builder for the Republican nominee, he said.
Taylor said that while the state could be a major target for 2016 hopefuls, moving the primary date to the middle of the pack likely would negate efforts to get North Carolina’s issues raised to the intensity that states holding earlier primaries receive.
Taylor also said he expects decoupling the presidential preference primary could reduce voter turnout for the May 2016 primary for statewide and local offices.
“It still will be at a different time than the down-ballot primaries, which are still going to be in May,” Taylor said.
The March 15, 2016, primary date is not yet law. While the Senate passed H.B. 373 by a 45-0 margin, the House version of the bill had an earlier primary date. The bill moving the primary to mid-March could face a vote in the House sometime this week.Barry Smith (@Barry_Smith) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.
Republicans took control of Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections, a result that transforms the political dynamic in Washington and gives the GOP new power over President Barack Obama ’s final two years in the White House.
Republicans won Senate seats from West Virginia to Colorado and beyond to assemble a majority of at least 52 seats, expanded their margin in the House—possibly to levels not seen in decades—and won key governor races.
The sweep left Democrats without a majority in either chamber for the first time since 2006.
“It’s time to go in a new direction,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) who is in line to become Majority Leader, after he defeated his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, by a decisive margin. “We can have real change in Washington, and that’s just what I intend to deliver.”
A slow economic recovery and a series of jolting events, including an Ebola outbreak and the rise of Islamic State in the Middle East, left many voters anxious and looking for change.
The 2014 midterm elections were good to Republicans. WSJ’s Jerry Seib spoke to Jim Kessler of Third Way about what went wrong for the Democrats. Photo: Getty
Tuesday’s balloting featured 14 competitive gubernatorial races. Republicans rolled up victories in most top-tier governors’ races, with Govs. Rick Scott of Florida, Rick Snyder of Michigan and Scott Walker of Wisconsin all notching wins. Republican Bruce Rauner defeated Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in Illinois However in Pennsylvania, Democrat Tom Wolf defeated GOP Gov. Tom Corbett.
Republicans scored some unlikely wins in gubernatorial races, including in Massachusetts and Maryland, two Eastern states with large populations of Democratic votes. In Maine, the state’s Republican governor was reelected, and in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback rode the Republican wave to victory in an election in which he looked unsteady at times.
Were Tuesday’s Senate results a Republican wave or a referendum against President Obama? University of Chicago’s Steve Edwards and WSJ’s Simon Constable discuss. Photo: AP
Vermont’s governor’s race seems poised to produce an unusual outcome: since no candidate is likely to win a majority of the vote, the state’s legislature will be given the responsibility of picking among the two leading candidates.
By the end of the fall campaign, Democrats were struggling in swing states that were touted as building blocks of the party’s ascendancy, including Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire. Republicans’ ability to compete in those states bodes well for their prospects in the 2016 presidential race and suggests a possible reshaping of the national political map.
Not since 1980 has the GOP beaten more than two incumbent Senators. On Tuesday, they knocked off at least three.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Republican challenger Thom Tillis narrowly defeated Democrat Kay Hagan in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina.
Tillis had 48.9% and Hagan had 47% of the vote with 97% of the state’s precincts reporting, according to the state Board of Elections.
The Associated Press called the race for Tillis.
Tillis credited his supporters for the win in a speech in Charlotte broadcast by WRAL-TV. He told the crowd he won despite unprecedented spending against him.
“You all did it,” he said. “This victory is not my victory. his victory is our victory. This is a seat I am going to take to Washington and make sure I never forget where I came from.”
North Carolina Progressives Demand Billions In Higher Taxes, 80 Percent Corporate Tax
by Patrick Gleason
Ever since progressive activists began weekly protests outside of the North Carolina capitol last year, the Tar Heel State has been the nation’s political tinderbox. Referred to by the media as the Moral Monday protests (a dubious term, as it implies that those who disagree on matters of policy are immoral), the weekly gathering has continued throughout the 2014 session of the North Carolina legislature, which began last month and is slated to adjourn at the end of June. Aside from general unhappiness with conservative reforms enacted by North Carolina Republicans, who took control of the legislature for the first time in over a century in 2010, it’s been difficult discerning what exactly it is that the left-of-center protestors want.
Prior to the start of session, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger sought to get to the bottom of what it is that the Moral Monday protestors want and how much it would cost. Sen. Berger, who was named to the Washington Post’s list of emerging stars outside the Beltway last year, sent a letter to Reverend William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP and ringleader of the Moral Monday protests, asking for a list of specific policy changes that they want. Rev. Barber responded with a list of demands, which entails raising taxes, permitting collective bargaining for all government workers, expanding Medicaid, state subsidized child care for all, and state-provided health insurance for all. Sen. Berger then sent Rev. Barber’s agenda to the North Carolina General Assembly’s non-partisan fiscal staff to tabulate the cost.
North Carolina State Legislative Office Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The non-partisan fiscal staff found that the Moral Monday agenda, if implemented, would require state lawmakers to raise taxes by $7 billion. For some context, such a tax hike would increase the North Carolina general fund by a whopping 35 percent. The Moral Monday plan would also necessitate a nearly ten-fold increase in the state corporate income tax, taking the rate from 6 to over 50 percent. Combined with the federal corporate income tax, the highest in the world, if Rev. Barber and crew had their druthers, companies would face a combined corporate tax rate of over 80 percent on profits earned in North Carolina. The likely result of such an onerous tax would be a mass evacuation of companies from Research Triangle Park, Charlotte, and elsewhere in the state.
The Raleigh-based Civitas Institute estimates the Moral Monday agenda would require an additional $10 billion a year in higher tax revenue, which amounts to an unheard of 50 percent increase in the state general fund. While an amendment has been drafted to fund Moral Monday’s expensive agenda, don’t expect to see Democratic legislators in North Carolina champion and introduce it, even the most liberal. Just as President Obama’s budgets have garnered a grand total of zero votes in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate, legislative Democrats in North Carolina are showing a similar aversion to putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to funding a progressive budget.
As Sen. Berger noted in his letter to Rev. Barber, when Republicans took control of the legislature four years ago, the state had the highest personal and corporate income tax rates in the southeast, along with an 11.2 percent unemployment rate, the fourth highest in the nation. Thanks in large part to the reforms enacted since then – such as regulatory reform, unemployment insurance reform, and the historic 2013 tax reform act that will allow North Carolinians to keep more of their hard-earned income – North Carolina has witnessed a tremendous economic comeback. With the addition of more than 200,000 jobs since 2011, North Carolina’s unemployment rate is below the national average for the first time since 2006. In fact, since the Moral Monday protests began in April of 2013, there has been a 39 percent reduction in North Carolina’s unemployment rate, dropping from 8.9 to 6.3 percent.
The Moral Monday crowd may have been too busy getting worked up to notice, but North Carolina is experiencing an impressive economic recovery under Republican leadership, even while coping with anti-growth policies coming out of the White House. Furthermore, it’s now clear that the progressive North Carolina protestors’ agenda, once the actual costs are advertised, won’t find much support even from Democratic legislators, let alone the public.
Patrick Gleason is Director of State Affairs at Americans for Tax Reform. Follow Patrick on Twitter @PatrickMGleason
Election Reforms Reveal Vote Fraud
Posted on April 3, 2014 by Susan Myrick in Issues
A stunning report by the State Board of Elections has revealed clear voter fraud in the 2012 election – evidently in tens of thousands of instances.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections reported Wednesday to the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee on the effects of the state’s new voter reforms. The most disturbing statistics came from comparing voter registration in North Carolina to those of selected states.
The results were brought to light as a result of North Carolina’s joining the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a consortium of 28 states. The SBOE had been directed by the new elections reform legislation (VIVA, Voter Information Verification Act) to join an interstate cross-checking program and to improve the accuracy of voter registration lists. The SBOE joined the program, and as a result it was determined that more than 35,000 North Carolina voters who voted in the 2012 General Election were identified as matching, by name and date of birth, a voter in another state who voted in the same election. This revelation deserves to be underlined: Tens of thousands of voters