North Carolina redo sets stage for copycat campaigns in 2020

OPINION — After an election fraud scandal, North Carolina Republicans lost a House candidate. After an indictment and questions about possible bribery, the state GOP lost its chair.

But all that didn’t stop a gaggle of Republicans from vying for the chance to run for a House seat that, thanks to gerrymandering, still favors their party — that is, of course, if voters stay interested in a special election that now will be decided on Sept. 10, if everything goes as planned.

Whatever happens, the race has offered a national blueprint for what voters will see in 2020, with the majority of Republicans clinging close to Donald Trump and trying to brand Democrats as far to the left as imagination allows. Meanwhile, Democrats proclaim their independence and ability to stand up to the president and his bending of constitutional norms while doing the other business of Congress and helping constituents.

A Deadly Shooting at UNCC, and a City in Shock

CHARLOTTE, NC — A shooting at UNCC leaves two dead and four wounded. A city that has seen a sharp rise in homicides this year is now grappling with a horrific shooting that adds Charlotte to the list of cities where a school is the setting for gun violence. A suspect is in custody, but that doesn’t provide answers to the questions of why it happened and what can be done

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: CMPD Releases Full Body Camera Video; 9th District Early Voting

Earlier this week, a Mecklenburg County judge ordered the full release of the body camera video in the police shooting of Danquirs Franklin. The video was released on Wednesday. The ruling came after Monday night’s debate in city council about CMPD’s handling of the initial release of a shorter version of the video.

On the same day as the video’s release, CMPD announced a series of changes in policy to release all relevant video footage of incidents, like officer-involved shootings, to a judge to seek redactions.

Early voting for the special 9th District primary began this week and on Tuesday night, some of the candidates participated in a forum that covered topics from House Bill 2 to the Mueller report and more.

Movement on the incentives from the South Carolina legislature to relocate the Panthers’ headquarters may be on the horizon, as details come out about the plans David Tepper has for the new facility there. The team hopes to begin construction as early as later this year.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

It’s called accountability, but only for some

OPINION — When I was a little girl growing up in West Baltimore, my parents (especially my mom) gave me some truth along with the love. “You will have to work twice as hard to get half as far,” they told their working-class African American child, schooled as they had been in life’s challenges. They also warned about what everyone on my side of town knew: There was little to no room for error because folks like us seldom got the benefit of the doubt.

This was not to discourage me — far from it. It was to prepare me. Better to know what the deal was upfront.

They did not live to observe the spectacle of the president of the United States and members of his family get away — for now, at least — with all sorts of dishonest doings, things an African American president and his family would have been marched across the White House lawn in cuffs and shackles for. Things anyone in my neighborhood would have been tossed under the jail for even thinking about doing.

When a hate crimes hearing goes very wrong, something’s not right in America

OPINION — When people are being threatened, intimidated and murdered, you would think that partisan bickering would take a back seat. But this is the U.S. Congress we’re talking about. Instead, what was supposed to be an examination of white nationalism and the rise of hate crimes on Tuesday devolved into what Americans have wearily begun to expect from their elected representatives. The House Judiciary Committee members inhabited different parties and different planets.

When what’s at stake is this serious, that’s pretty frightening.

When does partisan gerrymandering cross the line?

OPINION — “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Republican member of the North Carolina general assembly’s redistricting committee. “So, I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”

He added: “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

If that is not quite a smoking gun, it’s definitely toasty to the touch.

Will quotes like that — transparently revealing the politics behind a policy that favors one party — be enough for the Supreme Court to meddle in the political maneuvering of partisan gerrymandering? This week’s hearings take on a North Carolina case and its mirror in Maryland, where Democrats are accused of skewing a district.

Judge Denies Mark Harris’ Request to Be Certified

CHARLOTTE, NC — On Tuesday, a Wake County Superior Court judge turned down the request of Republican Mark Harris to certify him as the winner in his race against Democrat Dan McCready. “This is an extremely unusual situation, with no board in place,” said Judge Paul Ridgeway. He said asking the court to step in and declare the winner, when that is the authority of another branch of government, was inappropriate, especially in the middle of an ongoing investigation. (Mary C. Curtis)

9th District Race – No End in Sight

CHARLOTTE, NC —  Robert Pittenger will not run again in North Carolina’s 8th District U.S. House race.  At least that’s what he says.  And right now, that might be the only thing people know for sure about the contested contest roiled by accusations of election fraud and more plot twists than any movie.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Voter ID Is Law In NC; 9th District Still Unresolved; I-77 Tolls

On this edition of the Local News Roundup:

The disputed election in the 9th Congressional district is a long way from being resolved. The new Congress takes office on Jan. 3 and the citizens in the 9th district will not have representation. How long could it go on? We’ll discuss the state election board’s plans for a hearing after the new year. We’ll also talk about what McCrae Dowless’ attorney said this week about proving her client’s innocence.

Voter ID is now law in North Carolina after the house overrode Governor Cooper’s veto. The move was followed immediately by lawsuits challenging the law.

The opening of the new Interstate 77 toll lanes is delayed again. I-77 Mobility Partners says that the section of the project that was slated to open by the end of 2018 will now be pushed back to the first quarter of 2019, with the full 26-mile project complete by summer.

Another jobs announcement for Charlotte this week, with more than 1,200 jobs headed our way in the expansion of financial tech company AvidXChange. What kinds of jobs will they offer and what’s the expected impact on the Queen City? We’ll explore.

City Council voted to approve new equipment for the CMPD SWAT team totaling over $500,000. We’ll talk about what equipment was picked and why some council members opposed the purchase.

Charlotteans are remembering Jim Rogers, the former CEO and Chair of Duke Energy, who died at the age of 71 this week. We discuss what some are saying about his legacy.

And with the Panthers’ Monday Night Football loss to the Saints this week, our post-season chances are just about zero. Cam Newton is sidelined for the rest of the season due to injury. What might this mean for Ron Rivera and others next season?

Guest host Erik Spanberg from the Charlotte Business Journal will go through those stories, and much more with our roundtable of reporters on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Ann Doss Helms, reporter for theCharlotte Observer 

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE

Alex Olgin, reporter WFAE

More Drama in 9th District House Race

CHARLOTTE, NC — A new day, a new wrinkle in the contested and controversial 9th District U.S. House between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. The latest: The North Carolina Republican Party is asking the state elections board to certify Mark Harris as the winner, if it cannot provide evidence that suspected election fraud, particularly in Bladen County, in the midterm would have changed the result. (Mary C. Curtis)

Of course, Democrats want to see the investigation finished. So, what’s next?

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.