Ex-Charlotte mayors McCrory and Cannon lose comeback bids: An analysis of the NC primary

In this episode Inside Politics: Election 2022, we discuss the results of the May 17 primary in North Carolina and look ahead to the general election.

Election night in the U.S. Senate race came to a predictable outcome. Former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley cruised to victory in the Democratic primary. And U.S. Rep. Ted Budd easily defeated former Gov. Pat McCrory in the GOP primary.

Budd was complimentary of McCrory on election night. But McCrory did not return the favor — he refused to endorse Budd and questioned the direction of the Republican Party.

Another big story from May 17: Controversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn was ousted in the primary by a fellow Republican.

We’ll also talk about the upcoming July election for Charlotte City Council.

Voters winnowed down candidates for mayor and council last week. Former Mayor Patrick Cannon, who served prison time after being arrested for corruption while in office, lost his bid to return to public office with an at-large seat on council. Meanwhile, incumbent District 1’s Larken Egleston will exit from council after losing in the Democratic primary for an at-large seat, and some districts will have new representatives. Incumbent Mayor Vi Lyles cruised to an easy victory in her Democratic primary.

Our guests for this week are retiring Charlotte City Council member Julie Eiselt and journalist Mary C. Curtis of Roll Call.

But what will the ‘optics’ be?

After the votes are counted, probably this week, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice. But members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who wanted to use her confirmation hearings for everything but the thing they were designed for are also walking away satisfied.

Republican senators like Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Ted Cruz of Texas used their time to either talk down to Jackson or talk past her to make political points.

During the hearings, questions that criticized her sentencing philosophy as well as “empathy” were tailor-made for the African American Supreme Court candidate and a slew of negative ads to accuse her and every Democrat of being soft on crime in general and pornographers in particular.

In that, they were merely following the playbook that has become routine and is unfortunate for any American who wants to get anything done, especially, in this instance, for advocates of criminal justice reform. That Jackson had the support of major law enforcement groups and could boast of relatives with more time on the front lines of fighting crime than all those senators combined were facts to be ignored by those looking to set a narrative. That her sentencing record resembled that of Republican judges favored by the disagreeing and disagreeable senators were details to be brushed aside. Cotton, in fact, has ramped up his attacks, saying, to the disgust of the Anti-Defamation League, that she would represent “Nazis.”

After listening to and watching the show along with the rest of us, three Republican senators have explained their reasoning for backing the eminently qualified jurist while decrying the partisan grandstanding that has accompanied modern Supreme Court justice hearings. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, who actually voted against her last time around, had met with Jackson. They apparently have seen her as she truly is, not the ridiculous caricature constructed by her interrogators.

What did that get the three? The label of “pro-pedophile” from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Along with that slander, she also tweeted the proof was, “They just voted for #KBJ,” when the vote had not yet happened. But when has being wrong on fact or intention ever stopped the Georgia Republican?

It all fits in with the spectacle of Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee continuing their snarling and baseless accusations against Jackson this past Monday — the April 4 anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The symbolism speaks for itself and points to a larger problem.

Say goodbye to reality-based reasoned discussion, with give-and-take from every side, and hello to filtering every issue through fear, feelings and optics.

Get used to terms such as “woke,” “socialism,” “critical race theory” and now “pedophile” in outraged statements and already surfacing alarmist election ads.

Mary C. Curtis: Donald Trump Jumps Into 2022 NC Senate Race, Endorses Rep. Ted Budd

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Three-term Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s plans to retire from the Senate has left an opening that several North Carolina Republicans hope to fill. During his weekend speech at the state GOP convention, Donald Trump made clear that he is still the party’s leader and intends to play a part in the primary process. Now that his daughter-in-law, North Carolina’s own Lara Trump has said she is not running – for now — Trump has endorsed U.S. Rep. Ted Budd.

While others running aren’t that happy, count former Gov. Pat McCrory among them, others in the GOP establishment wonder if Trump is a help or hindrance as he continues to focus not on the future but on the past. That past is the 2020 presidential contest and Trump’s continued false insistence that he won and that there was widespread fraud.

POLITICAL WRAP: Former President Trump Returns to Political Stage

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former President Donald Trump is back on the political stage.

He was the keynote speaker at the North Carolina Republican State Convention on Saturday.

Trump to the Rescue (Maybe) in North Carolina

OPINION — When Donald Trump travels to North Carolina this week, it won’t be for one of the campaign-style rallies that are his oxygen — especially needed now when the air is filled with praise for his nemesis John McCain, who is being lauded in death in terms the president can only dream about.

This Friday in Charlotte, host of the 2020 GOP convention and with the Trump National Golf Club not that far away in Mooresville, the president is scheduled to make a lunchtime appearance at a country club for an audience of those willing and able to pay at least $1,000 ($25,000 will get you admission to a “roundtable” and a photograph with Trump). It is a party with a purpose: to raise enough cash to keep two possibly vulnerable House seats in Republicans hands.