Primaries spotlight coming battles over state supreme courts
Upcoming primary elections for state supreme court seats in North Carolina and Arkansas are putting the spotlight on how such races across the U.S. have grown in importance in recent years and led to high-dollar, partisan battles for control.
Staal, Niederreiter lift Hurricanes past Predators 5-2
Jordan Staal scored twice and Nino Niederreiter beat Juuse Saros for the go-ahead goal early in the third period, helping the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators in the first game of the teams' first-round playoff series.
States pass their own virus aid, not waiting on Washington
– Not waiting for more federal help, states have been approving their own coronavirus aid packages, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help residents and business owners devastated by the the pandemic's economic fallout. North Carolina's governor wants additional state aid for such things as bonus pay for teachers and boosting rural internet speeds. The spending also provides fuel for critics who say states don’t need another massive infusion of cash from Congress. “The cascading effect, it’s actually a problem that most states are grappling with ... waiting for the relief money out of the feds,” she said. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, unveiled a $695 million emergency budget proposal that would use state money to address needs related to the coronavirus.
Cooper calls for improved warning system amid deadly tornado
Owner Richard Dobkin, right, photographs the damage at Ocean Ridge Storage Solutions in Brunswick County, N.C. near the town of Sunset Beach, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that the state must learn from the surprise tornado that struck Ocean Isle Beach with little or no warning, leaving three people dead and 10 injured. The governor surveyed the brunt of the damage, at Ocean Ridge Plantation, a neighborhood where residents recounted near-death experiences from the powerful EF3 tornado that approached swiftly. Some said they received a warning alert on their phone two minutes after the tornado had already passed. AdBefore the tornado hit his Ocean Ridge Storage Solutions business about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the Ocean Ridge Plantation, he said he was already struggling financially from the governor's pandemic-related business restrictions.
The Latest: Biden says Milwaukee is 'cold as the devil'
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)The Latest on winter weather across the U.S. (all times local):WASHINGTON— President Joe Biden offered his administration’s assistance Tuesday in a call with at least seven governors of states impacted by severe winter weather this week. Among those on the call were Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. Biden, who was heading to Milwaukee to participate in a CNN town hall, declared the weather there “cold as the devil up there.”___KENSINGTON, Md. The events show how vulnerable America is to extreme weather —both hot and cold— which increases with climate change, scientists said. J.B. Pritzker has declared a disaster proclamation after a winter storm blanketed the state with snow and caused power outages.
Pressure builds on schools to reopen during pandemic
The school has had some students in classrooms for in-person learning since September of 2020, but other students who attend the school are still learning remotely. In Cincinnati, some students returned to classrooms Tuesday after a judge threw out a teachers union lawsuit over safety concerns. In California, with 6 million public school students, teachers unions say they won’t send their members into an unsafe situation. In several states, lawmakers are advancing legislation to require more in-person learning. Roy Cooper faces pressure from GOP lawmakers to reopen more schools.
Guard troops pour into Washington as states answer the call
Military leaders spent chunks of Thursday evening and Friday calling states in an unprecedented appeal for more National Guard troops to help lock down much of the city in the days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Kate Brown said she turned down the federal request to send at least 100 more National Guard troops to D.C. “I didn’t think that we could safely fill that commitment,” Brown said. Oregon has already agreed to send 30 to Washington, but state leaders are worried about violence at the state capitol in Salem. At that point, the new round of calls to the state governors and military leaders began. Roy Cooper initially agreed to send 200 Guard, and on Friday spokesman Ford Porter said the state will send 100 more.
Marc Basnight, longest serving NC Senate leader, dies at 73
FILE - In a May 2006 file photo, Senate leader Marc Basnight speaks on the Senate floor at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C. Basnight died Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at age 73. Despite humble beginnings and little formal education, Basnight rose through state politics to serve in the Senate for 26 years. His nine two-year terms as Senate president pro tempore made him the longest-serving head of a legislative body in North Carolina history. While Senate leader, GOP senators complained Basnight had consolidated too much power. Bob Jordan died in February, while Sen. Tony Rand, who was majority leader and rules committee chairman under Basnight, died in May.
Biden picks Regan for EPA nominee, Haaland for interior head
Scott Applewhite, File)President-elect Joe Biden says he had chosen North Carolina regulator Michael S. Regan as his nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as his pick for interior secretary. Biden will introduce Regan, Haaland and other newly named nominees at an event Saturday. North Carolina Gov. In North Carolina, Regan led the negotiations that resulted in the cleanup of the Cape Fear River, which has been dangerously contaminated by PFAS industrial compounds from a chemical plant. With Duke Energy, he negotiated what North Carolina says was the largest cleanup agreement for toxic coal ash.
Biden picks Regan for EPA nominee, Haaland for interior head
Scott Applewhite, File)President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he had chosen North Carolina regulator Michael S. Regan as his nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as his pick for interior secretary. Biden will introduce Regan, Haaland and other newly named nominees at an event Saturday. North Carolina Gov. In North Carolina, Regan led the negotiations that resulted in the cleanup of the Cape Fear River, which has been dangerously contaminated by PFAS industrial compounds from a chemical plant. With Duke Energy, he negotiated what North Carolina says was the largest cleanup agreement for toxic coal ash.
States impose new rules, plead with public to stop spread
Pete Ricketts warned that he could impose tighter social-distancing restrictions before Thanksgiving if hospitalizations continue to rise. In Washington state, elective procedures such as joint and heart valve replacements and some cancer surgeries could be postponed to make room for coronavirus patients, said Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer. Even so, health officials are trying everything they can to slow the spread and address an even worse surge that many say is inevitable. New York Gov. New York state has averaged nearly 5,500 new cases per day over the past seven days.
Republicans retain power in states despite Democratic push
“This was a status quo election.”Heading into Tuesday, Republicans had full control of 29 state legislatures compared to 19 for Democrats. “The reality is we are still running on very gerrymandered maps,” said Christina Polizzi, national press secretary for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. They were countered by the Republican state leadership committee, which had a target of about $70 million. But Republican redistricting power will be diminished in some states because of changes that occurred in recent years. Instead, Republicans added to their House ranks with more conservatives, increasing the potential to override vetoes by Democratic Gov.
Montana goes red; it's status quo in other governor races
Mike Parson, and State Auditor Nicole Galloway are seen onstage before the Missouri gubernatorial debate at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, Missouri. Democrats are hoping to gain control of more state legislative chambers after Republicans scored huge wins in 2010. The only governor's job to change parties is in Montana, where Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte defeated Democratic Lt. Gov. The national Democratic and Republican governors associations and the campaigns themselves have contributed more than $24 million to the race. In Missouri, incumbent Mike Parson, a Republican, defeated Nicole Galloway, the state auditor who was the Democrats' best chance to pick up a seat.
Races for governor take top billing in Missouri, Montana
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 file photo, Missouri Republican Gov. Its the most hotly contested of the nations 11 governors races this fall. Which party holds the governor's office could be especially consequential over the next few years. In governor’s races, many of the attack ads are funded by each party’s governors association. In the governor’s race, he said Gianforte’s financial support of a Montana museum dedicated to creationist beliefs was a big problem.
Voting, virus, race are hot topics in state high court races
This year alone, state supreme courts have been thrust into the spotlight to decide politically charged cases over voting rights, race and governors' coronavirus orders. State supreme court races have become similarly partisan and often attract millions of dollars in campaign spending, much of it from groups outside the state. Among other hot button issues, the coming year could see state high courts decide matters on eviction moratoriums, private school vouchers, abortion and redistricting. In Ohio, a 5-2 Republican majority is at stake on the state high court in two races that are attracting outside money. Millions of dollars are being spent in Texas, where all nine state supreme court justices are Republicans and the high court has not had a Democratic justice since 1998.
Cunningham keeps low in NC Senate race marked by his affair
FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2020, file photo, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham talks during during a televised debate with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., in Raleigh, N.C. Cunningham inched back into the public sphere on Wednesday, Oct. 7, a day after The Associated Press reported the he had an intimate encounter this summer with a public relations consultant. Within hours of the military disclosing that it is investigating Cunningham, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, he rejected the idea that the race with Tillis had turned into a referendum on his character, even while expressing remorse for extramarital activity. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, Pool)
Cunningham keeps low in NC Senate race marked by his affair
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, Pool)RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham is bypassing uncomfortable questions about his extramarital activities in the final days of his closely contested race with GOP Sen. Thom Tillis. Tillis' campaign also says he's given more than two dozen interviews since Cunningham's lone news conference. Groups from the Human Rights Campaign to the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters to unions are coming to Cunningham's side. Cunningham’s campaign didn’t make him available for an AP interview. “It's troubling for sure, but I don’t think that those actions will change what he can do for North Carolina,” Hall said.
Carter, No. 8 UNC run past No. 19 Virginia Tech 56-45
19 Virginia Tech. 19 Virginia Tech 56-45 on Saturday. Khalil Herbert ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns for Virginia Tech (2-1, 2-1), which again played shorthanded due to coronavirus and injury issues. “North Carolina’s explosive on offense,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. Things got closer, but the Tar Heels rolled with an offense that looked equally as prolific whether throwing or running.
As Trump deadline approaches, N.C. wants more on convention
RALEIGH, N.C. North Carolina's top health official asked Friday for more details on how GOP leaders will protect attendees of a Republican National Convention this summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. President Donald Trump has threatened to move his formal renomination elsewhere if he does not soon get guarantees of being able to hold a large-scale event. The GOP's letter Thursday did not mention such a request, but Cohen said it had been discussed by phone. The state continues to support the hosting of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte if it can be done safelty, Cohen wrote to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and convention CEO Marcia Lee Kelly. Cooper is seeking reelection this fall in a state Trump won in 2016.
North Carolina governor: RNC hasn't submitted safety plan
North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter Monday to the top RNC organizer asking for a written safety plan after Trump demanded in a tweet that North Carolina guarantee a full-scale, in-person convention will be held. Cooper and Cohen say that they had discussed various scenarios with convention organizers but want their plan in writing. Were ready to hold the RNC convention in North Carolina in a safe way. Cooper said his administration required a similar written plan from NASCAR ahead of its recent race in the Charlotte area that was held without fans. The county surrounding Charlotte has had the most virus cases of any in North Carolina, and the state is experiencing an upward trend in cases.
GOP govs offer states as alternative RNC convention host
WASHINGTON Two GOP governors are offering up their states to host the Republican National Convention a day after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina if that states Democratic governor doesn't assure him that the August gathering can go forward despite coronavirus fears. With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention," Kemp tweeted Tuesday. We want to have it in North Carolina, the president wants to have it in North Carolina," she told Fox News on Tuesday morning. Like North Carolina, the City of Atlanta is following a phased, data-driven approach to reopening. We would be proud to host the Republican National Convention.Kemp spokeswoman Candice Broce declined to answer questions about the hasty bid and instead referred questions to Shafer.
Trump's convention demand comes amid Charlotte virus surge
Trump's tweets Monday about the RNC, planned for Charlotte, come just two days after the North Carolina recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases yet. Even local Republican officials note that Trump doesn't have the power to unilaterally move the event scheduled to start in 90 days after two years of planning. Asked about Trumps tweets threatening to move the convention, Cooper said Tuesday hes not surprised at anything that happens on Twitter, without mentioning the president by name. Republican governors in Georgia and Florida say they would welcome the convention if North Carolina falls through. With proper screening, I think they can pull this off.___ Drew reported from Durham, North Carolina, and Robertson reported from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Trump threatens to move RNC without assurances from governor
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump participates in a briefing about Hurricane Dorian with North Carolina Gov. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)President Donald Trump threatened Monday to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state's Democratic governor doesn't immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Trump's tweets about the upcoming RNC in Charlotte come two days after North Carolina's largest daily increase in virus cases yet. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed... full attendance in the Arena, Trump tweeted Monday. Cooper narrowly beat an incumbent Republican in 2016 while Trump won the state.
NASCAR grabs much-needed momentum in return to live racing
The coronavirus pandemic put those plans on hold and NASCAR is frantically trying to recover from a 10-week layoff. Reeling from the loss, Briscoe was able to hold off Busch, the best driver in Xfinity Series history, for his second win of the season. I know its gained a lot of traction and theres a lot of people talking about it, so that was ultimately a win for the sport, Elliott said Friday. The series rolls into the event with huge momentum and confidence from North Carolina Gov. I know a lot of people are looking forward to this live sporting event on TV I know that I am, Cooper said.
Biden, Dems aim to expand campaign map with fundraising deal
Biden's campaign and the DNC planned to file papers for the deal on Saturday with the Federal Elections Commission. The arrangement comes as Biden expands his influence with the national party and works with the DNC and state parties. In addition to trying to unseat Trump, Democrats are looking to retain their House majority and wrest control of the Senate from Republicans. We believe that there will be battleground states that have never been battleground states before, Bidens campaign manager, Jen OMalley Dillon, said Friday. Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia stand out as heavily GOP states that wont be close in the presidential election.