2019 end of year campaign finance reports trickled in last week following the January 31 deadline and included a few surprises, not least of which was Judge Phil Berger, Jr.’s, extreme cash disadvantage compared to the rest of the field of Supreme Court candidates.
Berger, Jr., ended 2019 with only slightly more than $93K on hand while fellow Republican candidates Paul Newby and Tamara Barringer have more than $400K and $200K, respectively. The Democratic field is similarly situated to Barringer and Newby, putting Berger, Jr., at a financial disadvantage.
At the beginning of October, coinciding with the opening of FASFA applications for 2019, the NC Promise program launched an ad campaign to promote the new plan. “We Promise” aims to raise awareness amongst North Carolinians about the opportunity to utilize NC Promise, which UNC claims will make higher education more affordable for students, yet has many low-income students paying more out-of-pocket costs. The marketing campaign comes with a $1 million price tag.
The News & Observer reported that the legislature funded the marketing push but did not specify who requested the funding. A public records request for any correspondence between Margaret Spellings, President of the UNC System, Drew Moretz, Vice President for State Government Relations for the UNC System, Timothy Minor, Vice President for University Advancement for the UNC System, Andrew P. Kelly, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy for the UNC System, Camille Barkley, Associate Vice President for Media Relations for the UNC System, Josh Ellis, Associate Vice President for Media Relations for the UNC System, Clayton Somers, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Secretary to UNC-Chapel Hill, Amy Auth, Director of State Affairs at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina General Assembly turned up no communication. According to this, there was absolutely no communication about a $1 million ad campaign between any members of the UNC System’s senior staff.Read More
On Monday Republican legislative leaders Phil Berger and Tim Moore publicly announced their support of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in a letter addressed to Sens. Thom Tillis, Richard Burr, and Chuck Grassley. Berger and Moore said that they “stand ready to assist in any way [they] can to help ensure Judge Brett Kavanaugh becomes the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice.”
Though the NC legislature’s public display support of Kavanaugh's confirmation is unnecessary, it makes perfect sense that Berger and Moore want their members to sign on to this letter. It's a ringing endorsement of the kind of harmful policies they've enacted since taking control of the NCGA.
The Republican-led NCGA returns Tuesday for a last-minute special session where anything could be on the table.There have been rumors about a move to undo Republicans’ 2016 law making NC Supreme Court Races partisan.
Republican efforts to crowd the field for Democrats in the 2018 Supreme Court race (after they eliminated primaries) backfired when Republican Chris Anglin filed on the last day. Following Democrat Mike Morgan’s 2016 election to the NC Supreme Court, Republicans solidified their attempts at meddling in judicial elections, especially the Supreme Court.
Since December of 2016, Republicans have made moves toward grabbing judicial power and have altered the way North Carolinians elect their judges. Let’s take a look back on the efforts they’ve made to alter the system that elects the judges that keep ruling against Republicans’ unconstitutional laws.
Over the next several months Real Facts NC will release a series of reports on key North Carolina legislators and how their work impacts the people in their districts. In the first of the series we’ll take a look at the man claimed by many to be the most powerful individual in state government, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger.
Berger has represented Rockingham County since 2001 and became minority leader in 2004 and Senate President Pro Tem, the leader of the Senate, in 2011. While Berger has succeeded in Raleigh enacting his conservative agenda, Rockingham county has seen more than its fair share of setbacks in recent years.
Read below a summary of how while Phil Berger has gotten ahead in Raleigh, Rockingham has fallen behind. Find the full report: here.
Republicans have released various (and often conflicting) plans for reforming the judiciary. The House has passed a court stacking gerrymander that would flip courts to majority Republican – similar to their unconstitutional gerrymandering of their own districts.
Senate leaders have dangled a vague proposal that will give the legislature “a key role in appointments” of judges in an attempt to convince members of the legal community that this could be a form of their long-sought selection method of judicial appointment.
Alternatively, the Senate last week introduced a proposal that would invalidate the terms of duly elected judges and put all 403 judges and justices on the ballot in 2018 after a constitutional amendment during the primary election. In a TV interview, Senate President Pro TemBerger’s chief advisor claimed that this is not a bargaining tool to garner support for an appointment process.
The details of Berger’s chosen method of selection have remained vague. In a statement to the News & Observer, he said that the process would be similar to the process that Cooper “once championed.”Read More
Earlier this week, Sen Phil Berger told the crowd at Rural Day that the Senate remains focused on “how we can improve the life of hard-working folks like you and your families” such as “confronting the opioid crisis” and creating common senses change that “enables rural North Carolina to thrive just like the rest of North Carolina.
Apparently, he forgot to tell his budget writers because the Senate budget clearly cares more about millionaire’s than rural communities.
Senate Leader Phil Berger could be eyeing a change in job title in 2020. Berger was first elected to the State Senate in 2000. He became Senate Minority Leader in 2004 and President Pro Tem in 2010. Could he be looking to rise to a new level in 2020? It certainly seems like Berger could be laying the groundwork for the next statewide election.