house

REPORT: NC Legislature Races to Watch 2018

With Democrats in 170 legislative seats, Republicans in 169, and even Libertarians filing in 35 legislative districts, 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal legislative elections in North Carolina history. And with no race on the ballot above Supreme Court, these elections will get more attention than ever before.

This report combines an analysis of district voting data, national and state polling plus qualitative factors like local issues and relative candidate strength. In total, we think that 36 House races and 13 Senate races are shaping up to have competitive campaigns run by both of the major parties in districts that could conceivably go to either. We have also identified a handful of other races worth keeping an eye on for other reasons.

We’ll look at the 36 House races and 13 Senate races we think will be the most competitive in the fall and a handfull of other races we think will be interesting to watch for other reasons. 

Read More

These 39 Republicans said they thought judges should be elected, rulings against their unconstitutional laws might have changed that

In 2012 Civitas asked candidates for office in NC if judges should continue to be elected by the voters. (2012 was the last time Civitas posted a survey.)

The answer from those that filled it out was a resounding yes.

27 current Republican members of the House said they agreed with the statement “Judges should continue to be elected by the voters.”

This included members such as Chris Malone, Debra Conrad, Ted Davis, and Jonathan Jordan.

Despite the widespread support for Judicial elections amongst the Republican caucus, rumors and even threats swirl that the Republican majorities in the legislature are considering moving to a legislative appointment process in the wake of several legal losses.

Read More

Legislator Profile: John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Representative John Bradford, the Republican from House District 98. Before joining the General Assembly, Bradford was elected to the Cornelius Town Board in 2011. While there, he sought to cancel elections and have the town board elected every three years instead of two.  

Bradford was one of the co-sponsors of HB2. One year later, he co-sponsored a failed HB2 repeal bill that would make local anti-discrimination measures subject to a public referendum.

 “I voted to restore common sense regulations for North Carolina citizen’s rights to privacy in bathrooms and changing facilities.” – Rep. John Bradford, after voting for HB2 (The Herald Weekly, 03/31/16; The Southern Pines Pilot, 05/21/16)

Bradford has shown time and again that he believes tax cuts are more important than public education. Bradford said, “spending more in education will not magically solve the problems we are facing” and “we need to continue holding everyone accountable and find ways to cut bureaucratic and unnecessary expenses that we incur outside the classroom.” He voted for the 2017 Republican budget that continues the trend of cutting taxes for the wealth few rather than raising per pupil spending. Bradford said “we need to financially reward our best and brightest educators” but voted for the Republican budget that gives beginning teachers no raise, and only a 0.6 percent raise to experienced teachers and per pupil spending has actually gone down in the budgets he voted on. Read more on Bradford here

Read More

A day late and a dollar short: Real Facts NC's step-by-step guide to remembering who sits on the committee you chair

After 13 years in the NC House of Representatives, even the simple tasks can apparently become confusing.

Just ask Representative Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), who, in yesterday’s House Appropriations Committee meeting, could hardly remember who belongs to the committee (of which he is the senior chairman) and who doesn’t.

After Representative Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) raised her hand to debate an amendment and said her name aloud when Dollar failed to identify her from the front of the room, he asked, “Representative Harrison, are you on this committee?” to which she answered, “I am.”

 

To prevent this from happening again, Real Facts NC has compiled a step-by-step manual to help Rep. Dollar and any other weary members of the General Assembly remember the names and positions of their own colleagues.

Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile: Nelson Dollar (R-Wake)

In this legislator profile, we focus on Rep. Nelson Dollar, the Republican representative from District 36, who has been in the General Assembly for over a decade. Since the Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Dollar has been senior Chairman of the Appropriations Committee working as House Republicans main budget writer. According to the News & Observer, “officially” Nelson Dollar “is senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.  Unofficially, he’s the House gatekeeper.” Read more here.

“Most of the people who would have been covered by Medicaid expansion are ‘relatively healthy’ and could always get care in emergency rooms.” –Nelson Dollar (News & Observer, 10/14/13)

Summary

  • Dollar has consistently written budgets and policies that shortchange education at every level. Instead, prioritizing tax cuts for big corporations.
  • During the more than 10 years that Rep. Dollar has served in the legislature, he has eliminated policies that would aid his constituents
    • He advocated for cutting child care subsidies
    • He voted against Medicaid expansion
    • He supported a budget that eliminates the ability to access health insurance after retirement, for state employees hired after 2021
  • Dollar has used his position of power to benefit himself with lucrative consulting contracts.

Read more on Dollar here.

Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe, Watauga)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Rep. Jonathan Jordan, the Republican Representative from District 93. He was first elected in 2010 in a victory decided by fewer than 800 votes. He currently chairs the committees on Education, Homelessness, Foster Care and Dependency, the House Select Committee on Administrative Procedure Laws, and House Judiciary III. Jordan, an attorney, spent two years as the first research director at the conservative John Locke Foundation from 1997-1999, a 501(C)(3) research institute that espouses conservative ideals. He also served as the director for a tax-exempt pregnancy care center in Ashe County with the primary purpose of pseudo-science anti-abortion counseling. When he ran in 2010, Art Pope and outside groups flooded money into his campaign in a Koch-sponsored effort to flip the state legislature. Since his election, Jordan has pushed Pope ideals at the expensive of working people in North Carolina. Read more on Jordan here.

(NCFEP, Spending by Outside Groups in North Carolina General Assembly Races, 2010 Election Cycle, retrieved 6/21/12)
Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Chris Malone (R-Wake)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Rep. Chris Malone, the Republican representative from District 35 and Deputy Majority Whip for the 2017-2018 legislative session. He was first elected in 2012 and currently serves as the chair of the Wildlife Resources Committee and the Appropriations on Health and Human Services Committee and vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. Malone’s political career started over 15 years ago as a Wake Forest Town Commissioner in 2001. He was on the Wake County School Board in 2009 until his resignation in 2012. During his time on the school board, he was called a “hard-liner” who “served without distinction.” As a Representative, Malone has sponsored bills that aimed to restore partisan judicial elections and bar federal Medicaid expansion. After being delinquent at least 25 times paying them, Malone tried to repeal motor vehicle renewal and property taxes – while voting to raise sales taxes on working families. Read more here.

Summary

  • Since 2002, Malone has been delinquent on personal property taxes at least 25 times
  • During his time on the school board, he:
    • was accused of burglary following an alleged affair with another board member, supported private school vouchers
    • looked to install less expensive heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in schools
    • worked to replace diversified schools with neighborhood schools
Read More

Legislator Profile: Scott Stone and Andy Dulin (R-Mecklenburg)

In the next two installments of Real Facts NC's series of legislator profiles we focus on Charlotte-area representatives Scott Stone and Andy Dulin. 

Stone was appointed to the District 105 seat by former Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term after winning the election in November. Before serving in the NC House, Stone had tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics: he ran for the Arlington County Board in 1996 and ran for Charlotte mayor in 2011 and 2015. Rep. Scott Stone did not think the NCGA should change HB2 until Charlotte changed its own ordinance, even though HB2 cost Charlotte at least $100 million and he opposed all parts of Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance, including protection for LGBT community. Stone claims he is concerned about education, but supported a Republican budget that shortchanges NC teachers and students. Read more on Stone here

Similarly, Dulin was elected to the District 104 seat in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term. Before serving in the NC House, Dulin tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics outside the Charlotte City Council. He ran for the Mecklenburg County Commission in 2004, ran for NC Senate in the 2008 primary, and Congress in 2012. Dulin is an out-of-touch member of Charlotte’s elite, putting his own advancement above the will of constituents and pushing the needs of corporations over students and teachers. Additionally, Dulin supported a measure that would make nondiscrimination ordinances subject to referendum less than a year after HB2 cost Charlotte millions. Read more on Dulin here

Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Stephen Ross (R-Alamance)

In a series of Real Facts NC reports examining key North Carolina legislators, we look at Representative Stephen Ross, who has represented Alamance County in the North Carolina House since 2013. Ross is currently the Deputy Majority Leader of the Republican House Caucus. Ross previously served as Mayor of Burlington and on the Burlington City Council. As a Vice President and an Investment Officer for Wells Fargo, Ross has used his three terms in the House to put the interests of banks, predatory lenders, and developers above North Carolina families. Ross has voted for measures that enhance the profits of predatory consumer finance companies and trap low-income people in a cycle of debt. In his 2012 campaign, Ross called for major regulatory reform to make the state competitive; however, he has instead made North Carolina competitive for his special interest donors and those who seek to prey on the most vulnerable. Read the full profile here.

We need comprehensive tax reform along with major regulatory reform to become competitive again.” – Stephen Ross

Summary

  • Stephen Ross is a Vice President and Investment Officer with Wells Fargo and has received at least $25,500 in PAC money from the financial services industry since 2012.
  • Amid an uncertain economic recovery in 2013, Stephen Ross voted to enhance the profits of predatory consumer finance companies as they further trapped low-income people in debt.
  • Stephen Ross voted for a bill that helps companies sell high-interest rate consumer loans, even after multiple warnings about these lenders to consumers from the Attorney General’s office.
  • Stephen Ross voted for a bill that eliminated a formal track for homeowners to protest development in their communities.
  • In 2013, 14,955 tax filers in Alamance county claimed the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which lawmakers allowed to expire that year. The tax credit went to people that worked but earned low wages, and the benefits totaled $1,668,976 in the county.
Read More

Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford) says complaints about unconstitutional racial gerrymandering ‘tedious’

Rep. John Blust is starting to find complying with the Constitution to be “tedious.”

During last week’s judicial redistricting meeting, he seemed confused as to why there were race complaints in the redistricting process:

“I just believe that if we were sitting here and there were no districts that it looked like an African-American would be very very likely to win, you’d have some of the same people objecting to the bill on that ground. It seems a little bit disconcerting to sit here and hear what sound like complaints that there’s districts, my gosh there’s districts where African-Americans are very likely to win and knowing that if you didn’t have those districts, the same people would be complaining that you didn’t have them. And just going through this in redistricting, hearing these complaints over and over, it gets a little bit tedious.”

Read More