Friday, February 26, 2010

Liberal or conservative: Where N.C. members of Congress rank

Just in time for the election, the National Journal has issued its voting analysis of members of Congress.

How do Carolina lawmakers rank?

Republican Richard Burr is the 9th most conservative member of the Senate, according to the analysis. He gets his highest conservative score on economic issues.

Democrat Kay Hagan ranks in the middle. She's got the 42nd most liberal voting record, or the 55th most conservative of the 100 senators.

In the House the magazine ranks North Carolina's House delegation among the "centrist" delegations, and South Carolina's as conservative.

Here are the rankings for Charlotte-area House members:

-- Republican Patrick McHenry: Tied for 17th most conservative in the 435-member House.
-- Democrat Larry Kissell: 214th most liberal; 217th most conservative.
-- Democrat Mel Watt: Tied for most liberal.
-- Republican Sue Myrick: 34th most conservative.
-- Democrat John Spratt of York: 165th most liberal; 266th most conservative.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How did a candidate from the N.C. coast end up running in the 12th District?

Republican Greg Dority was a candidate in search of a district.

The 51-year-old businessman lives in in coastal Beaufort County in the 3rd Congressional District. But that's been represented for years by fellow Republican Walter Jones Jr.

Since there's no residency requirement for congressional candidates, Dority ran in the Democratic-held 1st District in 2002 and again in 2004. This year, he saw that a Republican he considered stronger already had signed up to run.

So he looked at the 4th District, centered around Raleigh and Durham and represented by Democratic Rep. David Price. Again he saw that a stronger GOP candidate was in.

Finally he turned to the 12th District, which runs from Charlotte to Greensboro. And last week he filed, hoping to run against Democratic Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte, which is 270 miles, or about 4 and a half hours, from his home in Little Washington.

"The 12th District is really being hurt hard," he says. "That's why I'm in this race, to talk a message of fiscal conservatism and what I think needs to be done to get people back to work."

Dority faces William "Doc" Gillenwater of Greensboro in the GOP primary. But he's already looking beyond that.

"I probably will not overwhelm it before the primary," he says, "but once the weather gets warm and the campaign season starts to crank up .... I’m going to be in that district a lot. And post- Labor Day, once we get into the sprint to the wire, I'll be there full time.”

Dority says he hopes to ride the wave of what he sees as a GOP year.

"I believe there is going to be a Republican tsunami that is going to be greater than '94 by a magnitude of, well a magnitude,” he says.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bowles starts job on deficit

Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina System, was at the White House today as President Obama signed an executive order creating a deficit reduction panel that Bowles will co-chair.

The former Charlotte businessman and former Republican U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson stood behind Obama for the ceremony in the Diplomatic Reception Room.

"Erskine Bowles understands the importance of managing money responsibly in the public sector, where he ran the Small Business Administration and served as President Clinton's chief of staff," Obama said. "In that capacity, he brokered the 1997 budget agreement with Republicans that helped produce the first balanced budget in nearly 30 years."

Obama said Simpson, known for his candor and humor, as a "flinty Wyoming truth-teller."

"If you look in the dictionary it says "flinty," and then it's got Simpson's picture," the president said to laughter.

When the ceremony was over, someone asked another question.

"What's 'Erskine' in the dictionary?"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Democratic Senate candidate hopes voter anger aims at GOP incumbent

Sure, waves of frustrated voters have knocked off Democratic candidates in Virginia, New Jersey and, most notably, Massachusetts. But Cal Cunningham, a N.C. Democrat who formally kicks off his campaign for the U.S. Senate tomorrow, likes to think that anger is aimed not at Democrats but incumbents.

"There is a great deal of frustration that Washington is not working," Cunningham said Tuesday during a stop in Concord. "Independents in particular are asking themselves what it's going to take to make government work."

Cunningham is one of at least four Democrats hoping for a chance to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in November.

Democrats have been on the ropes. Washington is gridlocked. The deficit deepens as recession and unemployment stubbornly persist. President Obama's popularity is hovering around 50 percent.

But Congressional approval is even lower. Most polls put it at less than 25 percent. Even many Tea Partiers blame incumbents of both parties.

"The Tea Party is animated," Cunningham says. "But so are Democrats frustrated that Washington is not working."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

D'Annunzio: Anonymous posters do their 'lynching via the Internet'

My blog on Republican Tim D'Annunzio's "Machine Gun Social" yesterday elicited plenty of attacks on the 8th District congressional candidate. So he fired back.

"Just to clear things up," he wrote in his own post, "not that it will matter to the racist, typical red necked hicks that have now replaced 'N' word with their new bigoted hate, Jim's (gun shop) is providing the "Machine Guns" and I have organized the "Social". And yes they are real machine guns. Hiding behind these web sites as "anonymous" is the same as hiding under a the white hood, COWARDS.You wouldn't dare say these things to my face, but I wouldn't have any trouble telling you this same thing to yours, if you dared."

Today, he really vented.

"The old racist red-neck hick was somebody who used the 'n' word and focused all their attention on blacks," he said when asked about his post. "Now, it's that same type of person. The new buzz words are 'Christian' and 'Conservative' and 'Constitutionalist.' They're the targets of those same basic haters .... They're now doing their lynching via the Internet."

He says most posters make baseless and personal attacks. While the Klan "hid behind the anonymity of their white hoods," he says, people "nowadays do it by hiding behind the name of 'Anonymous' on these blogs. To be perfectly honest, it's evil what they're doing."

And the people doing it? As he sees it, the authors of most posts are liberal. "To be perfectly honest," he added, "some of them may be Republican.”

"Typically people who are against those things are liberals .... How do you know a liberal? They hate everything this country stands for. They hate everything based on thoughtful analysis. All their thought is emotion-based. They want to stir up hate because hate doesn’t require thought.”

His replies usually stir up his critics even more. He expects that will happen again.

"I'm not going to be one of those who are quiet, I don’t care if it stirs it up," he says. "It's time for a fight. What we’re fighting for makes it worth it .... I'm not going to let them shut me up by bullying me. When I go out and speak to people I call them to the battle. We are not going to be quiet anymore."

Monday, February 08, 2010

How to REALLY get more bang for the buck

Republican Tim D'Annunzio knows how to get more bang for the buck -- use machine guns!

D'Annunzio, running for Congress in the 8th District, is having a Machine Gun Social Thursday night. The event at Jim's Guns in Fayetteville runs from 6:30 p.m. "until the ammo runs out!"

For a $25 donation, participants can shoot semi-automatic MP-5s and Uzis. Additional magazines are $25 each.

''It shows Tim's commitment to Second Amendment rights," says spokeswoman Lauren Slepian. "It shows he's one of the most, if not the most, conservative candidates in the race."

Shooters can register for door prizes, which include an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Slepian says D-Annunzio, a former paratrooper, has a personal collection of semi-automatic weapons.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Senate candidate hires Foxx campaign manager

Bruce Clark, who ran the campaign that put Anthony Foxx in Charlotte's mayor's office, is hoping to repeat his success with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kenneth Lewis.

Clark had taken a job in Washington when Lewis called last month and asked him to manage his campaign.

"I've had the luxury of working for two candidates that I believed in,” said Clark, who grew up outside Chicago. "I just said to myself, 'This is the guy who’s got to be our next senator.'"

Lewis faces former state Sen. Cal Cunningham and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall in the May 4 Democratic primary. The Chapel Hill attorney led his better-known rivals in fundraising, according to new reports.

And in a primary where it takes 40 percent of the vote plus one to win, Lewis is relying on a solid base. That's because African American voters make up as much as 41 percent of the state's Democratic electorate.

Last fall, in a city where about 35 percent of registered voters are black, Foxx relied on a strong African American vote to beat Republican John Lassiter.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Kissell loses supporter, gains opponent

The woman who chaired Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell's two congressional campaigns has turned against him.

Dannie Montgomery, a teacher from Anson County who served as first vice chair of the N.C. Democratic Party, said in a news release today that Kissell "has turned his back on the grassroots supporters who propelled him to office."

She said Kissell has alienated some African American leaders in the 8th District, which could dampen black turnout. She said she has encouraged Charlotte lawyer Chris Kouri to challenge Kissell. Kouri ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2002 against Republican Robin Hayes.

Her defection is the latest sign of liberal disaffection with Kissell. His vote against a Democratic health care bill last fall angered many on the left. But how much harm it caused him is questionable.

A polls last month by Raleigh's Public Policy Polling found that just 29 percent of his constituents knew how he voted on health care.

"That finding is a good reminder that the average voter does not follow politics very closely," poll director Tom Jensen said at the time. "Kissell ... may find himself in better shape once more voters in his district become aware of how he voted on health care. His approval with those who know he voted against it is 52 percent compared to 44 percent with those who think he supported the bill. In a district where a majority are opposed to the Democratic health care plan he cast the right vote for his political future."

Meanwhile a Democrat from Fayetteville plans to challenge Kissell. Writer Nancy Shakir said she's disappointed in his votes.

Through a spokeswoman, Kissell declined comment.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Make that two rivals with more cash than McHenry

Turns out Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry has two GOP challengers with more money.

Since we reported today that Scott Keadle has more on hand than McHenry, rival Vance Patterson also has weighed in. His new FEC report shows that like Keadle, he has loaned his campaign $250,000.

Patterson, a Burke County businessman, showed nearly $248,000 on hand. That compares to almost $260,600 for Keadle and $149,000 for three-term incumbent McHenry.