Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mark Harris recruits another former NCGOP official

Rev. Mark Harris won't officially enter North Carolina's U.S. Senate race until next week. But he's already snared another former official of the state Republican Party to run his campaign.

Harris announced that Mike Rusher will manage his campaign. Rusher, former chief of staff for the state GOP, joins former state party chairman Robin Hayes, who will co-chair the Harris campaign.

Harris is pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. He plans a fly-around announcement tour on Oct. 2, starting in Wilmington and ending in Charlotte.

Rusher headed the national GOP Victory Campaign in North Carolina in 2012. Before that he was an aide to state Senate Leader Phil Berger. The announcement of his position with the Harris campaign comes a day after Berger formally bowed out of the Senate race.

Harris will be the fourth Republican to announce for the seat of Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, joining House Speaker Thom Tillis, Cary physician Greg Brannon and Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant.

UPDATE: Rusher was victory director from January to August 2012. He left to join the N.C. GOP first as operations director then as chief of staff.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Graham asks Holder to intervene on voting law

Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Graham of Charlotte has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate North Carolina's new voter law.

“It’s a clear attempt at voter suppression, and it will disproportionately impact students, minorities, the poor and senior citizens,” Graham wrote Holder. “I urge you to come to North Carolina now and stop this law from taking our state backward. We should be approving laws that encourage every American to vote – not make it more difficult.”

The law, signed this summer by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, requires voters to show a photo ID starting in 2016. It also ends straight-ticket voting and same-day registration and compresses the period for early voting.

The Justice Department went to court in August to block a new voter ID bill in Texas.

Graham's letter comes a day before she's scheduled to talk about the law at the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro and at a panel at Johnson C. Smith University. Graham is among several candidates interested in running for the 12th Congressional District seat that would become vacant if Rep. Mel Watt is confirmed as head of the Housing Finance Agency. The district runs from Charlotte to Greensboro.