Thursday, December 19, 2013

Two 12th District hopefuls get boost

We're still waiting for an announcement of U.S. Rep. Mel Watt's official resignation from Congress, but that hasn't stopped those running for his seat from trying to get a jump on their competitors.

State Rep. Alma Adams of Greensboro has picked up two big endorsements.

One is from Emily's List, a national organization that helps fill the coffers of pro-abortion rights, Democratic women. And the retired teacher also is backed by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

And Rep. Marcus Brandon of High Point has won the endorsement of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. The group could supply Brandon, who already led his rivals in fundraising at the end of September, with a national fundraising base.

Brandon, the only openly gay N.C. legislator, would be the first gay Congressman from a Southern state and the first gay African-American.

Six Democrats have announced for Watt's 12th District seat. Watt's resignation will trigger the scheduling of a special election by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

GOP Senate hopefuls not crazy about budget deal

Most of North Carolina's Republican U.S. Senate candidates oppose the budget deal hammered out between leaders of the GOP-controlled House and Senate Democratic leaders.

Not even House Speaker Thom Tillis, who's gotten money from the PACs from House leaders including Speaker John Boehner.

The House was voting late Thursday on the bill,  which would reverse some of last year's sequestration cuts. The New York Times reported that spending on defense and domestic programs would rise from $967 billion this fiscal year to over $1 trillion. However over 10 years deficits would go down, due in part to higher fees on air travel.

The bi-partisan compromise would forestall a second government shutdown next year.

Tillis wasn't available, but spokesman Jordan Shaw said he opposes it. "A trillion dollars in spending and debt is not the way to fix Washington's problems," Shaw said.

Other candidates panned the budget compromise.

"This budget deal is terrible," Cary physician Greg Brannon said in a statement. "It's yet another example of the lack of leadership in Washington. This deal won't reduce our $17 trillion debt by one cent, instead it continues to mortgage our children's future by replacing previously agreed to spending cuts with fairy tale cuts in the future."

Bill Flynn, a Forsyth County broadcaster, called his representative, Republican Virginia Foxx, and urged her to oppose the deal.

"Raising the deficit now only to cut it years down the road doesn't really address the issue of overspending  and federal growth that is hurting taxpayers now," he said.

Mark Harris, a Charlotte pastor, said before he can support the deal he wants to know if the defense cuts called for in the sequester would hurt the nation's national security.

"This bill currently being touted as a compromise shouldn't be viewed as a potential victory," he said in a statement, "rather the first of many steps that are desperately needed to fix the out-of-control spending that is pushing our debt and deficit through the roof."

Update 5:20: Heather Grant of Wilkes County said the deal doesn't go far enough.

"All the cuts come from projected spending in years 9 and 10. It does increase the DOD budget, but at the same time cuts military pay for 2014," she said in an email. "To me, this in and of itself is unacceptable. We cannot continue to punish those who volunteer to defend our way of life while refusing to reign in parts of government that are not even authorized under our Constitution."

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Pro-Kay Hagan PAC attacks Thom Tillis

A PAC aligned with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is attacking Republican Thom Tillis in a new ad -- and Tillis is making the most of it.

The Senate Majority PAC is spending a reported $750,000 on an ad defending Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on health care while attacking Tillis, one of five announced GOP candidates for her seat.

The PAC is run by former staffers of the Nevada senator. It's the second pro-Hagan ad they've run in North Carolina.

In it they defend Hagan's support of the Affordable Care Act, without ever referring to the act or to the name its commonly known by, Obamacare. Instead they tout her support of legislation that "forced insurance companies to cover cancer and other pre-existing conditions."

 Tillis, it says, "sides with insurance companies."

Tillis tweeted that "It is a badge of honor to be attacked by Harry Reid -- I'll work night and day to beat Kay Hagan and overthrow Reid's majority."

He also emailed a fundraising message to supporters.

"Clearly, North Carolina is ground zero in the effort to get rid of the liberal Reid majority that is keeping Obamacare in place and keeping our country on a path to fiscal disaster," he wrote.