Daily dose: Money, money, money edition

ONE STOP VOTING AS OF SUN. OCT. 26: 326,042 votes cast; 48% Democrat; 31 percent GOP; 20% Unaffiliated/other

CAMPAIGN 2014
Are Our Courts for Sale? (New York Times column) -- One of the most shocking ads aired this political season was aimed at a woman named Robin Hudson. Hudson, 62, is not a congressional or Senate candidate. Rather, she is a State Supreme Court justice in North Carolina, seeking her second eight-year term. It wasn’t all that long ago when, in North Carolina, judicial races were publicly financed. … This ad in North Carolina, which aired during the primary season, was a startling departure. First, the money came from an organization called Justice for All NC — which, in turn, was funded primarily by the Republican State Leadership Committee. That is to say, it was the kind of post-Citizens United money that has flooded the political system and polluted our politics. And then there was its substance. “We want judges to protect us,” the ad began. The voice-over went on to say that when child molesters sued to stop electronic monitoring, Judge Hudson had “sided with the predators.” It was a classic attack ad. Not surprisingly, the truth was a bit different.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/opinion/joe-nocera-are-our-courts-for-sale.html

National Organzation for Marriage drops $100K for Tillis

Why would Thom Tillis would spend state funds defending NC's Amendment One after Supreme Court rulings struck down the law as unconstitutional? Why would Tillis spend those funds to hire a flunkie from the National Organization for Marriage to file briefs on the case?

Was it just pandering for extremist evangelical votes?

Tillis banking on "kitchen table" issues

In other words, he's waiting for Fox News to tell him what to scare people with:

But the political ripples of legislation the General Assembly has passed that reduced unemployment benefits, initiated new voting and abortion restrictions and rejected Medicaid expansion also awakened Democrats into action. And allegations from Hagan and her allies — amped with millions of dollars for television ads — that Tillis harmed public education wasn't easily shaken entering the fall.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Tillis said the path to persuading the undecideds to vote for him runs along kitchen-table issues and increased worries of average citizens that have grown under Democratic leadership. "I will be obsessed with fulfilling the promise that these Republicans running across the country are making today," Tillis said at the Raleigh rally.

What Tillis seems to be forgetting here: Hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians are struggling to put food on that kitchen table, and many of them owe that difficulty to the Republican Party's gross mistreatment of the unemployed. And dedicating yourself to serving the desires of Republicans from other states has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. That statement needs to be part of Hagan's ad blitz, like right now.

Daily dose: Rick Perry is roadkill edition

Rick Perry Compared N.C. Barbecue to 'Roadkill’ (LA Times) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry is learning all kinds of ways that words can come back to haunt a guy. … Perry’s in hot water in North Carolina for a remark he made all the way back in 1992, when he was Texas agriculture commissioner and Houston was hosting the Republican National Convention. According to "Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue," in 1992 he tried some Eastern North Carolina barbecue from King's of Kinston, which was served at the Republican National Convention in Houston. "I've had road kill that tasted better than that," Perry was quoted as saying. … “People across North Carolina are outraged over a presidential candidate's comments on ENC [Eastern North Carolina] barbecue,” said a story on the website of WCTI-TV, the region's ABC affiliate. ENC barbecue is known for smoking the whole hog and dousing it with a vinegar-based sauce. (Western North Carolina is known for using pork shoulders with a tomato-based sauce. In South Carolina, the preference for a mustard-based sauce makes North Carolinians crazy.)
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/27/news/la-pn-perry-barbecue-carolina-20110927

EARLY VOTING THROUGH SAT. OCT 25 – TOTAL 283,758; 49% Democrats; 30% Republicans; 20% Libertarians and Unaffiliated. The early vote total is 82% of where 2010 was on the same day. But, remember in 2010 there were 7 additional extra days of in-person early voting.

Thom Tillis is the worst of the worst

Here is what the Raleigh N&O wrote in this week's Notable Numbers on its editorial page:

66: The percentage of the tax cut passed by the 2013 General Assembly that will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of North Carolinians

$513 million: The original estimate for the cost of that 2013 tax plan

$1.1 billion: The latest estimate of its cost to the state

We have an oligarchy ruling our country. We have to oppose the Koch Brothers and Carl Rove and their minions like Thom Tillis. Under Speaker Tillis there was an income transfer from the typical and lower level taxpayers to the top 1% of NC taxpayers. Republicans are disdainful of any transfer from the wealthy to the poor, but they supported in NC a 660 million Dollar transfer of tax money-- our dollars--to the Oligarchy of the 1%. I can think of dozens of better uses for that money for the majority of North Carolina's citizens.

Dem ground game is on fire

UCDP rally

It is crunch time folks. I don't know what your local Democratic Party is doing, but here in Union County we are knocking on doors, sending personal notes to voters, and calling potential voters at a pace that beats efforts made in past presidential election years. We know that our chances are slim with voter registration numbers looking the way they do, but we are fighting to push that needle just a little more in our favor.

Greensboro N&R endorses Fjeld over crazy local pastor

A victory for common sense:

Our choice is Fjeld, who lives in Orange County and worked as general counsel for the UNC system after many years in private law practice.

The truth about Walker is a bit difficult to pin down. To an extent, Fjeld has a point. Walker promises to introduce legislation “clearly stating that all life begins at conception,” a position that raises tremendous potential complications. He opposes stem-cell research. He supports school vouchers, a flat tax and getting “government out of the way of our economy.” He also made disturbing remarks about bombing Mexico and President Barack Obama declaring “Sharia law and martial law,” which he later retracted.

A few weeks ago it appeared the N&R was gearing itself up to endorse Walker, going out of its way to apologize and rationalize his behavior. The fact they couldn't bring themselves to commit for him is very telling, and will hopefully have more of an impact than the usual newspaper endorsement would.

Daily dose: The $100 million-dollar Senate seat edition

Tillis, Hagan campaign ads take state into new realm (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- This is what a Senate race looks like when money is no object. The North Carolina Senate race is expected to pass the $100 million mark this year, blowing past the old record of $76 million spent in Massachusetts when Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown in 2012. But that will come as no surprise to anybody who has turned on their TV lately and seen a steady rat-a-tat-tat of attack ads – some of which actually contain grains of truth. But is anybody paying attention to the TV blitz? And is anybody benefiting beyond the TV station owners and shareholders?
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/10/25/4256331/christensen-tillis-hagan-campaign.html

Tipping the scales: NC's Judiciary shaped by out-of-state money

The final frontier of unchecked power:

But the mandatory retirement of Sarah Parker, the chief justice from 2006 until the end of August, opened up a spot on the bench. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Associate Justice Mark Martin, a Republican, to fill the vacancy until the Nov. 4 elections. Robert N. Hunter Jr., a Republican who was on the N.C. Court of Appeals, was then named to serve in Martin’s seat until the election.

That shifted the balance in September to five Republicans and two Democrats. There have been few cases decided since then that reflect what that shift might mean for politically charged lawsuits.

There may have been only time for a "few" cases, but they've been instructive enough. The Supreme Court is gearing up to become much more involved in cases with a partisan nature, pre-empting the lower Court of Appeals when it will be advantageous to do so. That "pro-active" approach to the law does not bode well for those seeking Constitutional clarification or redress, nor does having justices owe allegiance to DC political heavyweights:

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