The Party Line

The Party Line is dedicated to examining regional issues and policies through the figures who give shape to them. These are critical, complex, and even downright confusing times we live in. There’s a lot to navigate nationally and in the Carolinas; whether it’s elections, debates on gay marriage, public school closings, or tax incentives for economic development. The Party Line’s goal is to offer a provocative, intelligent look at the issues and players behind the action; a view that ultimately offers the necessary insight for Carolina voters to hold public servants more accountable.

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James Hoyt Wilhelm
Charlotte Observer

The CMS board voted this week to name a park at Cornelius Elementary School after Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and Mecklenburg County native James Hoyt Wilhelm.

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No matter your preferred genre, be it rock, rap, country, pop, whatever, every live show follows a simple plan; the big draw goes last. 

That’s one thing that made Thursday’s campaign stop in Winston-Salem by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama interesting. Ok, one of many.

Yes, it was the first time the two women took the stage at a campaign event this year. And yes, it comes at a key time in a battleground state.

Politicians love to brag about their endorsements. Those statements of support from other candidates, police or labor unions, newspapers, whatever.

On Friday, October 28th, Republican Governor Pat McCrory received an endorsement from a newspaper which, at first blush, sounds great for him. The endorsement starts with this question, “Which candidate would do the most to help our local economy?”

This election season, we’ve heard a lot about the presidential race, and campaigns for U.S. Senate and governor in North Carolina – and for good reason. We haven't heard much about state legislative races even though the General Assembly has fueled some of the year’s biggest political stories. Think House Bill 2, plus redistricting and changes to voting laws that were struck down in federal court.

Early voting lines at Charlotte's Veterans Park in 2012.
Jennifer Lang / WFAE

The number of early votes cast in Mecklenburg County for the Nov. 8 election is behind the pace of early voting in the past two presidential elections, according to figures from the county board of elections. Turnout numbers should start rising faster: More early voting sites opened across North Carolina Thursday. That's welcome news for voters who were deterred by long lines at some polling sites last week.

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Arguably the most influential race on your Election Day ballot is between two men you’ve never heard of. Bob Edmunds and Mike Morgan.

Edmunds is a Republican. Morgan a Democrat. And the victor will decide whether liberals take over or conservative hold their majority on North Carolina’s Supreme Court.

We're now a little more than two weeks away from election day.  In our discussion this week with political analyst Michael Bitzer, we look at where the big races are in the polls and we also talk about this week's gubernatorial debate and the beginning of early voting.

Michael Bitzer

As we enter the homestretch of the 2016 election, much attention will turn from the horse race (i.e., the polls) to the turnout race. Much will be made about what kind of electorate will show up, based on racial dynamics, age, gender, and, from what seems like a major fault line for 2016, education.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

CMS finally has a concrete proposal to pitch as part of its student assignment process.  The district is taking its plan to diversify magnets on the road next week. CMS will host town hall meetings on Monday, October 17 at North and South Mecklenburg High Schools at 7pm.  Meetings are scheduled for the same time at West and East Mecklenburg High Schools November 7.

Michael Bitzer

A recent Charlotte Talks show discussed how polarization has increased in our politics, based on a recent Pew Research Center study of partisan animosity between voters, with one of the guests contending that Americans are ‘sorting’ themselves based on lifestyle and location, with an effect of living in ‘like-minded’ communities and voting in like-minded fashion.