The Party Line

The Party Line: Raising the Curtain on Carolina Politics, 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 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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The Party Line
3:23 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Measuring Voter Enthusiasm

Much has been made about the ‘enthusiasm’ gap that may be prevalent going into this year’s mid-term elections. Traditionally, the party in control of the White House has diminished enthusiasm about voting in mid-term elections. 

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The Party Line
10:56 am
Thu September 4, 2014

The Party Line: Expect More Of Same In U.S. Senate Race

With the first debate of the U.S. Senate contest now in the books, we got a clear sense of what we should expect for the final two months of the Tillis-Hagan race: More of the same that we’ve seen for the past several months. 

Going into the debate, the big question seemed to be whether Tillis and Hagan would appeal to their respective electoral bases, or to the middle of the electorate, where the small number of independents may be convinced to finally pay attention two months before the actual election?

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Politics
8:00 am
Wed September 3, 2014

First Hagan-Tillis Debate Tonight; What To Watch For

Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis
Credit Courtesy of Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis

Senator Kay Hagan and Speaker Thom Tillis meet in Raleigh tonight for their first televised debate. Political debates can make or break candidates no matter the office, and this one comes when polls show the candidates are in a statistical tie.

Both Hagan and Tillis have spent the last few days preparing for tonight’s oratorical prizefight. That’s why we asked the press secretary from both camps to help us with the pre-game. Meghan Burris is with "Team Tillis," Chris Hayden is with "Team Hagan."

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The Party Line
3:26 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Hagan, Tillis Begin Home Stretch Of Election

Even though the “general” campaign started immediately after Thom Tillis won the May primary, the real general campaign can start in earnest with the end of summer.   

And in the notorious “sixth-year” itch that voters can get against the president’s party, Hagan has added baggage that makes her climb to re-election even harder.

Hagan certainly benefited from the ground game that Obama brought to the state in 2008, but now she has to figure out how to develop a ground game with a president who isn’t on the ballot and has a low approval rating to boot.

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The Party Line
2:45 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Hagan-Tillis Race A Toss-up? Not So Fast

Now that we’re entering the home stretch of summer, North Carolinians will come back from the beach, get the kids ready for school, and some may start to pay attention to the looming general election.  So it might be wise to take stock of where things stand in what has been described as a “nondescript, virtually unnoticed, hugely important Senate race” and “the

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The Party Line
6:16 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Abuse Of Power Definition Depends On Who's In Charge

Michael Bitzer

Much has been made about the recent vote by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to authorize the Speaker to initiate a lawsuit “regarding the failure of the President … to act in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to implementation” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

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The Party Line
12:07 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Only A Matter Of Time Until Same-Sex Marriage Legal In NC

Michael Bitzer

Now that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Virginia’s marriage ban for same-sex couples, the question turns from “if” gay marriage will be allowed in North Carolina to “when” it will occur.

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The Party Line
1:54 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Republican Legislators Can Afford To Be Stubborn

I recently spoke to WFAE’s Tom Bullock for a story about the state budget impasse and its likely culprits - political safe districts.

As a political scientist, I always have to think of different factors that may explain what happens in politics, which makes my job that much more fun, or frustrating, depending on what we’re trying to understand and explain.

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The Party Line
5:41 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Unified Statehouse Is Clearly Divided

Michael Bitzer

The past few days have testified to the old political saying: there are two things you never want to watch being made — sausage and laws. 

And in the attempts to pass a readjusted state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, the North Carolina General Assembly has also played into another old saying: Actions speak louder than words.

In trying to resolve their fundamental differences on the $21 billion state budget, the state House and Senate formed what is often referred to as the “third chamber” of legislatures: A conference committee.

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The Party Line
1:11 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Let The Libertarian Media Hype Begin

Michael Bitzer

There are certain stories that just come out every election cycle like clockwork, akin to a consistent dog whistle for some reporters who really don’t want to take the time to investigate the past to discover what might be in the present.

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