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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Protesters disrupted the state House of Representatives in Raleigh again Friday morning, chanting "All political power comes from the people." It was the second day of protests during a surprise special session that includes bills to limit the powers of incoming Governor Roy Cooper.

Jayron32 of English Wikipedia

Plans by Republican lawmakers to limit the powers of incoming Governor Roy Cooper have drawn fire from Democrats. They call it a power grab and unconstitutional. But to others, it's all just part of North Carolina politics …  and history.

Governor-elect Cooper said in a press conference Thursday the legislature's moves are unprecedented. He even threatened a lawsuit.

“If I believe that laws passed by the legislature hurt working families, and are unconstitutional, they will see me in court,” Cooper said.

Update on Dec. 19

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill 4 into law. He said in a press release, “This legislation lays important groundwork to ensure a fair and ethical election process in North Carolina." It passed the state House and Senate along party lines. 

Original post on Dec. 15

The Neuse River inundated this hog farm in Goldsboro on Wednesday.
Rick Dove / Waterkeeper Alliance

Updated 10:18 p.m.
North Carolina lawmakers reconvened for a special session Tuesday, to consider a bill that would provide $201 million in disaster relief to communities affected by flooding from Hurricane Matthew and wildfires.  The bill easily passed the House of Representatives Tuesday night and now goes to the Senate, which returns at 8 a.m. Wednesday. 

Now that the dust has finally settled on North Carolina’s elections, some preliminary analyses can be conducted on the voting patterns in the state, which experienced a 2-to-1 split in the big three statewide contests between the two parties.

With Republicans claiming the U.S. presidential and U.S. senate contests, and the Democrats claiming the governor’s, it would appear that the era of split ticket voters has returned to the state.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced he's seeking $200 million in emergency funding during this week's special legislative session.
N.C. Governor's Office

Gov. Pat McCrory says he'll ask the General Assembly to approve $200 million in emergency funding during the special session that begins Tuesday. The money will help pay for cleanup and recovery after flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew in eastern North Carolina in late September and wildfires in western North Carolina since October.

Ella Scarborough talked before Monday's vote that made her Mecklenburg County Commission chair.
Charlotte Mecklenburg GOV Channel

Mecklenburg County commissioners Monday night ousted chairman Trevor Fuller and picked fellow  Democrat Ella Scarborough as the board's new leader.  Scarborough won the job in a 5-4 vote in which Scarborough and fellow Democrat Pat Cotham sided with the board's three Republicans.

Pat Cotham (left) and Trevor Fuller at a 2013 Mecklenburg County Commission meeting.
Todd Sumlin / Charlotte Observer

Mecklenburg County commissioners will be sworn in for a new term a special meeting Monday night, where they'll also elect their leadership for the next two years. The big question is whether commissioners will re-elect the current chair, Democrat Trevor Fuller. 

NC.gov

It's looking more likely that Democrat Roy Cooper will become North Carolina's governor. By state law, Republican Governor Pat McCrory has the right to demand a statewide recount, if the margin is less than 10,000 votes. He got ahead of the game and made that demand last week before counties had finalized all votes. But as the tally stands now, McCrory doesn't have that right. The margin has expanded to 10,256 with results from nearly all counties official.

North Carolina's governor's race is still up in the air, but the lead is widening for Democrat Roy Cooper.

Local boards of election have now certified results of the Nov. 8 election in 86 of North Carolina's 100 counties.  As of 4 p.m. Monday, Cooper led incumbent Pat McCrory by 9,558 votes, according to the state Board of Elections website.  [UPDATE: As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, with 91 counties in, Cooper's lead was 9,764.]

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