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.

My previous post looked at what has become one of the key competitive races for a U.S. Senate seat, following the closing of the filing period. But it won’t be just the U.S. Senate seat that will be up for grabs in May and November, but also all 170 seats in the North Carolina General Assembly. Or so one would think.

In looking at the candidate filing and the past voting patterns of the district lines under the new maps, the overall contest for North Carolina’s state legislature really won’t be as competitive as most would expect. 

The eight Republican U.S. Senate candidates who hope to take on Sen. Kay Hagan in the fall can be divided into three tiers.

Typically, we would consider “top tier” candidates who have run and held public office before, meaning they have financial resources, campaign organization, and some name recognition.

­With the debt ceiling vote now behind the House GOP caucus, the consensus seems to be that the Speaker of the House surrendered yet another confrontation to the president. 

In doing so, the Speaker had to use the votes of all but two Democrats, along with 28 of his own party’s members, to secure the needed votes to pass a clean debt ceiling measure. 

Following the 2012 presidential defeat, Republicans sought to rebrand their image.  In a 100-page report, entitled the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” a series of recommendations were made, most notably about the messaging that the party sends to the electorate. 

Clay Aiken’s announcement to run in the Democratic primary and to ultimately face U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers in the state’s second congressional district certainly has gained the media’s attention.

However, that's likely all he will gain.

Yes, with his “American Idol” fame, Aiken certainly has name recognition.

The power of the presidency has been described as “the power to persuade,” but how presidents use that persuasion, not just within the government but also with the nation as a whole, can be a determining factor in their successful use of leadership.

In a recent report, a bi-partisan presidential commission provided several recommendations regarding how Americans vote and promoting “confidence in the administration of U.S. elections.”

Chaired by a Democrat and a Republican, the commission focused its recommendations on the voter registration, poll access, polling place management and voting technology.

President Obama visited Raleigh to announce the creation of a $140 million consortium of universities and companies to focus on advanced manufacturing.

But the president seemed to acknowledge in his remarks that he does recognize the coming mid-term election year, and is willing to confront what should be a more challenging year than he faced in 2013.

With thoughts turning to the New Year, I thought I would look back at the year of past blog posts that I wrote and what they may hold for the birth of a new political year.

The year of 2013 started with the U.S. House of Representatives and its speaker, John Boehner, coming out of a disastrous “Plan B” alternative to keep the country from going off the preverbal “fiscal cliff.” 

Politicians are notoriously prone to expressing hyperbole in their defense or attack on policies, especially when the policy comes from the opposite side of the political aisle.

But there are times when the hyperbole goes too far, and in our political discourse, it seems that some politicians can launch a broadside attack purely out of context and not deal with the resulting damage.

Recently, NC state senator Bob Rucho, Republican from Matthews, sent out the following Tweet: