North Carolina's U.S. Senate race is a tossup

We desperately want blue, but purple will do (for now):

Running in a key presidential battleground, Tillis has to hope things go Trump's way here. The first-term incumbent, who only narrowly won in 2014, ended up avoiding a contentious primary but had to spend money and political capital in the off-year to do it. He didn't make many friends with an infamous flip-flop on Trump's border wall, first penning a Washington Post op-ed against use of an emergency declaration to secure funds for the wall and later, in an appeal to Trump, reversing his position.

He's up against former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, a member of the Army Reserves. It'll be an expensive race, with forces on both sides of the aisle already having booked millions of dollars for TV advertising. Cunningham is outpacing the incumbent on fundraising, bringing in $7.4 million to Tillis' $2.6 million in the second quarter.

CNN has NC as their #4 state for a "flip the Senate" category, but I believe it is the most critical state. Support for Tillis in GOP circles is lukewarm at best, and if he is able to squeak by again, it would not bode well for other NC races. We have to watch out for national conservative PACs swooping in, but we also need to prepare for homegrown shenanigans:

Monday News: Two thousand, six hundred ninety two


NC COVID 19 CASES SURPASS 166,000, LESS THAN 1,000 HOSPITALIZED: At least 166,127 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2,692 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 1,051 new COVID-19 cases, down from 2,585 the day before. The health department said the Saturday’s new cases included about 1,000 positive tests from early August that LabCorp had just reported. As of Saturday, the latest date available, health officials said nearly 9% of tests were positive. State health officials have said that number should be 5% or lower. At least 917 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, down from 965 on Saturday.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NC LEADERS SHOULD BE MODELS OF PUBLIC TRUST, NOT RULE DODGERS: It is past time that North Carolina move away from the notion that government service was an opportunity, with access to insider information, to exploit it for personal and partisan gain. Lewis said he wanted to “put an unfortunate chapter behind me.” He apologized for his mistakes. But his statement didn’t apologize for abusing the privileged role he’d been granted by voters for the more than 17 years he served in the legislature. He should apologize to those voters for failing the trust they placed in him and for abusing his office and campaign to help himself. The General Assembly in particular and more broadly state government, needs a thorough examination of ethics standards for legislators, all other elected and appointed state and local officials. Citizens must be assured that the only interest of public officials is the betterment of the state and its people NOT their personal political and economic enrichment.

Saturday News: Immoral majority

RICK GUNN FACES ALIENATION OF AFFECTION LAWSUIT OVER AFFAIR WITH EMPLOYEE: A lawsuit accuses a North Carolina state senator of breaking up a marriage by having an affair with his legislative assistant. Arthur Johns’ lawsuit accuses Sen. Rick Gunn of having an affair with Johns’ wife, Karen, leading to their divorce. The five-term senator, a Burlington Republican, is not seeking re-election. He announced that decision in November 2019, four months after the Johnses divorced. The lawsuit says Gunn employed Karen Johns until recently. She has worked in the legislature as a legislative assistant since 2011, according to her LinkedIn profile. As Gunn’s legislative assistant, she was encouraged to spend time with the senator outside his working hours, respond to his constant communication immediately and travel alone with him, the lawsuit alleges.

Serve and protect whom? Alarming trends in law enforcement


Battle lines have been drawn, and crossed:

A North Carolina police department supervisor has been disciplined after saying officers confronting demonstrators protesting George Floyd’s death in June were about to “hammer” them.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police sergeant was suspended for two weeks without pay after comments he made during the June 2 protest in which officers deployed tear gas, pepper balls and other chemical agents against largely peaceful demonstrators, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Bolding mine, because police departments are increasingly reversing the "cause & effect" formula in their approach to keeping the peace during protests. They are trying to gain the "upper hand" by using deceptive tactics, like concealing their numbers and then exploding into a "shock and awe" show of force. Which includes preemptive violence to discourage violence, the logic of which is questionable at best. On-the-ground supervisors (like the idiot above) are given more and more discretion so they can "adapt to changing conditions," but in order for that to work well, it requires integrity and intelligence all through the ranks. Which brings us to another (apparently not alarming enough) trend that should have been dealt with 16 years ago:

Friday News: Free at last

RONNIE LONG RELEASED AFTER BEING WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED FOR 44 YEARS: In the mid-1970s, Long was a 20-year-old Black man living in Concord when he was accused of raping a white woman. He was convicted in 1976 by an all-white jury that included members who had connections to the victim — the 54-year-old widow of a former textile executive at Cannon Mills, the town’s biggest employer. Long was sentenced to 80 years in prison. His release comes as the country — and Long’s home state — find themselves engaged in a renewed debate over how Black men and women are treated by police and the courts. Long’s attorneys have said that more than 40 fingerprints collected from the rape scene were never shared and did not match Long’s. Semen samples also were never disclosed to the defense. They later disappeared.


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