Category Archives: Carolina & the World

Senate Race in N. Carolina: All-In-MAGA vs. Black Pioneer

Sep 23, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In competitive races across the U.S., Republican candidates are distancing themselves from their partys most controversial policies and people — namely, abortion and former President Donald Trump — as Election Day approaches.

Not Ted Budd.

Ted Budd

The North Carolina GOP Senate nominee is leaning into support for abortion restrictions and amity with the former Republican president as Democrats fight for an elusive victory in the Southern swing state.

Democratic optimism remains tempered given the states recent red tilt, but Democratic officials believe Budd, a lowprofile congressman who emerged as the GOPs Senate nominee largely because of Trumps backing, gives them a real chance at flipping a seat — and holding the balance of power in Washington — this fall.

Disregarding his critics, Budd appeared alongside Trump at a rally in Wilmington Friday night, where the former president praised the candidate as “a conservative, America First allstar in Congress” and urged his supporters to turn out to vote. Budd, in turn, thanked Trump for returning to the state.

The Budd campaign was eager to welcome Trump when the former presidents team called, according to adviser Jonathan Felts.

“Trump won North Carolina twice, and an inperson rally is helpful, Felts said, suggesting Trump would help drive turnout, especially “with unaffiliated and/or undecided voters concerned about the economy.”

Others arent so sure.

“The more Trump emerges, the more Trump is in the news, the better for Democrats,” said David Holian, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Indeed, Trump remains overwhelmingly popular with Republican voters but is less appealing to the moderates and independents who often decide swingstate elections. Trumps national favorable ratings have been roughly even with, or worse than, President Joe Bidens in recent weeks.

Still, some North Carolina Democrats are far from confident in a state where they have suffered painful losses in recent years.

Democratic skepticism comes despite the apparent strength of their Senate nominee, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley,who has a decided fundraising advantage, a record of outperforming other Democrats in statewide elections and a moderate message. She would be the states first Black senator if elected.

Democrat Cheri Beasley

Yet Beasley is also running against negative perceptions of her party.

Trumps rise has fueled a growing sense among some voters in North Carolina, along with those in many other states, that the national Democratic Party has lost touch with the daily struggles of the working class and similar voting blocs. The Democraticcontrolled Congress focus on climate change, for example, hasnt helped inspire voters like Talmage Layton, a 74yearold farmer from Durham.

Layton said he doesn’t know whether a North Carolina Democrat can make a difference on Capitol Hill in lowering gas prices or pushing back against climate change policies that other Democrats have embraced.

“That’s not anything against Cheri Beasley, Layton said after a recent meeting with Beasley. I’m a registered Democrat, and I would have no problem voting for a Democrat. But they’ve got to think about the little guy here.”

Not long ago, it looked as if the Democratic Party was poised to take over North Carolina politics.

In 2008, Obama carried the state, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1976, and Democrat Kay Hagan upset GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole. Political experts predicted the Democratic Party would step to dominance as a result of increasing urbanization and outofstate liberals moving in for tech jobs in the RaleighDurham and Charlotte regions.

But Republicans took over the state legislature for the first time in over 140 years following the 2010 election and retained it thanks to support from exurban and rural voters and favorably drawn districts. A decade later, Trump became a twotime North Carolina winner, though he won the 2020 election by just 1 percentage point.

While Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper managed to win reelection in 2020, Beasley was one of the party’s casualties. She lost a bid to remain chief justice to a Republican rival by just 401 votes.

Her nearmiss turned her into a rising candidate in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

In one sign of strength, Beasley has consistently raised more money than Budd. And she appears to be generating momentum by seizing on abortion to energize women and independents, relying on the same playbook Democrats have used elsewhere.

Budd, meanwhile, has been outspoken in his opposition to abortion. He cosponsored a House version of a national 15week abortion ban introduced by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham that even Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell distanced himself from.

“My opponent has been in Congress for six years, and every opportunity he’s had to vote for North Carolina, he’s voted against us,” Beasley charged after meeting with farmers at a produce market in Durham before Graham’s bill introduction.

Meanwhile, Republicans in competitive elections in states like Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Arizona have distanced themselves from their rigid antiabortion stances in recent weeks. Others have stripped their websites of references to Trump or his favorite talking points.

In Virginia, a Republican House candidate removed a Trump reference from her Twitter bio. In New Hampshire, Republican Senate nominee Don Bolduc abruptly reversed himself last week when asked about Trumps false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. After spending much of the last year echoing Trumps lies, Bolduc told Fox News he had done more research and concluded, “The election was not stolen.”

Meanwhile, Budds campaign refused this week to say whether he would accept the 2022 election results, having already voted to block certification of the 2020 election.

Such positions will almost certainly appeal to Trumps base, but political operatives say Budd needs sizable support from moderate, independent voters to be successful. Unaffiliated voters this year surpassed Democrats to become the largest bloc of registered voters in the state.

“Regardless of what your faith background is, you’re dealing with skyrocketing energy prices. You’re dealing with high grocery costs. You’re dealing with high crime. You’re dealing with economic uncertainty,” Budd said after speaking to pastors recently in Greenville. “And so I want to make life better for all North Carolinians and people in our country by the things that I support.”

As Budd has struggled to keep pace with Beasleys fundraising, outside groups have come to his aid.

The McConnellaligned Senate Leadership Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have spent $17.3 million combined on advertising opposing Beasley, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The Senate Majority PAC, which supports Democratic candidates, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have spent close to $4 million in North Carolina while investing far more in highprofile contests in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona.

“We’re committed to making sure voters continue seeing and hearing the truth about Ted Budd,” Senate Majority PAC spokesperson Veronica Yoo said.

An arm of the proabortionrights EMILYs List announced this month spending $2.7 million to criticize Budd on abortion as well.

During a recent stop at Perkins Orchard in Durham, Beasley chatted with farmers who gathered around picnic tables and near fresh pumpkins for sale. Some said afterward they were glad to see her interest in their plight.

Jason Lindsay, 34, a firstgeneration Black farmer from Rocky Mount, said he’s been frustrated with the divisive political environment but is encouraged by Beasley.

“Her temperament here today gave me the first sign of hope that I’ve had in a long time, he said.

The Long Read: lynching Prevented, Lynchings Abetted; North Carolina 1920

On Thursday August 25, 2022, we noted the anniversary of the lynching of John Jeffress in Alamance County NC in 1920.

It turns out, there was more to this story, which further digging has at least partially exposed. I want to share that here.

This episode could be said to have begun a month earlier, in mid-July, with pistol shots and bursts of machine gun fire in downtown Graham, the county seat. This confrontation serves as our opening segment:

Act One: The Battle of Alamance Court House

On Sunday July 18,1920, North Carolina’s adjutant general issued the following order:


No. 200.

July 18, 1920.

1. Under the provisions of Section 11, Chapter 200, Public Laws of North Carolina, Acts of 1917, the Commanding Officer of the Machine Company, 1st North Carolina Infantry, Durham, N.C., is hereby directed to assemble his Company and to report to the Sheriff of Alamance County, for the purpose of upholding the law of the State, and guard the jail of said county until relieved by proper authority.

2. Upon completion of this tour of duty, the Commanding Officer will make full report to this office of the duty performed. . . .

By order of the Governor:

J. Van. B. Metts,
The Adjutant General

The “machines” mobilized by the unit were machine guns, hence the unit’s nickname, “the machine gun company.”

The Governor who gave the order was Thomas W. Bickett, who served from 1917 to 1921, through World War One.

In these years, the Great Migration of Black citizens heading north, seeking better jobs and some refuge from racist terror, was burgeoning: as many as 20,000 Blacks had left the state during the war. Governor Bickett tried to slow the exodus by reminding Blacks about racial violence in the North, and pointing out that there had been no [recorded] lynchings in NC during his time in office.

Any sense of racial calm, however, was soon shattered: the war’s end in Europe in November of 1918 was followed by a wave of violent race riots and massacres in dozens of U. S. cities, during what Black author and activist James Weldon Johnson called the “Red Summer” of 1919.

It was red with the blood of the dead and injured; red with the flames of burning Black-owned homes, farms and businesses; and “Red” with panic over a feared leftist “Red” revolutionary uprising — which never actually happened, but which triggered the notorious “Palmer Raids” in  which thousands of suspected radicals were rounded up. The raids were led by U. S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer (a Philadelphia Quaker, by the way), and added to the seething racial tensions.

North Carolina was largely spared from this round of major outbreaks, though riots erupted in Norfolk, Virginia and Knoxville Tennessee; too close for comfort. And Bickett’s no-lynchings-in NC boast was soon quashed, when George Taylor was lynched in Wake County (near Raleigh) in November 1918, and again on July 7, 1920,  when a masked mob stormed the jail in Person County north of Durham, and lynched Ed Roach, who had been arrested on a charge of assaulting a white woman.

Roach worked on a road crew, and his employer told the Durham Herald Roach had been at work at the time of the alleged assault. This posthumous alibi didn’t help Roach, but did embarrass authorities. And not even two weeks later, a similar situation was boiling over only two counties away, in Alamance: Continue reading The Long Read: lynching Prevented, Lynchings Abetted; North Carolina 1920

Our Work Cut Out For Us – A Preview of 2024 Governor’s Race in NC

WRAL TV News — State @NCCapitol Politifact

In memoir, NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson mulls 2024 run, calls for taking science, history out of elementary schools

Updated August 23, 2022

By Bryan Anderson, WRAL state government reporter

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is dropping more hints about a potential run for governor in 2024. And, if elected, he says he’d work to keep science and history out of some elementary school classrooms. He says he’d also seek to eliminate the State Board of Education, end abortion and work to prevent transgender people from serving in the military.

In a forthcoming memoir, Robinson explains how he drew his views from a wide range of life experiences, beginning with a troubled upbringing and a violent father. Little did he know that a fiery 2018 speech about gun rights at a Greensboro City Council meeting would set him on a journey to become the state’s top Republican executive office holder and first Black lieutenant governor.

WRAL News obtained an advance copy of the book,“We Are the Majority: The Life and Passions of a Patriot,” which is scheduled to be released Sept. 13. Here are seven takeaways: Continue reading Our Work Cut Out For Us – A Preview of 2024 Governor’s Race in NC