Roy Cooper states he will stop defending Amendment 1

Yeah, this isn’t Durham specific, but it’s pretty big news. In light of the 4th Circuit ruling striking down Virginia’s ban on same sex marriages earlier today, Roy Cooper has stated he’ll stop defending NC’s own anti-equality Amendment:

“It’s time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward, knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the United States Supreme Court,” he said.

It will be interesting to see the grandstanding by GOP legislators in response, and whether they pursue any additional retaliation against the AG’s office. Cooper, who is arguably the most prominent Democrat in NC politics (and an incredibly likely candidate for Governor in 2016), has tried very hard up to now to defend the Amendment in about the weakest way possible, a tightrope act which has allowed him to avoid direct confrontation with the legislature (but hasn’t exactly made him many friends on either side of the issue).

Although the legislature and the Governor can’t get rid of Cooper, they have various ways to reduce his headcount and otherwise reduce or obstruct the mission of the attorney general’s office.

One of the more interesting possible outcomes here is the Senate trying to step in to defend the law in lieu of Cooper. Last session the legislature granted itself the power to represent NC in lawsuits, and this is exactly the reason why they did so. Cooper has in the past maintained that the law wouldn’t apply in Constitutional scenarios, but the Senate could try to do just that, and in turn that move would probably itself be challenged in court.

People voted! Here’s who we voted for!

I know you’ve been waiting for my insights on the election, sorry about the delay! I think the big story here is that the Committee on the Affairs of Black People doesn’t seem to be as big a factor as it once was in Durham politics. They went against the People’s Alliance in several cases, and they didn’t win a single one of them.

Turnout was pretty good for a midterm election at around 15%, despite the changes to early voting procedures.

School board (nonpartisan):

  • Mike Lee defeated long time incumbent Omega Curtis Parker in District 1. Lee was endorsed by every political group. I guess Parker didn’t make many friends.
  • Sendolo Diaminah won in District 2. Diaminah was endorsed by the Indy and the Alliance, and he was outspent by his competitors, but he did a lot of community outreach personally.
  • Matt Sears won District 3. Like Sendolo, he was endorsed by the Indy and the Alliance.
  • Natalie Beyer ran unopposed in District 4 and defeated “Other”

DA (Democrat, running with no other party in opposition):

Sheriff (Democrat, running with no other party in opposition):

  • Mike Andrews, the incumbant (who was appointed after Worth Hill retired in 2011), won handily. Andrews was endorsed by everybody but the Committee.

District Judges (nonpartisan):

  • Doretta Walker will face Henry Pruette in the general election. Walker had a large lead in the primary.
  • Nancy Gordon will face Fred Battaglia in the general election. The primary was very close, so this will be one to keep an eye on (also, they have split endorsements from the Alliance and Committee)

NC House (Republican):

  • Rod Chaney easily defeated his challenger and will face incumbent Graig Meyer in the fall for District 50.

NC Senate (Republican):

  • Milton Holmes narrowly won his primary in district 22 and moves on to face incumbent (and former City Councilman) Mike Woodard.

US House (Democrat):

  • Incumbent Butterfield easily defeated his sole Democratic challenger in District 1.
  • Laura Fjeld (endorsed by the Alliance) defeated Bruce Davis in District 6. Davis was endorsed by both the Indy and the Committee.
  • Brenda Cleary readily defeated her sole challenger in the 13th district. Cleary will face incumbent George Holding in the general election.

US House (Republican):

  • Arthur Rich narrowly won in District 1.
  • Mark Walker and Phil Berger Jr. were the top two candidates in a large District 6 field, and they’ll face off in a runoff in July.

US Senate:

  • Unsurprisingly, this will be Tillis vs Hagan.

If you forgot to early vote, you can still regular vote

Just a brief reminder that today is the last day to vote in the primary election. You can find your polling place at the Durham county web site. Polls close at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

The turnout in early voting was low, as is typical for midterm elections, but it doesn’t seem to have been substantially impacted by the shortened early voting schedule.

Below is the list of endorsements, in case you need them. For some reason you are not allowed to use a telephone in the polling place, so you might want to print it out ahead of time if you’d like to refer to it when you vote.

Protip: in NC, Independents can select which party ballot they receive when they arrive at the polls. I won’t tell you Independents how to cast your own votes, but I’ll mention that if you choose the Republican ballot you get the chance to vote in a hotly contested primary race which will determine who runs against Hagan for US Senate this fall.


Indy Week Durham People’s Alliance Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People Friends of Durham
US Senate (D)
Kay Hagan Kay Hagan Kay Hagan
US Senate (R)
Ted Alexander
US Senate (L)
Sean Haugh
US House 1 (D) GK Butterfield GK Butterfield GK Butterfield
US House 1 (R) Arthur Rich
US House 6 (D) Bruce Davis Laura Fjeld Bruce Davis
US House 6 (R) Zack Matheny
US House 13 (D) Brenda Cleary Virginia Conlon
State Supreme Court (NP) Robin Hudson Robin Hudson Robin Hudson
NC Senate 22 (R) Herman Joubert
NC House 50 (R) W Lewis Hannah Jr.
Durham DA (D) Brian Aus Roger Echols Roger Echols Brian Aus
District Court 14 – Gordon seat (NP) Nancy Gordon Nancy Gordon Fred Battaglia Jr. (???)
District Court 14 – Walker seat (NP) Henry Pruette Doretta Walker Doretta Walker
Board of Education – District 1 (NP) Mike Lee Mike Lee Mike Lee Mike Lee
Board of Education – District 2 (NP) Sendolo Diaminah Sendolo Diaminah Donald A Hughes Terrence Ray Scarborough
Board of Education – District 3 (NP) Matt Sears Matt Sears Deborah L Bryson (???) Lisa Gordon Stella
Board of Education – District 4 (NP) Natalie Beyer Natalie Beyer Natalie Beyer
Sheriff (D) Mike Andrews Mike Andrews Clarence Birkhead Mike Andrews

Possum Drop it like it’s hot! For realz this time!

Well, it’s the last day of 2013, and there’s only one way to ring in the new year: dropping a possum!

A Superior Court judge will allow Brasstown’s annual Possum Drop to go ahead despite opposition from animal rights activists.

You may recall that in one of his first acts as governor McCrory signed a bill into law that allowed the return of the Possum Drop, and in one of my first posts as blogger I wrote up an extensive retelling of the saga, which you might (or might not) find amusing. This ruling marks the end of the legal shenanigans from the likes of PETA , and so the beloved hillbilly tradition is back in earnest.

I hope you guys had a good 2013! I thought it was pretty sweet. See ya next year.

McCrory goes 0 for 2 on vetoes

WRAL is reporting that the Senate just finished what the House started yesterday, voting to override both of McCrory’s vetoes. Now some welfare recipients will be required to take drug tests, others will face background checks, and brown people can be thrown in jail for twenty four hours due to excessive brownness. Oh, and E-Verify won’t be enforced in agribusiness operations.

There were few defectors, which speaks to just how little say McCrory has here at the end of the day. Like the rest of us, he’s just along for the ride to crazytown.

Day of reckoning for Kent Corner rezoning and McCrory vetoes

First up, Self-Help’s long delayed rezoning request which would bring Durham Central Market and others to the corner of Kent and WCH should finally be voted on tonight. The request spans items number 21 and 22 on the agenda, and due to David Anthony the vote requires a three fourths supermajority. If you’d like to watch live, you can try public access on TWC, or you can just wait for it to show up in the video archives. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 101 City Hall Plaza.

Turning to Raleigh, it’s a big day for McCrory, as we get to see how the legislature will respond to his pair of vetoes. Both pieces of legislation passed by large margins initially, but McCrory has launched a PR campaign to try and build support for his position, and it will be interesting to see who (if anybody) breaks ranks to stand with the gov.

The immigration bill is particularly divisive, as the agricultural industry is strongly in favor (since it allows them to hire illegal immigrants and bypass everify) despite the complaints of some conservative groups who balk at the idea of allowing illegal immigrants to find work in the state. The bill has made for some strange bedfellows, as anti-immigrant activists oppose it for the everify loophole, while civil libertarians oppose it for allowing LEOs to hold people for up to 24 hours merely on the suspicion of being an illegal immigrant (read: you can be thrown in jail for 24 hours for being brown).