Good morning, hope you had a good weekend.
1. Something’s fishy here.
The state Board of Elections called an emergency telephone meeting last night, with only 90 minutes of public notice, to fill a vacant seat on the Wake County Board of Elections. There’s even more of a time crunch than usual because of a federal order to figure out the Wake County commissioner and school board districts after state Republicans screwed them up in an attempt to gerrymander the seats.
So, who did they pick? From WRAL’s Mark Binder:
Edwin Woodhouse will replace Brian Ratledge, who resigned last month to take a job as the top lawyer for the North Carolina Department of Administration.
Woodhouse ran for city council in 2015 and is the cousin of Dallas Woodhouse, the state Republican Party’s executive director. There was no discussion over his appointment.
Typically, state boards must call meetings 48 hours in advance. The state elections board notified the public less than 90 minutes before their meeting using emergency rules, saying in its notice that the rush was needed so the Wake County Board could take action as ordered by federal Judge James Dever, who is overseeing the case dealing with Wake County’s school board and county commissioner districts.
Nice. That doesn’t look sketchy at all.
Earlier this summer, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down legislative districts drawn for Wake County’s commissioners and school board seats. While the appellate panel expressed the sentiment that the county should not use the unconstitutional districts, it did not give the court a complete roadmap as to what to do. Time is running short for the court and county to put an election plan in place.
County boards of elections only have three members, two from the governor’s party, which is the Republican Party right now, and one from the other major political party, currently the Democratic Party.
Along with Republican Ellis Boyle and Democrat Mark Ezzell, Woodhouse will have to respond to Dever’s request that Wake County rank the ease of using various methods of holding an election this fall.
“The court’s focus is on having timely and orderly elections while being faithful to the Fourth Circuit’s mandate and governing precedent,” Dever wrote in his order, which was entered Sunday. “As such, the court requests that the Wake County Board of Elections rank the four options listed above, from most feasible to have orderly elections to least feasible to have orderly elections.”
Giving Wake County until 4 p.m. Monday to respond, Dever told to Wake County elections officials to rank four options in terms of how quickly and efficiently they could be carried out: using the districts the 4th Circuit declared unconstitutional; reverting to the old maps drawn in 2011 that lawmakers replaced with the unconstitutional maps; using illustrative maps put forward by Rep. Rosa Gill, D-Wake, during the trial; or using illustrative maps put forward by state legislative leaders in court filings last week.
Wonder which option the executive director of the state GOP’s cousin would prefer.
2. The Olympics.
The Olympics started in Rio on Friday, feces and all. Nineteen-year old swimmer Katie Ledecky did this:
In Carolina-related news, N.C. State swimmer Ryan Held anchored a gold medal-winning relay team that included Michael Phelps.
3. How’s the presidential race going?
Here’s some good news.
The N&O says that North Carolina is now a “must-win” state for Donald Trump, who just keeps failing harder and harder every day.
Republicans are also putting staff and resources into the state. “North Carolina is definitely important to our nominee’s path to 270,” said Kara Carter, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “That’s why the RNC has made such a significant investment in North Carolina.”
To win, Trump likely must get a majority in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania – where Obama won in the past two elections – and keep North Carolina in the Republican column. The New York Times recently reported that the Trump camp has “grown concerned” about the billionaire’s chances in North Carolina, due to its large population of African-American and college-educated white voters.
Clinton, according to longtime GOP strategist Carter Wrenn, is “going to force the campaign here a lot harder, and Trump’s going to have to respond to that.”
4. McCrory decides not to use the disaster relief funds he asked for to defend HB 2.
At the end of the session, Governor McCrory asked for an extra $500,000 to defend HB 2, to be taken from (go figure) the state’s disaster relief fund. Someone over at his office must have realized what awful PR that was and now he’s not doing that anymore. From the N&O:
Gov. Pat McCrory won’t be using the disaster-relief funds the General Assembly gave him for litigation over the use of bathrooms by people who consider themselves a different gender than is on their birth certificates.
That was the word Friday from the governor’s chief legal counsel, Bob Stephens.
Earlier this year the General Assembly moved $500,000 from an emergency and disaster-relief fund to the governor’s office to be used to defend against House Bill 2 lawsuits. However, McCrory didn’t ask for the transfer and didn’t sign the bill authorizing it; although it became law without his signature.
Stephens said available money from state department and agency budgets have been used, and will continue to be used, on bathroom litigation. That would include defending HB2 as well as challenging the Obama administration’s policies opening up school and government restrooms to accommodate access for transgendered people.
That’s it for today, have a good one.