Yesterday, North Carolina Democrats unveiled a slate of nine new candidates, including six women, for next year’s General Assembly elections. As Darren Jackson, the Dems’ House leader, said on Twitter: “It’s something we were seeing way before all the sexual harassment scandals started to break. After the 2016 election, a lot of women started turning out for events, indivisible groups, house parties. Many for the first time. Been seeing it for a year now.”

  • Right now, just 26 percent of the Senate, and 25 percent of the House, is female.
  • These candidates include: Sydney Batch, a Wake lawyer who will run against Republican Linda Williams for Paul Stam’s old seat; Linda Bennett, a former pharma exec running against Republican Donna White; Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss, who will run against Representative Larry Yarborough in Person County; Aimy Steele, who is running in the Charlotte suburbs against Linda Johnson; Gail Young, running against the odious neo-Confederate Larry Pittman; retired doctor and army vet Rick Foulke, running against Craig Horn; Dan Whitten, a mental health care worker, will run against Phil Shepard of Jacksonville; Terri LeGrand, a Wake Forest University employee running against Debra Conrad in Winston-Salem; and Martha Shafer, a hospital exec running against John Faircloth in Guilford County.
  • In addition, Cary Life editor Jennifer Ferrell has previously announced a bid to unseat Nelson Dollar in Wake County, though she’ll first have to get through Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria in the primary. Also, Jen Mangum, a professor at UNC-Greensboro, will run against Senate leader Phil Berger.

WHAT IT MEANS: There are a few factors at play here. One, as Jackson noted, women all over the country are seeking office in record numbers, a reaction to the misogyny of the Trump era. Two, Democrats clearly sense of a wave coming, which means more attractive candidates (e.g., Calabria) are willing to put their necks on the line because there’s a better chance of success; indeed, in waves you often see the minority party challenge nearly every seat, even the ones they likely won’t win, and sometimes score an out-of-nowhere upset. Three, the new legislative maps being created by special master Nathaniel Persily have breathed new life into Democratic hopes of breaking the supermajority.

  • However: House Speaker Tim Moore has proven himself a fundraising beast and a skilled politico. He won’t be easy to dethrone, even in a Dem-friendly environment.



Yesterday, the Treasury Department released its long-awaited analysis of the Senate tax bill, concluding—you might want to sit down for this—that the $1.5 trillion tax cuts will pay for themselves (and then some!) after a visit from the Magic Growth Fairy. You can read the whole analysis right here. (Don’t worry, it won’t take long. The Treasury’s in-depth and thoroughly vetted report is only a page and 470 words long.)

  • From the “report”: “In addition to a static score, [Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation] calculated the increase in government tax receipts in the Senate Finance tax plan due to growth. They estimated $408 billion of additional tax revenue. Adding this $408 billion to the static score leads to a change in total projected receipts under JCT’s assumptions of approximately $1 trillion on a current law basis. [The Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy] has modeled the revenue impact of higher growth effects, using the Administration projections of approximately a 2.9% real GDP growth rate over 10 years contained in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget.”
  • In other words, if we hit 3 percent growth in 2020 and never fall below that, everything will be fine.
  • Except: “To get to its $1.8 trillion revenue figure, the analysis assumes that long-term economic growth would reach an annual rate of 2.9 percent over the next 10 years, a level far higher than the 2.2 percent growth it previously expected over that timeframe—and far rosier than most other economic forecasts. (‘There is an old joke about economists debating how to get off a desert island. Step one, they agree, is ‘assume a boat’. The Treasury Dept just assumed a boat,’ The New York Times’s Jim Tankersley tweeted.)”
  • “Where did the new Treasury growth rate come from? The Trump administration’s 2018 budget—a budget that assumed that tax reform would not increase the deficit and that also included some different tax code changes than the ones being finalized by Congress, such as a corporate tax rate of 15 percent rather than 20 or 22 percent.”
  • From WaPo columnist Catherine Rampell: “White House officials and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly claimed that their tax plan will unleash such tremendous growth that the bill will pay for itself. Of course, no one remotely credible backs this up. Not the Tax Policy Center, not the Tax Foundation (which uses relatively rosy assumptions about growth), not the Penn-Wharton Budget Model, not Goldman Sachs, not the usual gang of Republican economists. Not even the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s nonpartisan internal scorekeepers on such matters, has found that the bill would be self-financing.”
WHAT IT MEANS: The Treasury Department’s one-sheet is an exercise in wishful thinking, not worth the paper it’s printed on, at least in terms of an actual analysis of the impacts a far-reaching tax bill would have on the American economy. But that wasn’t the point of it. The point of it was purely political—to give cover to any wavering Republican senators who might be scared off by huge deficit numbers. It seems unlikely that those senators would actually believe Treasury’s blatant hokum, but that doesn’t mean they won’t cite this “report” next year when they—almost all deficit hawks during the Obama administration—are criticized for supporting budget-busting tax cuts for corporations.

This post was excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here.

Correction: This post originally misidentified Darren Jackson as a Democratic Senate leader. He is the Democratic House leader.