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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VOTERS SHOULD PICK REPRESENTATIVES, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND: Thirty-one of the 50 winning candidates for the state Senate had victory margins that exceeded 20 percentage points – a landslide in any election. Just eight – 16% of the Senate, had victory margins at 10 percentage points or less. In the state House of Representatives, nearly 70% of the 120 members won with runaway victory margins that exceeded 20 percentage points. Just 19 races – barely 16% of the House (a familiar figure?) captured their seats with margins under 10 percentage points. The desires of a few outweighed the needs of the many. Gerrymandering protected nearly every legislator, regardless of their political affiliation, from any consequences at the ballot box. Our state cannot continue to have a legislature that is not accountable to the citizens.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-voters-should-pick-representatives-not-the-other-way-around/19409956/

Saturday News: Negligent to the bitter end

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CHERIE BERRY REFUSES TO CLASSIFY COVID 19 AS A WORKPLACE HAZARD: Berry noted that on Oct. 26, as an example, less than 1.5% of people who had contracted COVID-19 in North Carolina died from the virus. She wrote that most of those deaths were people over the age of 65, who are generally “no longer active in the workforce.” Public health officials contest this logic. “This is not a disease to gamble with,” Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Kelly Haight said in response to a request for comment on the letter from The News & Observer. Haight noted that “people of all ages play a role in transmission of COVID-19 to older North Carolinians.” There have been 280 reported clusters at workplaces, with 6,636 associated cases and 30 associated deaths through the end of November, according to the state health department, including 4,047 cases associated with meat processing plants alone.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article247463205.html

Friday News: Passing the baton

NC HOUSE DEMS CHOOSE ROBERT REIVES AS MINORITY LEADER: With Reives’ election, Democrats in both chambers of the General Assembly will be led by Black men for at least the next two years. Sen. Dan Blue, a Democrat from Raleigh, was reelected in November to continue serving in his current position of Senate minority leader, which he has held since 2015. Blue served as the first Black House speaker from 1991 until 1994. Rep. Darren Jackson announced earlier in November he wouldn’t run for reelection after holding the position for four years. Following that announcement, Reives said he would run, WRAL reported last month. “If he hadn’t offered to run, he would’ve been recruited to run,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Democrat from Greensboro. “People respect him so much on both sides of the aisle.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article247578125.html

Thursday News: Hand-to-eye

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BEASLEY CAMPAIGN DEMANDS A SECOND, MORE ACCURATE RECOUNT: Justice Paul Newby led North Carolina’s Supreme Court chief justice race after a statewide recount finished late Wednesday night, but the election isn’t over. Incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s campaign staff said in a news release they are demanding a hand-to eye recount, which differs from the recent recount tabulated by voting machines. The request came around 11 p.m. Wednesday. Following the first recount, Newby, a Republican, is ahead of Beasley, a Democrat, by 401 votes out of the nearly 5.4 million ballots cast. The recount dropped Newby’s lead by only five votes. Beasley’s request for the hand-to-eye recount has not yet been confirmed by the state board of elections, but she had only 24 hours after the recount ended to make the request. That countdown began at 9:41 p.m. Wednesday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article247502830.html

Wednesday News: Here we go again...

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MARK WALKER TO RUN FOR BURR'S SENATE SEAT IN 2022: Walker, 51, released a video announcing his campaign for Senate and has created a website. “It’s a little uncomfortable to talk about why you’re the best candidate. Nobody in the House can match our record as a conservative warrior, but also somebody who builds bridges,” Walker said in a telephone interview Tuesday. He is expected to be joined by several other candidates. Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of President Donald Trump, is considering a bid. Lara Trump grew up in Wilmington and attended N.C. State. Walker is finishing his third term in the U.S. House. Walker served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee earlier in his tenure and was a member of Republican leadership in his final term. (Not mentioned in this article: Pat McCrory is also sniffing around this seat)
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article247525260.html

Tuesday News: Long overdue

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ACTIVISTS WANT TO RAISE THE AGE OF MARRIAGE IN NC: In North Carolina, 14- and 15-year-olds can get married with parental consent due to a “pregnancy exception,” in which one person is pregnant or has become a parent. That’s the lowest age of consent in the United States, alongside Alaska. Registers of Deeds throughout the state have found that North Carolina has become a safe haven for predators to marry minors, in marriages similar to what Pollard says hers was. N.C. State Rep. Graig Meyer, representing Orange and Caswell counties, said his colleagues plan to introduce a bill at the beginning of the General Assembly session in January to raise the minimum age to marry. It will need a bipartisan coalition, which he does not think will be difficult.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article247369329.html

Monday News: Five thousand, two hundred forty

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COVID 19 HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC APPROACHING 2,000 MARK: At least 361,778 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 5,240 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 3,820 new COVID-19 cases, up from 3,444 reported the day before and the seventh-highest daily total since the start of the pandemic. The numbers highlight a surge of new cases in November. The state averaged fewer than 2,000 new cases a day in October. Twenty-one additional deaths were also reported Sunday. At least 1,885 people in North Carolina were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Saturday — surpassing the previous record of 1,840 reported the day before. About 8.6% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest day for which data are available.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article247494750.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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ELECTIONS BOARD MEMBERS' JOB IS TO ADVOCATE AND PROTECT VOTERS, NOT PARTISANSHIP: It’s happened again. A former state legislator gets placed on an important state board. That ex-legislator cares only about the wishes of the legislative leaders and their partisan agenda and NOT working on behalf of ALL the people of North Carolina. All too often in recent years, the narrow demands of legislative leaders are in stark contrast to the best interests and needs of North Carolinians. While Tucker claimed “Democrats filed 416 lawsuits nationally which created chaos, overwhelmed the post office,” he did not mention lawsuits and challenges filed by Republicans. He didn’t bring up the operational changes ordered by Postmaster Lewis DeJoy that jeopardized the timely delivery of ballots to voters or the return of those cast ballots to board of elections. Nor did he say that it was President Donald Trump, during an appearance in Wilmington, who famously urged North Carolina voters to cast ballots twice – a violation of state and federal law.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-elections-board-members-job-is-to-advocate-and-protect-voters-not-par...

Saturday News: There's a sucker born every minute

FRED ESHELMAN SUES TO RECOVER $2.5 MILLION DONATED TO TRUMP "VOTE FRAUD" EFFORT: North Carolina investor Fred Eshelman donated $2.5 million to Houston-based True the Vote to help the organization challenge election results in seven battleground states, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in a Texas federal court. The organization said it needed over $7.3 million for its Validate the Vote 2020 project. Eshelman, a donor to President Donald Trump and former pharmaceutical executive, created the Eshelman Institute for Innovation at the University of North Carolina’s School of Pharmacy, which also is named for him. Eshelman wants True the Vote to return his donation so the funds can be used in other efforts to challenge the results of the election.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article247456965.html

Friday News: Lock him up

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GREENVILLE RACIST WHO THREATENED BLACK FAMILY GETS TWO YEARS IN PRISON: A North Carolina man who pleaded guilty three months ago to charges that he threatened to shoot an African American family for renting a home has been sentenced to more than two years in prison. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the prison sentenced handed down to Douglas Matthew Gurkins, 34, on Monday, is followed by three years of supervised release. No hometown was given for Gurkins, and officials didn't say where the incidents occurred. Court documents said Gurkins drove to the family’s home, yelled racial slurs at them and told them they didn’t belong in the home. According to the documents, Gurkins threatened to shoot the mother and four children and any other Black people who entered the property. He then threatened the family with a metal rod, prosecutors said. The family moved out a few days later.
https://www.wral.com/prison-sentence-for-man-who-threatened-black-renters/19402857/

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