TWO majority leaders? (NC’s “conservative revolution” marches on)

          The “honorables” on Jones Street are giving us quite an eye-opening preview of where things might be headed: House Republican leaders are considering creating two majority leader positions for the next legislative session in which they will command a supermajority. The move — floated in an email to the caucus members today, including those newly elected Tuesday — would divide the House GOP leader’s responsibilities into a day-to-day floor leader and a bigger picture “development position” that will handle communications, professional development and campaign fundraising. The House GOP will meet Nov. 17 at the Brownstone…

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Campaign 2012: What’s cooking in Deb Butler’s kitchen?

        *I am sure that the voters of one New Hanover County-based state senate district were looking for a deep, detailed discussion of gynecological practices during this campaign season.* During the evening news, Democrat Deb Butler has been introducing area voters to the transvaginal ultrasound wand and trying — somehow — to convince them that it matters more  than all of this unemployment and economic decay plaguing The Old North State. The eeriest part of the ad is that it is set in ol’ Deb’s kitchen.   (That should give you pause prior to accepting a dinner invitation…

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Thom Tillis? DONE. Skip Stam? DONE. (Any questions?)

          I button-holed a Republican legislator recently to try and get some of the inside skinny on the happenings on Jones Street.  This House member told me that his caucus’s polling shows a strong likelihood of a continued GOP majority in the General Assembly.  I asked him about the likelihood that Thom Tillis will be re-elected speaker. He told me: “Tillis is done.  He better enjoy the big office and the front row seat while he’s got it.  It won’t be for much longer.  When the election is done, and we’re still in control, I predict…

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‘Pay To Play’ alive and well on Jones Street

When the GOP majority took over the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011, we were promised an end to pay-to-play.  Pay-to-play has typically meant the shakedown of lobbyists and other interested parties for campaign donations in exchange for legislative attention to their concerns. The GOP promise apparently didn’t mean ending the practice of shaking down individual legislators for cash in exchange for committee assignments. The more cash you pony up to your chamber’s leaders and the party —  the better committee assignments you get.  Getting assigned to a key committee with a jurisdiction important to your constituents — or even…

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Campaign 2012: Folks who KNOW clue us in on where things stand in NC

During the past few days I’ve had the chance to pick the brains of a few of the wise men — and women — (Read: political insiders) on both sides of the aisle about what things look like, right now, for the November races. I found bipartisan agreement that McCrory and Romney are slam dunk winners with North Carolina voters.  Team Obama is still fighting for the state, but have given up hope on the scandal-plagued state Democrat Party and Lt. Governor Walter Dalton. The Council of State is a little more up-in-the-air.  Fundraising difficulties have plagued GOP challengers for…

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Another member of the Richard Morgan clique abandons ship

Now that their fearless leader has been reduced to political impotence and irrelevance, the group of General Assembly Republicans who sided with Richard Morgan to form an alliance with Jim Black is slowly but surely ditching their digs on Jones Street.  (A few of those folks lost primary challenges in 2004 and 2006. ) Some are heading off to greener pastures (see Brubaker, Harold) and others are dealing with bigger problems allegedly tied to efforts to cash in (see LaRoque, Stephen). Debbie Clary and Mark Hilton retired from the legislature amid public disclosure that they had received taxpayer-financed loans from LaRoque’s…

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Emails from Speaker Tillis, other lawmakers raise suspicions of lobbyist shakedowns

        Some lobbyists recently received an email from the reelection campaign of House Speaker Thom Tillis asking for money.  State law prohibits lawmakers from soliciting lobbyists for campaign contributions.   Bob Hall, with Democracy North Carolina,  has chimed in on the episode quite passionately: Despite campaign promises to stamp out “pay to play” politics in Raleigh, House Speaker Thom Tillis is in the middle of what can only be called a shakedown of lobbyists for campaign cash. His political director sent an email to many lobbyists with a clear message: get your PAC to send us a…

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October trial for Thom Tillis ally Stephen LaRoque? (Wait. There’s an election in NOVEMBER …)

The folks at NCPolicyWatch — who have led the way in reporting on corruption allegations against Richard Morgan and Thom Tillis ally Stephen LaRoque — say that it looks good for LaRoque to hit the courtroom the month before the big general election vote.  LaRoque, a former GOP legislator,  was appointed to head the powerful House Rules Committee by Speaker Tillis.  The charges against LaRoque stem from allegations of mismanaging federal funds by his private business. If this holds true, the next sounds you will hear from the direction of Jones Street will be a lot of prayers AND puckering of various…

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NC House district 92 GOPer Jeter: I’m no Thom Tillis puppet!

            Charles Jeter, the winner of the July 17 GOP runoff for NC House district 92,  says he wants to clear the air about his relationship with House Speaker Thom Tillis: “I was not part of the Tarte-Anarella campaign (NC Senate 41 GOP runoff).  I don’t want to be lumped into that.  There were personal attacks in that race that I believe went way beyond the pale. I got no strategy advice, endorsements, nor money from Thom Tillis.  I have no knowledge of Thom Tillis being involved in this campaign, prior to the conclusion of…

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McCrory “pleased” with Thom Tillis

          Yep.  You read that right.  The Charlotte Observer has the details: The response by House Speaker Thom Tillis to the indictment of a fellow Republican lawmaker drew praise Friday from GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory. But his opponent, Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, said the indictment of Rep. Stephen LaRoque makes it harder for McCrory to criticize a Democratic “culture of corruption.” “It’s harder for (McCrory) to say that with a straight face given what’s going on,” Dalton told reporters. “There are examples in both parties … that neither side should continue.” The question came…

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