#ncpol: Wednesday morning quarterback

fatlady$100 million for THIS?  Somebody needs to talk to the manager or ask for a refund or something. 

The smoke has cleared. The campaign paraphernalia is still littering the road shoulders.  And we’ve got two to six years (in some cases FOREVER) to contemplate or endure the choices that were made yesterday.  Let’s get started:

US Senate: Either way this went, history was going to be made.  If Hagan had won, it would have been the first time in 46 years that a Democrat has been re-elected to a US Senate seat in North Carolina.  Thom Tillis’s 48-47 victory gives us the first US senator from North Carolina  — since we’ve been allowed to vote on them — to make it to DC without ever reaching the 50 percent mark.  (I’ve been following the politics game for about 26 years and I don’t remember another instance.  Some of you out there who have been around longer MAY remember an exception.) 

There are only 25,655 registered Libertarians in North Carolina. Yet, their candidate Sean Haugh netted 108,177 votes in Tuesday’s election. (There were also 5,231 write-ins.  Wake had 563, while Mecklenburg had 470 of those.)   Right now, Hagan and Tillis are separated by ONLY 48,501 votes. 

Turnout made a huge difference in yesterday’s vote.  Hagan won the larger counties like Mecklenburg, Guilford, Wake, Forsyth and Cumberland.  Tillis eked out a 60-vote victory in New Hanover County, and suffered a close (2000 vote) loss in Robeson County – – a locality normally a source of a plethora of Democrat votes.  Cases like that MAY have made a huge difference.  isitover

Judicial: It looks like my theory about voters going with the candidate whose last name comes first alphabetically held.  (Mark Martin AND John Tyson — who benefited from special NCGOP attention – -were the exceptions.)  We need to either (1) step up voter education about judicial candidates or (2) conservatives need to start recruiting candidates with last names that start with A.

General Assembly:  We knew about the leftist BluePrint conspiracy for more than a year.  We KNEW the left was going full-bore slanderous on the GOP majority on Jones Street.  And the state party ended up letting them do it pretty well unopposed.

Thom Tillis ran for the US Senate while clinging for dear life to his speaker position for as long as he could.  That encouraged Team Hagan to turn its guns on the legislature.  So, a lot of folks in the legislature — normally used to running low-key races — were caught in the crossfire between Thom Tillis & The RNC and Kay Hagan & the national left.

The effort to demonize the legislature apparently backfired.  In the House, it appears Republicans have lost FOUR seats. (Ironically, all four were held by strong Tillis allies.)   This leaves the House Republicans with 73 seats — a supermajority by ONE seat. (It requires 72 votes to override a gubernatorial veto.A simple majority is 61 votes) So, there appears to have been no Tillis coattails for the lower chamber.

On the Senate side, Phil Berger’s troops appear to have held all of their seats and captured ONE Democrat-held seat.  That increases the size of the GOP caucus to 34 of the chamber’s 50 seats.  (It requires 30 votes in the state Senate to override a gubernatorial veto.  You need 26 votes to claim a majority in the chamber.)

Constitutional Amendment:  I am still floored that this amendment passed.  I can’t believe people were so ready to vote to modify a right so specifically outlined in the US Constitution.  Perhaps, people were still in the mindset from May 2012. (That amendment was good, so this one must be too.)   I’m hoping someone will challenge this in court.  If something (gay marriage) not even addressed in the US Constitution can be found constitutional, this infringement on a specifically-IDed right has GOT to be unconstitutional.  

35 thoughts on “#ncpol: Wednesday morning quarterback

  1. The judicial races baffle me. In a year in which Dem turnout was supposed to be at a 30-year low, we lose 5 of 7 statewide contested judicial races? It’s not just last names, it’s the sex of the candidate. In 3 races we lost, we had Republican men losing to Democrat women. We have a number of conservative DAs and local judges in NC. We need to recruit them to run for these appellate court seats.

    I could be wrong, but I think the state party largely left it up to local county parties to promote the judges. For some counties, that’s great. Others don’t even know we elect judges. I saw poll handouts that did not have all of the conservative judges, or listed them in the wrong order, or did not list them with the name that appeared on the ballot (if your candidate is Bob Hunter, your poll sheet cannot say “Robert N. Hunter, Jr.” Voters will think that’s a different person.) I think I even saw some that listed the judges for the wrong COURT. Some counties had judges on the back side of their handouts. Folks – put everything on one side unless you’re handing out pre-marked sample ballots. Some counties didn’t even have volunteers at the polls. NOT acceptable.

    Also, I could be wrong, but I’m not sure the judges campaigned as a team like they did in 2010 or 2012. In 2010, the judges all ran together, tried to appear at as many events together as they could, and even rode together on Richard Burr’s bus. In 2012, all 4 conservative judicial candidates went in together and bought palm cards to hand out to voters listing all 4 of their names, in the order they would appear on the ballot, and using the correct name and office listed on the ballot. I didn’t see any of that this year. In fact, I heard that one conservative judicial candidate’s media person split TV ad time with a Democrat candidate. That Democrat candidate was publicly endorsed by prominent Republicans. WTH?

    Also, many poll volunteers were saying, “Would you like a list of Republican candidates?” No, no, no. People hear that and they think Tillis, Rouzer, McHenry, etc. Folks going into the polls know if they’re voting “Republican” or “Democrat.” They need to hear, “would you like a list of conservative judges” or “do you know who you’re voting for in the judicial races”. Most people have no clue. (Disclaimer – you may need to alter the foregoing pitches for places like the People’s Republics of Orange, Durham, and Buncombe counties.)

    Also, TV ads would’ve helped. The candidates who won either ran ads and their opponents did not, or ran ads more frequently and on more channels than their opponents. (The Robinson-Beasley race, which is too close to call, may be an exception since there was outside money to pay for ads in that race.) Ads cost money. Did you readers give money to any candidates? How about to the judicial candidates?

    Simple truth: in NC, the GOP controls both Senate seats, 10 of 13 House seats, the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s offices, and supermajorities in both houses of the General Assembly. Soooo, in order to gum things up, the Dems can either change all of those contests, or they can win the NC Supreme Court (bare 4-3 GOP majority) and Court of Appeals (bare 8-7 GOP majority). Which is easier? Yep, thought so. In the next 3 election cycles, a conservative justice is up on the ballot. The only liberal seats were up this year. Guess who the liberals will be gunning for in 2016, 2018, and 2020? We gotta wake up and do better in these judicial races, folks.

  2. The GOP Wake county commissioners got clobbered. Mecklenburg only could field two at large candidates and they lost badly. I get the impression that counties are more deeply self-segrating politcally every year.

  3. The analysis is simple. Sean Haugh ran as a kooky leftist and pulled 2% of the far left away from Hagan.

    The wave did not hit NC. If Haugh ran as a normal Libertarian, or was not in the race, Hagan wins by 2 to 3 points, just like the contested judicial races.

    1. There is no question that Tillis dodged a bullet when the LP nominated Haugh instead of Tim d’Annunzio. d’Annunzio would have had more Tea Party cred to pull GOP vote, and more funds to run a visible campaign.

      1. It was interesting that d’Annunzio offered to pull out of the race if he got the libertarian and Brannon got the republican nominations. Now that would have been historic, especially if the republican party had embraced something truly different like that. Brannon wasn’t perfect and may have presented too staunch a constitutional stance but I would prefer to err on the side of someone like that than someone like Tholl-Road Thom marching to the beat of Carl Rove… even though I did hold my nose and vote for him. Now to keep the Republican majority from repackaging obama care, amnesty, and bigger government and cramming that down our throats.

  4. Conservative judges owe their victories to poll volunteers who pass out the list to voters waiting in line at the polls. With the lack of general enthusiasm for the GOP candidates, many volunteers did not participate in this election, and the conservative judges suffered as a result.

    1. According to someone in one of the judicial campaigns, in Cabarrus County, when they tried to get local volunteers to pass own palm cards for the judicial ticket, many of them refused to do so when they saw the cards. The reason is that the cards had Thom Tillis at the top of them. The activists supported the judicial ticket but were not keen on Tillis, so they refused to pass out the cards. While I don’t know what idiot put Tillis on judicial palm cards, it seems to me they could have just cut Tillis off or something. Cabarrus is a county that Republicans usually come out of with a strong margin if they are going to win statewide. I looked at the margins this year for our judicial candidates there and it was tiny.

      1. Our TEA party reluctantly supported Tillis and listed him on our handouts. However, I approached folks and asked, “Would you like a list of conservative judges?” or “Do you know how you’re voting on the constitutional amendment?” LOTS of takers for the handouts on those questions. Of course, it had the other endorsed candidates on there, but the judicial races were the hook. Surely some folks who were not Tillis supporters could’ve just said what I said to folks and not even mentioned Tillis’ name. Or they could’ve come up with their own palm cards without Tillis’ name. What I feared back in mid-May would happen with the judicial races DID happen. Conservatives turned off by Tillis negatively impacted the judicial races. C’mon, people. Just because you don’t like the mean doesn’t mean you have to turn down the vegetables, bread, and dessert, too.

    2. Nancy, I agree. A friend of mine who was running for a local race in a conservative county said he knew of precincts, even conservative precincts, where the Dems had volunteers passing out their stuff all day, and no conservative/Republican/TEA person was there at all. Also, he said no GOP/conservative/TEA volunteer ever knocked on his door during the campaign, yet he had multiple visits from representatives for Hagan and Dem candidates for county commissioner (who won) and district attorney (who won). Two of the statewide Dem judges won this particular county. They wouldn’t even have come close if there were volunteers there handing out the judge sheets.

  5. Yes, the fat fool Barber, the face of Blueprint, seems to have wasted his time. It could happen to a more fitting radical. The voters gave the legislature a mandate to keep on keeping on, so hopefully they will take it and run with it.

    The judicial races are a real tragedy. For the next three elections, one Republican will be up each time, and if the Democrats flip one of those seats they flip the court. Incumbent Justice Bob Hunter, a really great guy, was taken out by a hack running on his grandfather’s name. We missed taking out liberal Cherie Beasley by about 3,000 votes. Too many in the NCGOP were so busy trying to salvage the Tillis train wreck that they ignored the court races. Tillis turning off our base almost impacted those court races.

    Tillis finally staggered over the finish line due to the strong national wave, not from any merits of his own or his own campaign. With a better nominee running a competent US Senate campaign, we would have probably avoided the court disaster.

    1. You are right about staggering to a win. I hope the Republicans don’t tout this as a stunning victory. At best is was eked out by an extreme dislike of Hagan and the Leftists running the Senate. A better candidate would have been a landslide. You can bet the left will be gunning for Burr next time around.

      1. If Tricky Dick Burr runs again, then conservatives need to be gunning for him in the primary, and pull out all the stops to beat him. With Burr having helped finance those really nasty dirty tricks the Big Government Republicans used against Chris McDaniel in Mississippi, we should pull no punches in beating the stuffings out of Burr in our primary. He richly deserves it. Heck, Burr endorsed the far left Obama-appointed judge who rammed gay marriage down NC’s throat, and that ought to be wrapped around him with a vengeance.

        Oh, and in the preceding post of mine, that should be ”almost certainly” rather than ”almost”.

        1. “If Tricky Dick Burr runs again, then conservatives need to be gunning for him in the primary, and pull out all the stops to beat him.”

          If you could not beat Tillis in an open primary seat race then I find it hard to believe you could take out a popular sitting Senator like Richard Burr.

          I would hazard a guess that if Burr runs again he will win.

          1. Tricky Dick Burr is not as popular among the party activists as you might imagine. THREE GOP Congressional district organizations have adopted measures to censure and rebuke him, two by unanimous action of their district GOP executive committees, and the third by overwhelming resolution of its district convention.

            His gushing over that radical Obama judge who imposed gay marriage on us will not go over well with the evangelical vote and the Tea Party, which are more oriented to economic issues, already has his number. In the last couple of years, Tricky Dick has started blowing off the voters back home to do the bidding of the DC elite. It is time to bring him back home.

  6. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Tillis won and will occupy the Senate seat for six nears. He made history and his name will be recorded as having been elected to the US Senate from North Carolina.

    How he won? He got more votes than Hagan. That is all that there is to it.

    Now it is time for Thom Tillis to join our other Republican Senator Richard Burr and get down to work. North Carolina is fortunate indeed to have two such fine Senators representing us.

  7. Some smart folks in the GOP and business community need to reconstruct the judicial nightmare that occurred on election day. Neither the state party, local parties, or independent conservative groups were prepared for the judicial races and the GOP lost big! The Democrats were very prepared at virtually every precinct and it paid off. So much effort was expended trying to drag Tillis over the finish line that the judicial races took a back seat and hence this disaster. Liberals are salivating at taking control of the NC court system and ruling from the bench.

    1. This ought to be THE top issue in the campaign for state chairman of the Republican Party next year. The failure of the party organization at these levels is appalling.

      1. First step – get someone with guts to introduce a bill on the first day of the state legislature’s 2015 session to put Rs and Ds back on the ballot for judges.

        1. Another good piece of legislation would be to make 50% plus a voter, the mandatory threshold to win an election, any election.

          1. Toxhandler, if we did that, we would need to do like Georgia or Louisiana and have a runoff in December (LA) or January (GA) with the top 2 candidates. Also, for the judicial races, there would not need to be a runoff unless the Libertarian party (or another party) ran a candidate. To my knowledge, I’m not sure there has ever been a 3rd party candidate to run for a statewide judicial seat. Not to say it won’t happen, just that I don’t think it has.

  8. Now that the election is over what is the latest on Brannon’s court case. I remember that the lunch-counter lawyers were saying how he got a bad jury and a bad judge.

    What is the latest?

  9. While many (including me) gripped about the huge sums of money (much of it from out of state) spent on this election, and others, I hope that something does get done to keep this sort of “influence” from continuing. Americans who value fair elections where the people decide who represents them should push to reform the system that allows this sort of obscene corporate/PAC spending for less than worthy candidates. I would start with the overturning of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision.

    1. As long as the media is little more than the propaganda section of the Democrat Party, there has to be balance in information that voters get. That certainly does not happen with most of the media. The only way to do that is to pay for advertising to counter the media’s rubbish. Trying to goose step over the First Amendment just gives more power to the extremely biased media. The left wants that because the media is on their side. They do that not because they want fair elections, but because they want the playing field tilted in their direction.

    2. JBP, I agree. The Citizens United Case ensures that capital cronyism can occur virtually undetected. Instead of leveling the playing field for conservatives against the big money of unions and the free advertising of the mainstream media, it cripples our ability to elect people not in “The Club”. I would also like to see legislation passed so that an elected official in the position of Speaker has to resign if they run in a national race. There is too much room for ‘pay to play’ with the candidate deciding what legislation is voted on.

      1. I think that the Crony Capitalism corrupts both sides/any “side” that takes that route. Obscene spending on the Left and the Right in this election and others did NOTHING to give us good candidates OR good debate. Several on this site groaned about the Karl Rove run campaign of Tillis, – made possible by the Citizens United decision. Of course there was money coming in from the Left for Hagan with the same corporate expectations of the candidate. The People are lost in this process and the outcomes.

        1. If you quash the First Amendment on outside spending, then that gives far too much power to the extremely biased and partisan news media, which tilts the playing field to the left. The left wants to be thrown in that briar patch.

          Starting down the slippery slope of restricting freedom of speech is dangerous to democracy.

          1. I have no problem with individuals right to free speech. That corporations can flood that speech with their own message (the media included) is what is corrupting the process. If you like the present system so much why were you complaining so much about Karl Rove’s involvement in the Tillis campaign?

          2. The First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law to abridge the freedom of speech or of the press. Since it does not limit that freedom to individuals, it applies to any type of speech. Since most media are owned by corporations, trying to make an exception for corporations would instantly mean that government could censor most media. This is a very slippery slope, and our freedom is paramount.

            I do not like Rove’s meddling, but the way to handle Rove is to have party leaders with the gonads to call him out on meddling in our primaries.

            The threat to our freedom comes primarily from too much power in government. I do not want government deciding who can speak, when, and on what.

          3. I think a good compromise would be if corporations could still donate unlimited amounts to campaigns, but the donations must be reported. That way we will at least know when our candidates are bought.

          4. The volume of PAC and corporate money flooding campaigns affectively squashes the speech of individuals. As for the likes of Rove and others with big money to throw around, party leaders (Left or Right) will never turn their backs on that chance to overwhelm an opponent.

          5. We already know when candidates are bought. We know which ones are rent boys for the special interests. We don’t need to gut the First Amendment (which is NOT restricted to individuals) to know that Tillis, for example, is bought and paid for and by whom.

            That environmental extremist Steyer, who spent more than the Koch Brothers on elections, got little return for his money. He also did not just do it for ideology. He makes a lot of his money off of green boondoggles and wants friendly politicians to keep those boondoggles going. Similarly, the hate campaign by other environmental extremists against several of our conservative state Senators, where they spent the amounts of money usually seen in Congressional races on negative ads, did not win for their cause as those Senators all got reelected, at least one by a significantly larger margin than his previous election.

          6. NO, we really don’t always know who is bought and now we never know to what extent a politician is bought.
            A little transparency would go a very LONG way and would NOT harm the First Amendment rights. The First Amendment talks about People and says NOTHING about businesses/corporations.

          7. You must be reading one of those constitutions where lefties try to interpret things, not the actual wording of the real US Constitution. It covers ALL speech from ANY source, which is Constitutionally protected.

            Your phoney leftie interpretation, when applied to media, which is virtally all owned by corporations, would give government the ability to censor the media at will.

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