HOLDING'S NOW BLUE CONGRESSIONAL SEAT HAS DEMS LINING UP: Deborah Ross, a former state director of the ACLU and former state legislator, has filed to run for the seat. Ross, who lost the 2016 Senate race to incumbent Republican Richard Burr, represented parts of Wake County in the statehouse from 2003-13. Andrew Terrell, a former Obama administration official who led a UK trade office in Raleigh, has also filed to run in the race. Terrell, 32, would be the state’s first openly LGBT member of Congress. Monika Johnson-Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and a member of the Wake County Board of Education, has filed. Unlike Ross and Terrell, Johnson-Hostler was running before the map was redrawn. Retired Marine Scott Cooper, who raised more than $450,000 for a challenge to Holding, said the new map placed his home in the 4th district, represented by Democrat David Price.
DERWIN MONTGOMERY JOINS 2 OTHER DEMS IN 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE: Former Winston-Salem City Council Member and state Rep. Derwin Montgomery (D-72) is running for the 6th Congressional District seat that includes all of Guilford County and most of the population of Forsyth County. Montgomery is completing his first full term representing N.C. House District 72, which he won with 79% of the vote in 2018. Montgomery will join a Democratic field that includes two other candidates who have filed so far: Bruce Davis of High Point and Kathy Manning of Greensboro. The 6th, redrawn in recent redistricting, leans Democratic in its new boundaries. The incumbent, Republican Mark Walker, has not announced his plans, but is said to be considering a run against Thom Tillis for the GOP Senate nomination or a run in one of the state’s other congressional districts.
BILLIONAIRE BLOOMBERG PREPARES TO BLITZ NORTH CAROLINA: Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg plans to open his campaign’s first field office in the country Sunday — in Charlotte. The former New York mayor will appear at the uptown headquarters shortly after noon. It underscores his strategy of bypassing Iowa, South Carolina and other early contests to focus on states like North Carolina that vote in March or later. Bloomberg, a billionaire who entered the race late last month, is banking on the hope that he can bypass the early states that traditionally provide a springboard to nomination. “Most candidates . . . are simply not talking to voters in the states that matter the most,” Kanninen said, adding that the early states account for just a fraction of the convention delegates at stake. Records filed with the Federal Communications Commission show that Bloomberg has spent $650,000 on TV ads on just three N.C. stations, two in Charlotte and one in Raleigh.
DEFEATED GOP GOVERNOR GOES ON A PARDON SPREE, RELEASING VIOLENT CRIMINALS: Bevin issued 428 pardons since his defeat to Democrat Andy Beshear in a close election in November, the Louisville Courier Journal reported. “What this governor did is an absolute atrocity of justice,” said Commonwealth Attorney Jackie Steele, a prosecutor for Knox and Laurel counties. “He’s put victims, he’s put others in our community in danger.” Steele said he was particularly disturbed by the pardon of Patrick Brian Baker, whose brother hosted a fundraiser for Bevin and donated to him over the years, the Courier Journal reported. Baker was convicted in 2017 of reckless homicide, robbery, impersonating a peace officer and tampering with evidence for his role in a 2014 home invasion that resulted in the death of Donald Mills. Baker had served just two years of his 19-year sentence when Bevin pardoned him to time served on Dec. 6. Baker’s brother and sister-in-law, Eric and Kathryn Baker, held a fundraiser for Bevin in July 2018 and raised $21,500 to pay off Bevin’s 2015 campaign debts, the Courier-Journal reported; the couple also donated $4,000 to his campaign at the same event. Kathryn Baker donated another $500 to Bevin’s 2019 reelection effort, the Journal found.
BORIS JOHNSON IS HERE TO STAY AFTER LANDSLIDE CONSERVATIVE WIN: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won a commanding majority in the British Parliament, a striking victory that redraws the lines in British politics and paves the way for the country’s exit from the European Union early next year. The Conservatives were projected to win 364 seats in the House of Commons, versus 203 for the Labour Party, according to the BBC, with almost all of Parliament’s seats decided. That would give the Conservatives about a 75-seat majority, their largest since that amassed by Margaret Thatcher in 1987. As the results flowed in from individual districts, they pointed to a radical reconfiguration of Britain’s political map. The Conservative Party was winning dozens of Labour seats in the industrial north and Midlands, shattering the so-called red wall that has undergirded the Labour Party for generations.