Saturday News: Club For Grift

TRUMP ENDORSEMENT TRUMPETED IN TV ADS FOR TED BUDD: President Donald Trump endorsed Ted Budd three months ago in North Carolina’s 2022 U.S. Senate race. Now one of Budd’s biggest political backers is spending $3 million to make sure Republicans in the state are aware of Trump’s endorsement. Club For Growth Action, which backed Budd in his first congressional bid in 2016 and has lined up behind his Senate campaign, will run a television ad promoting Trump’s endorsement for the next eight weeks in the Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro markets and statewide on Fox News. In June, Club for Growth Action President David McIntosh announced his group had raised more than $5 million — and planned to raise more — to support Budd’s Senate run. Maybe when enough of his "endorsed" candidates lose he'll have a Trumper tantrum and quit politics altogether.

NC COURT OF APPEALS BLOCKS RULING ALLOWING FORMER PRISONERS TO VOTE: The state Court of Appeals blocked a lower-court ruling Friday that would allow convicted felons who've finished their time behind bars but are still on probation or owe fines to register to vote in North Carolina. A divided three-judge panel said about 12 days ago that these people should be able to vote, and it issued a court order to that effect, opening the door for people in that situation to register. With Friday's decision from the Court of Appeals, the state's prohibition against felons voting until they have completed their entire sentence remains in place while the lawsuit runs its course. Plaintiffs in the case quickly asked the state Supreme Court to reverse the reversal, filing Friday afternoon for an immediate temporary stay. "Unless this court acts, over 56,000 people who have already been told they can legally vote will be disenfranchised, and the administration of North Carolina's upcoming municipal elections will be thrown into confusion," attorneys said in their filing.

SURVIVORS OF DEADLY TUBING INCIDENT SUE DUKE ENERGY: A family that lost five members in a tubing accident on a North Carolina river is suing Duke Energy, saying the utility failed to adequately warn people that its dam poses life-threatening risks. Their lawsuit, filed in Durham County in August, specifically names Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC. “Despite knowing of the danger posed by the dam, Duke Energy failed to use barricades, barriers, buoys and other safety devices to prevent boaters from going over the submerged dam and being caught in the recirculating currents,” the lawsuit says. Duke Energy spokesman Dave Scanzoni said in a statement Friday that the utility would respond in detail in court. Nine relatives from Eden, North Carolina, and LaPorte, Indiana, were floating down the Dan River in inflatable tubes on June 16 when they went over the 8-foot (2.4-meter) dam. The survivors were spotted the day after the accident by a Duke Energy employee, who called 911. I did not realize they were in the water for that long before being helped. Horrific.

NC GOP PLAN TO SWING SCHOOL BOARDS TO REPUBLICAN RULE: In 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly switched Onslow County’s school board elections from nonpartisan to partisan. Opposing the change, Taylor (who had been a registered Democrat) and two other incumbents ran as unaffiliated candidates. Most of their challengers ran as Republicans, and in this deeply conservative county, the challengers, including Whitfield, triumphed. All three of the unaffiliated incumbents lost. “It was a Republican tsunami,” Taylor said. “We were totally shocked and surprised.” In the three years since Onslow County schools shifted to partisan elections, its school board has been transformed: four of its seven members have lost reelection and the board has flipped from politically neutral to completely Republican. What has happened in Onslow has happened in districts across the state. Over the past few years, the state legislature has steadily passed laws to make candidates in dozens of local school board races run as either Democrats, Republicans, other, or unaffiliated. In 2010, Republicans took over the state legislature, giving them the power to pass certain local bills that aren’t subject to a governor’s veto. And that needs to be changed, because Republicans simply cannot be trusted to not abuse it. They seek power wherever they can get it, ethics de damned.

SEVERAL GOP-CONTROLLED STATES PLAN TO REPLICATE TEXAS ABORTION BAN: Republican officials in more than a half-dozen states across the country moved this week to replicate Texas’s restrictive abortion ban after the Supreme Court declined to step in and stop the law from taking effect. GOP officials in at least seven states, including Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and South Dakota, have suggested they may review or amend their states’ laws to mirror Texas’s legislation, which effectively bans abortions after six weeks. Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Ohio and more are expected to follow, after a year abortion activists have deemed “the worst legislative year ever for U.S. abortion rights.” “It’s something we’re already working on,” Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson told local news station WFLA-TV when asked about copying the Texas law, which empowers private citizens to report and sue providers who offer the procedure after six weeks. Announcing he planned to introduce a copycat bill, Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R), the founder and president of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, shared a template of legislation lawmakers in other states could fill in the blanks on and reproduce. The nation has reached a critical moment for abortion rights, with the Supreme Court preparing to hear a case in which Mississippi has asked it to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would call for a vote on legislation to cement the right to abortion into federal law. If there ever was a time to nuke the filibuster, this will be it.