UPDATED with Hit List: An Open Letter to North Carolina Leaders

It is now apparent that Art Pope has figured out how to buy control of the North Carolina General Assembly using corporate money. His laboratory was the Republican primaries yesterday, where he picked off three intraparty enemies – Richard Morgan, Rick Eddins and Steve LaRoque. Now he is refining his playbook and setting his sights on eight or nine marginal House races this fall. Art Pope will continue to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars of corporate money from Variety Wholesale into seats he thinks he can win. His goal is to defeat incumbent Democrats and tip control of the House to Republicans he controls. It will cost him only $2 million. It will cost us democracy.

We cannot let this happen. Art Pope does not want to invest in education. He doesn’t believe in economic development. He wants to control what our universities teach. Do you trust Art Pope to fix mental health? He is opposed to everything we care about.

The Easley administration doesn't seem eager to lead on this, but surely someone must. We need to press the State Board of Elections. We need to contest this in the courts. We might need corrective legislation.And we might need it now. Because if Art Pope gets his way, it will be too late to act when the legislature returns in January.

Art Pope has blended a secret sauce. The key ingredient is corporate money – lots of it – in carefully targeted districts. It is nothing less than a coup.

You are a North Carolina leader. Please lead.



Naming names

Jim Hunt? Mike Easley? Bill Friday?

Will one of you step forward? And if not you, who?

Are there no Republicans who consider Art Pope's buying spree an affront to democracy? Are there really none?

The Dean


Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

That would be good.

When I was thinking of Republicans . . . or even Independents, I thought
I wonder how Hood lives with himself? I can see Art being a nutcase like this and buying democracy, but Hood? I thought he had an honest streak.

Jim Black

Jim Black already figured out how to buy control of the North Carolina General Assembly using corporate money.

Are there no Democrats who consider Jim Black's buying spree an affront to democracy or is it just Republicans (Buchanan lost his primary)?

We need to take the timbers out of our own eyes before tackling Republican splinters.


Do a search on Black

here at BlueNC and you'll find plenty of timber hauling. I daresay our front-pages are, were and have always been out in front on calling for Jim Black to step aside.

But to extend your metaphor a bit too far, Art Pope's 'splinters' are truly an entire dark forest of illegal influence, which makes Black's transgressions look like child's play in the back yard. Morgan has taken the Pope case to the SBOE, but I'm worried they won't act quickly enough.

Maybe you're happy to 'wait and see' . . . but if you are, don't be surprised to find the NC House dancing to Art Pope's tune come January.

Not waiting

Art Pope has been at this for years in different ways and will keep at it. The Republican Governors' ad mess has been dragging on since 2004 and is still not settled.

NC Democrats must clean up way before November - 2006 that is.

I'm not happy to "wait and see" for either Pope or Black but too many NC House Democrats want to "wait and see" about Black. Those would be the 55 who took video poker and payday money.

They will "see" all right when indictments come mid-session and by the time they do anything it will be too late. They've circled the wagons so tight we're all left on the outside in the line of fire.

Pope's money is corporate, Black's money is corrupt. I don't endorse either but spend too much energy taking Pope out of the equation and Republicans will look sweeter while Democrats are still left with the Black albatross.

Democratic candidates have to have more to say than "Vote for us, we're not registered Republicans"

I'm with you.

It's all so discouraging. And frankly, I don't think the NCDP has stepped up to the plate on this at all. Hell, they really haven't even come out of the Locker Room (pun intended). I just don't know what to do about it.

Even Joe Hackney, who can usually be counted on to be at least pragmatic, has lost his soul in Black's dark shadow. They all seem to think this little ethical dust-up is no big deal. Just wait till they find themselves in the minority next year.

As I've said on many occasions, if the characters running North Carolina government are truly the best we can do as a state, we are totally f*cked.

Up at Kos

Any help would be appreciated.




How about mayors?

How about business leaders?
How about newspaper publishers?
How about university presidents?
How about the bar association?

Are not some republicans

Are not some republicans filing a complaint with the SBOE?

It may be a wise strategy to let them fight amongst themselves and take the lead on this....at least for now.

PS testing the chatbox now

I think they are

but I have trouble keeping up with all the Repubican blood-letting. My fear is that it will drag on and on. Damage is being done right now. The coup plotters are working as we speak. Time seems of the essence.

A Kossack offered this:

Boycott his stores:

Variety is not only the spice of life -- it's also a major purveyor of deeply discounted retail goods. With about 550 stores in some 14 states from Louisiana to Delaware, Variety Wholesalers has survived even Wal-Mart's march through rural America. The company, which has aggressively bought other chains while closing poorly performing stores, tends to set up shop in small towns where the retail giants fear to tread. The company's retail outlets sell beauty products, housewares, snacks, toys and more, under banners including Bargain Town, Maxway, Roses, and Super 10. Variety Wholesalers was founded in 1932 by James Pope; the Pope family, including chairman and CEO John Pope, owns and leads the company.

I like this idea.