Weekend Wound-Up


ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY: The Republican leadership in 2022 in the legislature will remain after the general election. Some state lawmakers have essentially already won because they are totally unopposed, both in the primary and the general election. State lawmakers who are virtually guaranteed another term are Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore, Republican Senate Rules Chair Bill Rabon, Republican Senate Appropriations Chair Brent Jackson, Republican House Majority Leader John Bell, and Republican House Appropriations Chairs Jason Saine and Donny Lambeth. It would have been nice to see a few of these dudes get culled in the Primary, but we should not have left them unopposed in November. Hopefully we aren't sliding back to our old pragmatic habits of leaving dozens of races uncontested.

ORANGE COUNTY GEARS UP TO CURB PROUD BOYS AND OTHERS FROM PROTESTING IN OR NEAR SCHOOLS: The Orange County commissioners are only starting the conversation, which was prompted by protests last year outside Orange High School and at Orange County School Board meetings that involved members of the Proud Boys. The group identifies as a brotherhood promoting Western chauvinism and opposing political correctness and anti-racial guilt. Organizations that track hate groups note the Proud Boys have marched with alt-right and white supremacist groups and engaged in violence and intimidation. After the Orange County protests, parents, students and district staff reported being worried about intimidating behavior and “bigoted, misogynistic, racist, homophobic and transphobic language” at those gatherings, according to an Oct. 11 school board resolution. The commissioners agreed to continue the discussion at a future work session, when they also could hear from school leadership in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County districts, as well as Sheriff Charles Blackwood. The sample ordinance that county attorney John Roberts shared Tuesday included rules that exist in other counties, including Wake. State law already addresses some security concerns, such as riots and weapons carried openly, which is prohibited at large gatherings. Concealed-carry permit holders can bring weapons to events, Roberts said.

SURRY COUNTY WILL HOLD CONVENTION FOR GQP NUT-JOBS: Commissioners in Surry County, where the county elections director says she’s been threatened by the local Republican Party chairman over conspiracy theories, are scheduled to hear Monday evening from Mike Lindell, the head of a pillow company who has become one of the country’s best known purveyors of false election claims. North Carolina’s primary elections are Tuesday. Lindell, the founder and chief executive of My Pillow Inc., will be joined by a half dozen others, according to the agenda, including David Clements, a former college professor fired by New Mexico State University for refusing COVID-19 mandates, and Douglas Frank, an Ohio teacher who has pushed debunked election fraud claims in a number of states, including North Carolina. Their topic, according to the agenda: Election integrity. State Board of Elections spokesman Pat Gannon said in a statement that it’s “unfortunate for Surry County voters that these individuals are being given a platform to continue to spread disinformation.” He said several of these speakers have been asked repeatedly to share evidence of election irregularities with the State Board or the law enforcement agency of their choice, "but have not provided any such evidence to authorities.” Of course they haven't, it's all fever dreams. Lindell needs to design a new pillow, because that one has apparently bramaged his dain.

MADDY HAS PISSED OFF PRETTY MUCH EVERYBODY: The 11th District field became crowded with well-known or well-funded challengers after Cawthorn decided in the fall to run in another district closer to Charlotte under boundaries retooled during redistricting that would have made his path to reelection much easier. But the statewide House map was struck down by state courts, and its reshaping ultimately forced Cawthorn in late February to return to what is largely the 11th District he currently represents. Meanwhile, Edwards, Woodhouse and other Republicans had been running there for months. “It’s clear that his interest was to move somewhere else and seek a political career someplace else after we, including myself in this district, worked to get him elected,” Edwards said in an interview. “He turned his back on us.” Cawthorn infuriated his fellow Republicans in Congress when he alleged on a podcast that he had been invited to an orgy in Washington and that he had seen leaders in the movement to end drug addiction use cocaine. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy reprimanded him publicly for the remarks. He's been stopped by police three times since October — two in which he was cited for speeding and one for driving with a revoked license. He’s been caught with guns at airport checkpoints twice in the past year, including two weeks ago. He called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “thug” after Russia invaded the country. Even if Cawthorn wins the primary, he's not yet fully avoided a formal challenge of his candidacy by voters who say he should be disqualified over his involvement in the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. I have zero faith in Republican voters cleaning their own house. A dude who is behind bars for killing his cancer-stricken wife (with her own potted plant) just won his Primary in Indiana. There ain't no justice.

TELL ME AGAIN HOW MUCH YOU ADMIRE LIBERTARIANS? The top Democrat and Republican in the US Senate joined forces in a rare moment of unity on Thursday in an attempt to pass $40bn in aid for Ukraine, only to be stymied by a single Republican lawmaker: the Kentucky libertarian Rand Paul. Faced with the prospect of an extended delay for the package that passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, sought to move forward on the aid package only to be blocked by Paul, a fiscal hawk who objects to the amount of spending proposed. The Senate has scheduled an initial procedural vote on the bill for late Monday afternoon. It was unclear whether that vote would then speed passage of the Ukraine aid. Alternatively, passage could come around the middle of next week if any senator wants to force a series of legislative steps before a final vote. As the Ukraine aid bill became caught in the Senate’s procedural gears, Schumer pleaded for fast action: “The package is ready to go, the vast majority of senators on both sides of the aisle want it.” He added: “If Senator Paul persists in his reckless demands … all he will accomplish is to single-handedly delay desperately needed Ukraine aid.” But Paul was not moved. “This is the second spending bill for Ukraine in two months. And this bill is three times larger than the first,” Paul said before formally blocking the aid package. “Congress just wants to keep on spending, and spending.” Ukraine's defense of its own soil has been wildly successful, but they've been fighting on multiple fronts for 11 weeks. They need more Javelins and Stingers, and humanitarian aid like food and medical supplies. Kentuckians should be ashamed of this oxygen thief, and quit sending him back to the Senate.