Daily dose

Daily dose

Legislature's longtime administrator retires (AP) -- The man who made sure the paper towel dispensers were filled, bills printed and top research staff hired at the North Carolina legislature for more than 30 years has retired. Legislative Services Director George Hall stepped down Nov. 1, wrapping up a half-century of service in state government. House speakers and Senate leaders from both parties came and went, but Hall worked quietly behind the scenes since the late 1970s to ensure the legislative complex in downtown Raleigh ran properly and largely without controversy. “George has been the manager of the whole place for as long as I could remember,” said former House Speaker Joe Hackney, D-Orange, who served in the legislature from 1981 through 2012. “He was just an excellent, excellent contributor to the legislative enterprise.”

Daily dose: Veterans Day is for women, too

N.C. Companies Work To Help Women Veterans Find New Careers (WUNC-FM) -- Computer giant Lenovo is teaming up with the non-profit Dress for Success to help get female veterans into the civilian workforce. Numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate among female veterans is nearly double what it is for male vets. Beth Briggs is Executive Director of Dress for Success Triangle. The organization trains women to get them back in the workforce and provides them with a wardrobe.

Daily dose

Communities Fight State Laws That Can Divide Broadband Access (New York Times) -- Small cities are asking the F.C.C. to use its power to override laws in 19 states that forbid municipalities to build or expand broadband networks. Jason Bissette could throw a sweet potato from his office here in eastern North Carolina’s Wilson County, where he and his family oversee nearly 3,000 acres, to their newest barn. But despite his wishes, Mr. Bissette cannot extend the high-speed broadband from the office to his barns, either by wire or Wi-Fi, an upgrade that would help him monitor his sweet potatoes and tobacco. The problem is that his office sits in Wilson County, where a municipal power company has built a high-speed fiber-optic network. The barns, however, sit in Nash County. And a three-year-old state law prohibits the city of Wilson’s utility from expanding its broadband network outside its home territory.

Daily dose: Lasers at the border edition

Walker ready to tame whirlwind (Greensboro News & Record) -- Requesting committee assignments will be a key part of freshman orientation for the first-term congressman, who says he's interested in government oversight and homeland security.

Daily dose: Democrats lost because (fill in the blank) version

Chastened Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game (New York Times) -- The Republican Party took hard lessons from 2012 and built a formidable turnout and digital strategy for the midterm elections — one it hopes will serve it well in 2016.

Daily dose

Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game (New York Times) -- Republicans — determined not to repeat the mistakes of 2012, when their ground game and digital strategy became a political punch line — were well on their way to overhauling their operation this election cycle when the Democrats announced their “Bannock Street project,” an ambitious voter mobilization program. Though the Republicans were already building a national ground game — spanning both House and Senate races, as well as a few governors’ contests — they decided to leverage the Democrats’ $60 million get-out-the-vote effort to their own advantage. They devoured news media reports about the project and scoured Federal Election Commission filings to learn as much as they could about how their rivals were structuring their turnout operations in battleground states. … in states where Senate Democrats invested heavily in targeting and turnout operations, like Colorado and North Carolina, they succeeded in their original goal of making the electorate more favorable for them than it was in 2010. It simply was not enough to win. … In North Carolina, where Senator Kay Hagan, the Democratic incumbent, needed to turn out African-American voters to have a shot at victory, black voters represented a larger share of the electorate than they did in 2010, according to an analysis of exit polls and voter turnout data available from the State Board of Elections.

Daily dose

VOTE ANYWAY: “I am mortified to have taken part in a process that required bars to be closed.” – Election Day comment by Jimmy Breslin, a newspaper columnist and 1969 candidate for New York City Mayor. A few years later, the ban on election-day liquor sales was repealed.

1 Voter Turnout? To what degree will the $100 million spent on the U.S. Senate campaign drive more voters to the polls today? And, which message – dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama or distress over the actions of Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-dominated General Assembly – will be the prime motivator? In the last two off year elections – 2006 and 2010 – North Carolina voters stayed away from the polls in droves. In 2006, a mere 37 percent of the state’s registered voters cast ballots. In 2010 a slightly less dismal 44 percent of the voters bothered to make the trek to the ballot box. Now, in 2006, there wasn’t a significant statewide race to motivate campaigners or voters – but Democrats and Republicans showed up in equal proportions – 39 percent of the Democrats and 39 percent of the Republicans. In 2010 there was a race for the U.S. Senate as well as the Koch brothers-financed Tea Party movement that particularly energized the GOP. While overall turnout was improved from 2006 with 45 percent of the Democrats voting, 51 percent of the Republicans voted – resulting in the GOP tide of 2010. Will angry public school teachers and disappointed parents concerned about cuts in the classroom – and Moral Monday protesters energized by voter ID laws and cuts in the social safety net -- take out their frustration on Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis? Will frustration and distrust over Obamacare and gun laws and immigration be taken out on Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan?

2. Do Republicans have ground game? In the last few days of the campaign, focus has shifted from campaign money and news media blitzes to voter turnout. The GOP, acknowledging it had been behind in the past, boasted a heightened concern and focus. Republican community organizers boasted of a high tech focus and slick smartphone apps to target get-out-the-vote efforts. Does early voting turnout provide any indication of the effectiveness of the Republicans’ increased effort? Final early voting numbers show 18 percent of the state’s 6.6 million registered voters have already cast ballots: Cumulatively, Democrats are 49 percent of the ballots cast; Republicans 31 percent and others 20 percent.

3. Do candidates matter? The flood of outside cash that has financed “independent” campaigns on behalf of Tillis and Hagan seem to overshadow the candidates and issues of concern to North Carolina voters. Is the fact that Hagan’s campaign has outraised Tillis’ by nearly 3 to 1, any indication of support, or can candidates forgo aggressive campaign fundraising as an indication of backing, knowing they’ll be propped up by the super wealthy and independent committees?

4. Will it be Democrats leading chants of “fraud at the polls”? Last week voters in Guilford County complained that electronic voting machines were switching their votes for Democrat Kay Hagan to votes for Republican Thom Tillis. Elections officials examined the machines and got the same results. While the voters who complained got to recast their ballots of other machines, how many voters didn’t catch the error? Will there be more machines casting zombie votes?

5. Turnout? Bigger turnout, in larger counties, could indicate a friendly wind for Democrats in statewide campaigns. Watch results in Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Orange and Wake counties. Turnout in these counties was generally higher than the state average for Republicans in 2010 and lower than the state average for Democrats.

Daily Dose

ONE STOP VOTING, Through Sat. Nov. 1: TOTAL: 1,097,469; Democrats, 48%; Republicans, 32%; 20% Others.
Nearly 1.1M cast ballots through NC early voting (AP) — In-person early voting is over in North Carolina, and nearly 200,000 more ballots were cast compared to the last midterm election four years ago.

Senate race drives early voting turnout (WRAL-TV) -- Voters hoping to avoid Election Day conflicts cast early ballots in the U.S. Senate race. Numbers show early turnout is heavier than in 2010, but that doesn't necessarily predict the outcome.

Sunday Daily Dose

All NC Early Votes Reach 1 Million (Old North State Politics) -- North Carolina has reached over a million accepted ballots (or votes) cast before Election Day, through the combination of mail-in and in-person early voting. So far, 1,045,295 ballots have been accepted as early votes through the two early voting methods (both mail-in and in-person). There is currently another 41,047 mail-in and 479 in-person ballots that have not been accepted as early votes. Among the cumulative 991,945 in-person accepted ballots cast so far (through Oct. 31): 49% Democrats; 31 %Republicans; 20% others. Comparing to 2010, total cumulative accepted in-person ballots are running at 120% of 2010: unaffiliated 142%; Democrats 124% percent; Republican 103%.

Early Voting Wraps Up (TWCN-TV) -- By the end of the day Friday, 880,000 North Carolinians had already voted, according to voting tracker Carolina Transparency. Of those, nearly 47 percent are Democrats and just under 32 percent are Republicans.


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