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Today's N&O editorial: An empty race for the U.S. Senate

From today's N&O editorial:

The race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, already stands as the most expensive Senate contest in North Carolina history. The big money reflects the high stakes: The outcome could determine which party controls the Senate and the effectiveness of President Obama in his last two years in office.

Yet for all the money and consequences involved, the race is proving remarkably empty of content. Tillis has relied on a carpet bombing of negative TV ads paid for by third parties and tying Hagan to “Obamacare.” Hagan, to a lesser extent, has relied on outside groups to hammer Tillis as anti-public education and out of touch with the priorities of women.

Threats galore

Who is Jim Hunt raising money for again?

A Feb 01 Charlotte Observer story told us something we already knew - that Jim Hunt (and others) are forming SuperPACs to raise money to influence elections. He declined to elaborate on the group and exactly what they are doing even at the Sanford-Hunt-Frye fundraising dinner where he was a speaker.

That same weekend, the N&O's John Frank reported that Hunt donated $1000 to Tea Party Republican Justin Burr during the 3rd quarter of 2013.

ONE MORE FUNDRAISING NUGGET: Former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt gave state Rep. Justin Burr, a Republican budget writer, a $1,000 contribution Oct. 12, campaign finance reports show.

Obtaining property under false pretenses is a crime!

So two bail bondsmen and two court clerks who improperly accessed court computers are being charged with obtaining property by false pretenses - which is a crime.

Any thoughts about the political consultant who got an NCDP contractor to use NCDP resources to perform a LexisNexis search on candidates in contested races for public and party office, then passed it onto another campaign?

Do you think the contractor, consultant and the campaign worker should be similarly charged? I do!

A party staffer takes e-mail addresses that are the property of one campaign and trades them to another campaign in exchange for a job.

Do you think both the party staffer and the campaign worker (and maybe the candidate himself) should be charged? I do!

My thoughts on the NCDP ED controversy

I've sat patiently while watching events go by, largely talking to my friends and refraining from commenting in public other than to refute the usual Voller-haters (who were also Parker-haters two years ago). But I do feel I must make a few comments on the whole ED firing/Dr. Ben Chavis matter.

Previous Chairs largely made the selection of ED, with their selection validated by the Executive Council. Certainly some ED candidates were trotted around to various constituency groups - including elected officials - but the Chairs largely made the choices on their own. The job of the ED is not to be a celebrity - it's to be a competent administrator of the Party for the officers, delegates, electeds/candidates and donors. A good ED should follow the directives set by the Chair and the SEC and Executive Council at the state level, and the CEC and the elected county-level officers (the "board") at the county level. Their job should be to properly administer the Party so that the officers and delegates can decide what the party stands for and elect candidates who can turn that party platform into public policy.

Seeking to harness Obama's campaign resources for a second term

Greetings Fellow Democrats:

The announcement of Organizing for Action disturbs me. Many of you know how I have objected to the way that OFA (whether Obama For America or Organizing For America) interfered with what we do as officers or delegates of the Democratic Party. It seemed as though OFA was trying to set itself up as a structure that was parallel to and yet separate from the Democratic Party almost as though they wanted to usurp the traditional role of the Democratic Party and possible supersede it.

If you ever doubted it - here is the proof and others are noticing it too:

If it is able to sustain the passion that propelled Obama twice into the White House, the pro-Obama group may outstrip the role played by traditional interest groups, from organized labor to the environmental movement, and could form an independent power base outside the White House and the Democratic Party.

Obama For America to turn into new corporate-funded non-profit

I guess we won't be getting any lists of Obama volunteers - they are too valuable for Axelrod, Messina and Plouffe to sell to corporate America to advance their corporate, er, the President's agenda!

I guess now we know why a certain candidate for NCDP Chair has been pumping his intention to bring Messina, Plouffe, and Axlerod to "train" us how to activate our grassroots.

Funny thing is - the Democratic Party already teaches folks how to become leaders from the grassroots up. But we also allow these folks to think for themselves and then they get to contribute to the creation of the Party Platform. I have to question the goals and motivation of any corporate-funded non-profit to train "leaders". Aren't they just training people to become better-motivated "followers"?

So the question we have to ask ourselves as Democrats is: do we really want to become an adjunct of some corporate-funded non-profit pushing the President's agenda?

Meet and Greet with Randy Voller in Raleigh on January 10 has been moved to the Flying Saucer!

Attn SEC Members and Others: The Meet and Greet for Randy Voller originally scheduled for the Capital City Club has been moved to the Flying Saucer 328 W Morgan Street Raleigh NC 27601. Event will begin at 6:30pm. Food and Beverages will be available.

Raleigh is one of the few U.S. cities that was actually planned and built specifically to be a state capital. It was founded by legislators who met in Issac Hunter's Tavern back in 1788. They decreed our new capital must be within 10 miles of Isaac Hunter’s tavern, a popular drinking spot of that time.

It also may be the only capital that was chosen because of its proximity to accessible alcohol ;-)

Therefore, it is fitting that we meet in a tavern to meet and greet with Randy Voller, who is running for the Chair of the NC Democratic Party.

Nina Szlosberg-Landis announces her intentions to run for NCDP 1st Vice Chair

Like many SEC members, I got an e-mail from Nina Szlosberg-Landis yesterday, announcing her intention to run for 1st Vice Chair of the NCDP.

Dear Members of the State Executive Committee:

I have met many of you over the last several years as we have worked together to move North Carolina forward. For those I have not met, my name is Nina Szlosberg-Landis. Over the past few weeks I have spoken to many of you regarding the 2012 election and the lessons that we learned together.

NCDP Chair?

Well it's official - David Parker is not going to run for re-election as NCDP Chair. I sincerely had hoped he'd run for re-election because, without a DNC Convention to make folks lose their minds (and perspective) he might have actually had a chance to do some serious party-building from the grassroots up.

So now the next question is - who will run for the office of NCDP Chair? Folks have floated several names around for the last few weeks since the November general election:

Eric Mansfield
Linda Coleman
Sarah Anderson
Don Vaughn
Cal Cunningham
Randy Voller
Frank Eaton


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