Monday News: Four thousand, three hundred eighty three


CORONAVIRUS HAS INFECTED OVER 276,000 NORTH CAROLINIANS: At least 276,692 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 4,383 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 2,057 new COVID-19 cases, down from 2,805 the day before. About 6% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest day for which data is available. That’s higher than the 5% target set by health officials. At least 1,122 people in North Carolina were reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, down from 1,172 the day before. A Durham homeless shelter has reported 18 COVID-19 cases among residents and staff. Staff at the Urban Ministries of Durham learned Monday that a resident had tested positive for the virus. An additional 16 residents — who will also be moved to an isolated location — and one staff member subsequently tested positive.

BOTH PARTIES ARE SPENDING HEAVILY IN TARGETED NC SENATE RACES: Four races in the Senate are key. They’re the most expensive legislative races, based on fundraising in only the latest quarter, and they’re all seats Democrats hope to flip blue. Those races, which are spread across the state, are Districts 1, 11, 24 and 31. The most expensive is Senate District 31, in Davie County and parts of Forsyth County. Since January, Democrat Terri LeGrand, who raised more than any other legislative candidate this cycle, brought in $1.8 million. LeGrand’s opponent, Republican Sen. Joyce Krawiec, has brought in some $1.2 million. Krawiec has held this seat since 2013, though it was a Republican-held district well before that. The district was redrawn in 2019, and Democrats are hoping the new map will give them an advantage. Some believe control of the state Senate may come down to this seat. More than 80% of $3 million raised in this race came in the last four months.

GRAHAM POLICE AND (ALAMANCE COUNTY) SHERIFF DEPUTIES PEPPER SPRAY MARCH TO THE POLLS: Soon after the period of silence ended, Graham police told demonstrators to leave the road and quickly deployed a pepper fogger, spraying the irritant on the road. The rally that followed also ended with pepper spray. Alamance County sheriff’s deputies began dismantling the group’s audio equipment and used the spray when demonstrators intervened. More than a dozen people, including Drumwright, were arrested. The pepper fog caused several children who attended the march to throw up. Janet Johnson, a 56-year-old minister from Graham who attended the rally in a motorized scooter, had a panic attack and began to convulse. Johnson was thinking: “Am I going to die?” she told The News & Observer in an interview Sunday. She has asthma, as well as several other medical conditions. At a press conference on Sunday, Lt. Daniel Sisk said that Graham Police Department regretted that the pepper fog had affected children. “We’re coming even stronger,” Drumwright said, standing in the parking lot at the Tucker Street Apartments in Burlington, his childhood neighborhood. His release from jail the day before, following a get-out-the-vote march that never made it to the polling place, was conditioned on staying out of Graham for 72 hours.

TRUMP APPLAUDS SUPPORTERS WHO SURROUNDED BIDEN BUS WITH TRUCK CARAVAN: After a caravan of President Trump’s supporters surrounded and delayed a Joe Biden campaign bus on a Texas highway on Friday, the Democrats on board canceled the rest of that day’s events, citing safety concerns, and federal and local law enforcement opened investigations into the incident. Some prominent Republicans, though, have cheered the disruptive motorists. On Sunday, Trump joined that chorus of support, suggesting on Twitter that the FBI should focus on his political foes instead of investigating drivers who sought to intimidate the Biden campaign. “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong,” Trump said in the tweet. “Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA." At a Trump rally in South Florida on Sunday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also praised the group. “I saw yesterday a video of these people in Texas,” Rubio said to a large crowd at Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport, where many attendees declined to wear masks. “Did you see it? All the cars on the road, we love what they did.” Naomi Narvaiz, a member of the Texas GOP in San Marcos, posted a video on Twitter showing dozens of trucks swarming the Biden bus, honking and slowing traffic with their hazard lights flashing. “We sent the [Biden campaign] bus out of Hays!” she tweeted, referring to the county of the incident. “Your kind aren’t welcome here! This is #TrumpCountry.” Democrats in the state and the Biden campaign denounced the incident over the weekend. “Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way,” Tariq Thowfeek, Texas communications director for the Biden campaign, told CNN.

TRUMP PLANS ASSAULT OF LAWYERS IN FLORIDA, PENNSYLVANIA, NEVADA, (FILL IN THE BLANK): Speaking to reporters Sunday evening, Mr. Trump vowed to mount a legal challenge in Pennsylvania even before all votes were counted, which could take days as mail-in ballots continue to arrive after the election. “We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” Mr. Trump said. The president, who has spent months undermining public confidence in the election system, said that he would also probably mount legal challenges in other states, including Nevada, because the governor there is a Democrat. Mr. Trump repeated his desire that all the votes be counted on Election Day. “I don’t think it is fair that we have to wait a long period of time,” he said. In fact, even though races may be unofficially called on election night when one candidate appears to have an insurmountable lead, no state ever reports final results on election night, and no state is legally expected to. If states were to stop counting after Nov. 3, it would be an extraordinary subversion of the electoral process and would disenfranchise millions of voters who cast valid, on-time ballots. Asked to comment on the report in Philadelphia on Sunday, Mr. Biden said, “The president is not going to steal this election.” Court battles have already rearranged the voting process across an array of states and continued to do so on Sunday. The Texas Supreme Court denied an effort by Republicans to throw out more than 120,000 votes that had been cast at drive-through locations in Harris County, an increasingly Democratic area that includes Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city. Republicans are now hoping for a favorable ruling at the federal level, where a judge has called a hearing for Monday morning.