Tuesday News: Status Quagmire


LITTLE TIMMY MOORE RE-ELECTED AS SPEAKER OF THE NC HOUSE: Incoming North Carolina House Republicans in a meeting Monday formally backed Speaker Tim Moore to lead their chamber for another two years, a result of the GOP expanding their majority in the Nov. 3 election. The fact that “we actually expanded our numbers shows that we have a mandate to continue the legislative leadership that we’ve had,” Moore said at a news conference at state GOP headquarters, where returning House Republicans met and approved his nomination by acclamation. “We'll continue to do all we can to to allow the ‘Old North State' to be even greater." Moore, 50, joined the House in 2003 and became rules committee chairman under then-Speaker Thom Tillis. Moore succeeded Tillis in 2015 when Tillis moved to the U.S. Senate.

NEWBY EDGES AHEAD OF BEASLEY IN RACE FOR CHIEF JUSTICE: State Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby has pulled ahead of incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley after officials in Eastern North Carolina’s Washington County fixed a problem with election results Monday morning. It’s the latest shift in the race for Supreme Court chief justice. And there could be more. In addition to Washington County counting mailed-in ballots twice, Robeson County forgot to count ballots from an early voting site. Counties won’t finish their canvassing before Tuesday afternoon. The Rockingham County Board of Elections announced it rescheduled its meeting from Monday to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Robeson’s board was still meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday but uploaded unofficial results to the state board of elections website. At 7:30 p.m., Newby, a Republican, led the race by 342 votes. The North Carolina Republican Party already announced that it will ask for a recount if Newby loses and is within range for a recount. So far neither candidate has pulled far enough ahead to be out of that range.

COVID 19 HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC RISE TO 1,424, A NEW (AND DISMAL) RECORD: North Carolina also reached a record-high for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Sunday, the last day for which data was reported. There were 1,424 people hospitalized with the virus, with 96% of hospitals statewide reporting. The state’s hospitals have reported at least 1,400 hospitalizations each day since Nov. 12 after not reaching that mark at any point previously during the pandemic. Monday, North Carolina reported eight new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the toll to 4,814 North Carolinians. Testing positivity rates also continued to climb on Saturday, the last day for which results are available. DHHS reported that 8.1% of tests from Saturday came back positive. That meant that the seven-day average for positive tests rose for the eighth consecutive day, reaching 7.8%. DHHS presumes that 276,312 of the 314,207 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.

GEORGIA'S (REPUBLICAN) SECRETARY OF STATE IS BEING PUSHED TO SUBVERT ELECTION RESULTS: In a wide-ranging interview about the election, Raffensperger expressed exasperation over a string of baseless allegations coming from Trump and his allies about the integrity of the Georgia results, including claims that Dominion Voting Systems, the Colorado-based manufacturer of Georgia’s voting machines, is a “leftist” company with ties to Venezuela that engineered thousands of Trump votes to be left out of the count. The atmosphere has grown so contentious, Raffensperger said, that he and his wife, Tricia, have received death threats in recent days, including a text to him that read: “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.” The normally mild-mannered Raffensperger saved his harshest language for Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), who is leading the president’s efforts in Georgia and whom Raffensperger called a “liar” and a “charlatan.” In the interview, Raffensperger also said he spoke on Friday to Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has echoed Trump’s unfounded claims about voting irregularities. In their conversation, Graham questioned Raffensperger about the state’s signature-matching law and whether political bias could have prompted poll workers to accept ballots with nonmatching signatures, according to Raffensperger. Graham also asked whether Raffensperger had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of nonmatching signatures, Raffensperger said.

ZUCK AND TWITTER CEO TO FACE REPUBLICAN SENATORS OVER ELECTION MISINFORMATION EDITING: Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief, will appear before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning to defend actions by their companies to moderate speech. It is the second time in two months that the two C.E.O.s are testifying but this will probably have more fireworks than their last appearance as their companies took a central role during the recent election. They will probably face many questions about how their social networks handled vote-related posts, videos and photos. Both companies increased their labeling of election misinformation, including posts by President Trump, while false and misleading content surged. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. Eastern. Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Dorsey will appear via videoconference. They will get questions from the 22 members on the committee, some of whom will be in the committee’s meeting room in the Capitol, and others who will also be appearing via videoconference. The committee chairman, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called the hearing in October after Twitter and Facebook labeled or limited the reach of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden, the son of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., because of information that was leaked and misleading. President Trump and his Republican allies have balked at actions by Twitter and Facebook to repeatedly label and hide the president’s posts for violations of policies against spreading false and misleading information about the election. Twitter was particularly active in labeling Mr. Trump’s tweets on the day of the election and days after. Members like Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri are expected to blast Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Zuckerberg for what they describe as censorship of conservatives, claims that are not founded.