Hello loyal Ashvegas readers — what an awesome summer we’re having. The Tourists are in first place, the stars are in the streets, and (most) budgets are passed. What more could you ask for? I know — how about a rare Thursday edition of the Hit List? Here it is. As always, thanks for reading. Let me know what I missed.
Buncombe budget blessed
Following the lead of their Asheville counterparts, Buncombe County Commissioners approved a $368 million budget on Wednesday (with no property tax increase). It came with some back-and-forth, and in the end, Commissioners Mike Fryar andJoe Belcher couldn’t support it. Mountain Xpress reporter Cameron Huntley was at the meeting, and details it in this report.
Turner tiff thrown out
Remember that weird meeting between Brian Turner and state Rep. Tim Moffitt a couple months back? Remember how Moffitt asked Turner to drop out of the race, and supposedly said some other things about a job at UNC TV or something? Remember how Turner filed ethics complaints agains Moffitt and one of them was dismissed in May? Well, the second complaint was also dismissed last week by the State Board of Elections, after the group found “no evidence” to support it. There ya go.
Short Session showdown
Did you feel a sense of dread wash across the state last week, as the deadline for lawmakers to adjust their annual budgetticked by with no compromise in sight? For many across the state, legislators’ inability to adjourn the once-called “short session” is having broad implications. Hung up on items pertaining to education, teacher salaries and Medicaid, House and Senate members Senate members returned to Raleigh this week with hopes of approving a budget. They have yet to do so. Frustrated senators staged a walkout Wednesday, and some legislators even threatened to take the stalemate into the holiday season.Gov. Pat McCrory said he was “disappointed” over the happenings. The mess showed signs of untangling this week, with House negotiators agreeing to give up on a plan to raise an extra $30 million by increasing sales of lottery tickets. But what’s $30 million to a $21.1 billion spending plan? Don’t ask me. Expect to hear more on how it all plays out next week.
Governor geared up for ALEC
The governor faced some scrutiny from political opponents this week, for agreeing to speak at a conference held by a controversial right-wing group. McCrory said he was “happy” to be among those addressing attendees at the July 30 conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council—better known as ALEC. The group, reviled by Democrats, has close ties to corporations and conservative lawmakers across the nation (including state Rep. Tim Moffitt, who sits on ALEC’s board of directors). Items championed by the group include measures on “stand your ground” gun laws, as well as North Carolina’s recent voter ID overhaul, according to this Raleigh News & Observer report. When asked to voice his thoughts on the event, the governor said he would be “looking forward” to attending and sharing policies being implemented in North Carolina.
It’s wouldn’t be crazy to assume Rep. Mark Meadows will get re-elected this fall, but that’s not stopping the congressman from fundraising off liberal “attacks.” Meadows sent an email blast to supporters last week requesting campaign funds to help him stave off “lies and smears that are sure to come” from the left-wing camp, right around the same time he kicked off his re-election campaign with a “Faith and Freedom Rally” at the WNC Ag Center. Meadows’ GOP colleagues Rep. Trey Gowdy andRep. Joe Wilson, both from South Carolina, attended the event, which raised more than $14,000 for the congressman’s campaign. Much of the night was spent attacking President Barack Obama (who may be moving to Meadows’ district soon, we hear?). You can read all about it in the Hendersonville Times-News, here.
Three throwdowns in the works
They’ve been swinging at each other over the airwaves for months, but now we’ll finally get to watch U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican opponent Thom Tillis slam each other in person. Hagan agreed on Wednesday to participate in three debates with Tillis this fall. The Tillis camp was quick to bash the senator’s announcement, arguing that voters across the state were entitled to the privilege of at least six debates (including one hosted by WLOS in Asheville). Six debates. Would you watch six debates? Guess we’ll have to watch three online.
Press for pizza guy
Finally, if you’re not feeling love for either Hagan or Tillis, you have another option. According to a Washington Post report, a “Libertarian pizza guy” has a legitimate shot at disrupting the fall election, perhaps delivering the seat to Hagan. Raleigh resident Sean Haugh is running a “folksy and erudite” campaign, largely on YouTube. Along with the “L” beside his name, Haugh’s messages have been enough to garner as much as 11 percent approval from voters in recent polls. It may seem trivial, but numbers like that can have a huge impact on close elections.
See ya next week!