Ashvegas Political Hit List: Buncombe budget blessed, Turner/Moffitt tiff tossed, more


By James Harrison

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.

Meadows maximizes 

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!

James Harrison recently returned to Asheville after working as a government reporter for, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Follow him on Twitter at @jharrisonAVL.


Matt July 11, 2014 - 5:07 pm

Yes, they are robbing multiple Pauls to give Peter a raise. Many Asheville city schools will not only be losing teacher’s assistants over the next couple years, they will also have more students per classroom.

theOtherBarry July 12, 2014 - 1:03 am

And the GOP will find a way to blame those greedy teachers for getting the assistants fired, in order to pay for a raise for themselves. Just watch.

OR, we could re-think those corporate and upper-income tax cuts that are strangling the State’s ability to meet its responsibilities…

I know, crazy talk.

theOtherBarry July 10, 2014 - 8:08 pm

The charade playing out in the NCGA is truly amazing. After spending the last two years cutting education spending, and then denying that they had cut education spending, how crazy is it that they are now fighting over how much of a raise to give teachers?

The House says 5%? Fine, over here in the Senate, we’ll insist on 11%!! And they’re willing to fire thousands of teaching assistants and/or cutting Medicaid coverage for sick, disabled and elderly adults to pay for it. It doesn’t make any sense unless… hey! I just realized there’s an election coming up!

theOtherBarry July 10, 2014 - 6:24 pm

Given Rep. Moffitt’s well-documented record of bullying, we all know that something very much like what Mr. Turner alleged, really is what happened.

And the fact that Rep. Moffitt admits that he tried to get Turner to drop out, thus denying the voters in his district a choice… well, that speaks volumes too.

I don’t blame him for being worried.

Tim Peck July 10, 2014 - 10:36 am

Election Board Ruling and Representative Moffitt’s Statement

“The SBOE had investigated a claim by Biltmore Forest resident Brian Turner — who is supported by members of Asheville City Council, including Councilman Cecil Bothwell — to unseat Moffitt. But, in a devastating rebuke of Turner, the Board said that Turner’s unsubstantiated allegations, “even when viewed in a light most favorable to [Turner’s] point of view” did nothing to suggest that Moffitt did anything wrong.”

luther blissett July 10, 2014 - 1:10 pm

Well, whoopy do, Mouthpiece, is “quoting yourself” meant to “add authority” to your press releases? And are you on the clock right now?

ashevillain July 12, 2014 - 2:29 pm

You sure do have a very selective way of looking at things.

roo July 12, 2014 - 4:48 pm

There was probable cause for an inquiry. The evidence wasn’t found.

Despite your peckishness, there were probably drugs in the car.

There is nothing in the Ethics Commissions’ dismissal that amounts to a ‘devastating rebuke.’ Certainly nothing that rises to the ‘devastating rebuke’ to local interests that Rep Moffitt embodies.

Mr Moffitt is an elaborately talented hooker, hiring himself out to Aqua America and the fracking industry. Check out his thing in Argentina, aiding and abetting the ransoming of public assets. Check out the ‘illegal to reveal’ thing he was party to viz fracking chemicals. He’s totally bought and sold, and has absolutely no allegiance to the voters of this state.

Post Comment