North Carolina political news this week was kind of like a zoo—so much to see! Here’s a recap.
Got weekend plans? Your Asheville City Council does. Beginning today, the council will gather at the U.S. Cellular Center for their annual retreat. The event, which is open to the public, is designed to allow the group to home in on priorities and goals for the year. Here’s the agenda, in case you wanted to drop by.
Moffitt eyes his destiny
Did you see the epic video released by state Rep. Tim Moffitt this week? The nearly two-minute piece includes archival footage of Jackie Robinson, Neil Armstrong and President Ronald Reagan, to name a few. Best of all, it saves an image of an ear-to-ear grinning Moffitt for the very end. No mention is made of the representative’s legislative record, or his personal background. Commenting to the Citizen-Times, Moffitt said the ad, titled “Destiny and Opportunity,” was not about him, but rather the possibilities for North Carolina as a state. His Democratic opponent Brian Turner described it as “interesting.”
McCrory offered Boeing big bucks
Regular readers of the Hit List may recall Gov. Pat McCrory’s journey out west last November, during which he visited both Facebook and Google headquarters. But little-did-we-know the governor also quietly met with representatives from Boeing, and dangled hundreds of millions in tax incentives at the company in an attempt to convince it to locate a new facility in North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer revealed the secretive meeting this week, in a report written after the paper obtained documents in an open-records request. The bid, called “Project New Horizon,” proposed a $683 million tax incentive package, including a 405-acre tract of Charlotte land which was also home to 27 privately-owned buildings. At one point, officials considered offering up to $2.5 billion in state and local tax incentives to the company. “We will do ANYTHING we can to be helpful to be helpful with your site selection process,” an unnamed McCrory aide was quoted saying, describing the tone of the governor’s message. Apparently, “anything” wasn’t good enough, as the jet-maker opted instead to build its facility in Washington state.
In other McCrory news, the governor’s top economic guru announced his resignation this week. The departure of Tony Almeida, McCrory’s senior adviser on jobs and the economy, makes for the fourth high profile exit in five weeks in the governor’s administration. According to a Raleigh News & Observer report, McCrory has seen seven key staffers, including three of his five-highest-paid aides, move on since he took office in 2013.
Cooper raises $989K, just in case
We just began 2014, but your ambitious state officials have their eyes locked on 2016. This week it was revealed that State Attorney General Roy Cooper, who hasn’t technically declared a Democratic bid for governor yet, has still raised $989,000 in case he decides to do so. The number includes $595,000 donated to his campaign in the past six months. Cooper’s haul is right up there with McCrory’s current cash-on-hand, which totals $1.3 million. Another Democrat, Ken Spaulding, reported at least $82,000 on-hand for a gubernatorial bid. So start thinking now about who you’d like to vote for two years from November.
Meadows calls “war”
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows took to Fox News this week, to reflect on President Obama’s newly-announced intention to bypass Congress on certain issues. “He has declared war, and not just on Congress but the American people,” Meadows told host Greta Van Susteren, during the brief appearance. Offering a hint of strategy, the congressman suggested Republicans consider ways to “limit the power of the executive branch” through matters of “the purse.” If you recall, Meadows played a key role in the plan to tie defunding of Obamacare to last year’s continuing resolution—which ultimately resulted in a 16-day shutdown of federal services.
Lawmakers back farm bill
A massive $956 billion was approved by Congress this week. Along with Meadows, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry and U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan offered votes in favor of the bill. Among those voting “no” was Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who said the legislation was too expensive, and included too many non-farm-related provisions. You can read more on the House and Senate votes in these reports at Carolina Public Press.
Hagan more moderate than most
Speaking of Hagan, what Hit List would be complete without a look at the latest developments in her bid for re-election? This week, the senator was named the “most moderate” among her colleagues by National Journal (despite Congress being more polarized than ever). Don’t count on the moderate label being mentioned by primary candidate Thom Tillis, though. This week, Tillis released a new ad condemning the senator for voting with Obama 96 percent of the time last year. The lesson from this is that these days, going against the grain four percent of the time is enough to make you the most “moderate” senator in Washington.
Tillis strategy includes shell corporations, few forums
So far, Tillis is the only candidate among the six-man Republican field to purchase an expensive set of television campaign ads. So where does he get all his money? In part from shell corporations, it appears. Last Friday, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that a super PAC supporting Tillis’ campaign had accepted at least $50,000 in contributions from companies which have little-to-no public record in the state. Instead, the LLCs share addresses and connections with the owner of a North Carolina car dealership, along with the chairman of a direct-selling company. Beyond that, who knows?
Meanwhile, Tillis’ no-shows at Republican forums across the state are beginning to attract attention on the national scale. Commenting to the Charlotte Observer, the state House Speaker said he was strategizing for a campaign that “goes all the way to November.” Tillis will have to get through May’s primary first though, and some of his fellow GOP candidates are picking up steam. Two candidates, Rev. Mark Harris and Dr. Greg Brannon, have $256,000 and $142,000 cash-on-hand, respectively. And FreedomWorks PAC, a leading tea-party affiliated group, announced its support Brannon this week. Runoff, anyone?
That’s more than enough for now. See ya next week!