Ashvegas: The City You Love. The News You Want.By James Harrison

Here it comes—another Hit List. Hold on tight!

Nesbitt honored, eyes shift to successor

The late State Sen. Martin Nesbitt was laid to rest this week, following a funeral attended by 1,000 people at Biltmore Baptist Church. Gov. Pat McCrory and his predecessor, former Gov. Bev Perdue were in attendance. Not long after respects were paid, Buncombe County Democrats announced plans for determining who will complete his term. Interested? You can read the party’s announcement and guidelines for running here. Better hurry, because local leaders are already angling for the seat in Raleigh. Names of would-be candidates mentioned so far include county commissioners Holly Jones and Brownie Newman, along with retired Superior Court Judge Dennis Winner.

Connector vote date set

The first votes in a potentially huge overhaul of Asheville’s main corridor will take place next week. Buncombe County commissioners are expected to vote March 18 on a resolution to endorse a plan for a new $230 million I-26 connector, which would drastically shift the flow of traffic over the French Broad River into downtown. Commission chairmanDavid Gantt told the Citizen-Times he expects the resolution to pass, which would give it momentum heading to a March 25 City Council meeting. You can view a high-res image of the proposal here. And breathe easy, construction won’t begin until 2020 at the earliest if the state opts to give it the green light.

Moffitt-Turner meeting blows up

What happened?! The week’s most sensational story broke on Ashevegas, with news of an odd exchange between state Rep. Tim Moffitt and his Democratic challenger, Brian Turner. The story is familiar to most Hit List readers by now, so we’ll recap in brief. At a meeting last month, Moffitt actually asked Turner to consider dropping out of the race. Warning Turner of the possibility of outside efforts to damage his personal reputation, Moffitt also mentioned the idea of his opponent working a state job with UNC-TV. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer Thursday, the representative acknowledged asking Turner to bow out, but denied suggesting that he could have arranged a job with the state in exchange. Regardless, Turner announced Thursday he would file formal complaints against Moffitt (an action he earlier said he wouldn’t take). The only person to witness the exchange between the men, Republican county Commissioner David Kingtold the Citizen-Times Moffitt never offered a bribe or threatened Turner.

Counting the cost of coal ash

As cleanup continues from last month’s coal ash spill on the Dan River, estimates for the tab range as high as $1 billion. So who picks up the tab? Duke Energy customers, that’s who! At least that’s what CEO Lynn Good said last Friday. According to the Charlotte Observer, the provider is working on a response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s call to remedy potential hazards near its additional ash ponds across the state. Look for it soon.

Dark money du jour

Wanna see the latest six-figure ad buy from an outside group targeting Sen. Kay Hagan? Here you go. American Action Network, a nonprofit which doesn’t have to disclose its donors, launched the ad late last week.

That’s it for this Friday! See you next week.

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

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