Ashvegas Political Hit List: Obama visits Tar Heel state and Hagan bails, while McCrory hails

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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By James Harrison

Brace yourselves—here comes this week’s Political Hit List!

Asheville City

More changes are in store for the RAD, as City Council members approved the first $2.2 million of a $25 million proposal for long-term improvements to the area. While the measure calls for items like new sidewalks, bike lanes, and greenways, the first phase will pay for detailed surveying and planning. You can read more about the meeting and votes in this report from Mountain Xpress reporter David Forbes.

Buncombe County

It took nearly a year, but County Commissioners were finally able to put their backing behind a $40.5 million plan for a new Asheville Middle School. The vote was tallied unanimous. For details on the project, which is expected break ground in July and be ready for students by August of 2016, read this report by Xpress reporter Jake Frankel.

McCrory warms up to Obama

President Barack Obama visited the Tar Heel state this week, and Gov. Pat McCrory took advantage of every minute of it (so he said). McCrory, who has been a vocal opponent to several initiatives put forward by the Obama administration, greeted the president on the tarmac in Raleigh Wednesday. Before the president’s visit to N.C. State, the governor told MSNBC host Chuck Todd he fully supported a plan by the White House to allocate $140 million of federal, state and private monies to build a new tech hub located on the NCSU campus.

Hagan steers clear of Obama

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan had the chance to accompany the president aboard Air Force Once to her home state. But she declined the opportunity, in order to dutifully “attend to Senate business” instead. At least that was the line from her office. It’s easy to see why Hagan, who has taken a beating in recent months for aligning with Obama’s controversial health law, would skip the chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the president in her home state in an election year. Conservative critics saw straight through it—pointing out her accompanying Obama for a visit to Asheville in 2011, even though the Senate was in session. And a conservative SuperPAC went the extra mile—releasing an ad accusing Hagan of “hiding” in Washington.

GOP Senate primary 

With Hagan seeming more and more vulnerable by the week, all eyes are on May’s Republican primary. This week provided plenty of action. For the first time in this year’s election cycle, a Public Policy Poll found Hagan trailing the field of her potential Republican opponents. The poll didn’t include Ted Alexander, a former Shelby mayor who announced Monday his plans to joining the field of Republicans. That brings the total number of GOP hopefuls to six—with at least 40 percent of the vote being needed to avoid a runoff. Voters can choose from state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rev. Mark Harris (who was endorsed by Mike Huckabee this week), Heather Grant, Bill Flynn, and Greg Brannon. Five of the candidates participated in a Winston Salem forum this week, with Tillis being the sole candidate to sit on the sidelines.

WNC reps split on funding bill

Lawmakers in Washington easily approved a massive $1.1 trillion funding bill this week to keep the federal government open for the remainder of the fiscal year, but it came without the support of one WNC representative. Freshman Rep. Mark Meadows (R) opposed the legislation, telling one news outlet he had found “a couple things” he took issue with and saw no need to review it further. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R), along with Sens. Richard Burr (R) and Kay Hagan, cast “yea” votes, sending the bill to the president’s desk to be signed.

That’s all for now! See you next week.

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

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. DB January 19, 2014

    Keep drinking the Kool-Aide, bonehead. A website cannot give people “access to healthcare”, and even the insurance companies (whom the law really benefits, not American citizens) have been saying that the vast majority have either 1. Had their information delivered incomplete or distorted, or have not paid their first premium (which is required for coverage). Wait till these people realize that they’re doctor is not available to them with their new “access to healthcare” and the cost is more than that can afford, all the while, their personal information is totally exposed for any criminal to access. But go ahead, keep living in the socialist utopia in your head. Math and reality are way too much to handle for your kind. “If you like your delusion, you can keep your delusion”.

    1. chris January 19, 2014

      “Math and reality are way too much to handle for your kind”

      “Your kind”. Couldn’t get more race-baity if you tried. Congrats!

      1. Foothills Dweller January 19, 2014

        I don’t think DB’s talking race here. I think “your kind” refers to those who obviously embrace Socialism.

        The Math part may be referencing how the administration had to ‘borrow’ the 3.9 million who signed up for Medicare, stating that they had signed up for coverage through the Exchange. This was just a blatant lie to pump up their numbers – you can’t deny that.

        1. chris January 19, 2014

          “I don’t think DB’s talking race here.”

          Of course not.

          You may want to look up “socialism”. Especially since pre-ACA, where people just went to the emergency room when they were sick, even if they couldn’t pay, where everyone else ended up eating the cost in higher hospital rates, was quantitatively more “socialist” than what the ACA put in place. That’s right. The system was more socialist, in terms of sheer redistribution of wealth, before the ACA than after it. Unless you’re scared of everything Obama. Then the opposite is true. And by “true”, of course, I mean “false”.

          Let’s also not forget that everyone employed, who gets health care through a group plan provided by their employer, is already knee-deep in “socialism”.

          You don’t like “socialism”? Ditch the insurance, and pay for your health care out of your pocket. Anything else, and you’re just a pawn of the commies.

          The expansion of medicare, if you recall, was PART OF the ACA. So to say that it’s an inflation of numbers is, in itself, a crock. Those people are getting health insurance, who wouldn’t be getting it before, because of the ACA.


          1. DB January 20, 2014

            Typical Progressive Marxist: You dont like the message, so attack and/or discredit the messenger. Read “Rules for Radicals” have you? The race card is WAY overplayed. These days, if you’re not being accused to be a racist by Progressives, then you’re not getting under their skin. I live rent free under yours, loser. How can I be a racist if I dont know your race, fool? And Foothills Dweller is correct, by “your kind” i meant a democrat who could not balance a checkbook let alone a monstrosity like OBAMACARE (Yes, it will be called that for eternity) that was ‘supposed’ to take $10B off the deficit, etc.

            More bad news for you fawning minions of Barry, your overlord:


          2. chris January 21, 2014

            Nothing like MLK day to show just how non-racist the American Right is.


          3. chris January 21, 2014

            Oooh, and more, this from Ted Nugent!


            “I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist raised communist educated communist nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America. I am heartbroken but I am not giving up. I think America will be America again when Barack Obama, [Attorney General] Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, [Sen.] Dick Durbin, [former New York City Mayor] Michael Bloomberg and all of the liberal Democrats are in jail facing the just due punishment that their treasonous acts are clearly apparent.

            So a lot of people would call that inflammatory speech. Well I would call it inflammatory speech when it’s your job to protect Americans and you look into the television camera and say what difference does it make that I failed in my job to provide security and we have four dead Americans. What difference does that make? Not to a chimpanzee or Hillary Clinton, I guess it doesn’t matter.”

            Yeah, damn those lefties for playing the race card!

            And more, just to bring it on home:


          4. DB January 21, 2014

            “Nothing like MLK day to show just how non-racist the American LEFT is.”


            There, I fixed it for you. Wanna meet up and call me a racist to my face? That’s what I thought. Everyone is a tough guy on the internet. Go back to your mom’s basement, numb-nuts.

          5. chris January 21, 2014

            “Wanna meet up and call me a racist to my face?”

            Sure! Dueling banjos at 10 paces!

  2. Politics Watcher January 19, 2014

    To this politics watcher, it seems that Hagen’s snub of President Obama will hurt her with her liberal/progressive/moderate base and not help her with conservatives. Why would North Carolina Democrats be supportive of a Democratic senate candidate who wants to distance herself from a Democratic president?

    1. Harry January 19, 2014

      Because of the Obamacare train wreck that she supported, and like so many others, wants to hide from. Unfortunately for them, they can’t hide from this one.

      1. chris January 19, 2014

        Train wreck? Oh, you mean the website that had trouble working for a month that now works.

        Because you surely can’t mean the ACA, which has given (so far) over 10 million people (see access to health care, who previously had no such access due to pre-existing conditions, or due to high premiums for individual purchasers.

        You surely can’t mean the ACA, because even the Republican leadership, who never saw an Obama proposal that they didn’t oppose (even ideas that were their own!), have given up on fighting it.

        Here’s some news: you lost the battle to prevent people from having access to health care. So sorry.

        1. Politics Watcher January 19, 2014

          Could someone address my original question, which was not about Obamacare, but what advantage Hagan thought she would gain by snubbing Obama in refusing to ride to North Carolina with him for an economics policy speech. I get it that she thought by refusing she could “distance” herself from Obamacare, but, again, who of her potential supporters would be fooled by that? And her political enemies certainly would not suddenly embrace her. If she doesn’t succeed in making people believe she is not a fellow Democrat of Obama’s and risks alienating her Obama-supporting Democrats, what political advantage does she gain? Any seasoned political strategists out there who can explain? Please leave the pro-Obamacare,anti-Obamacare replies to another thread. Or, if not, please help answer a sincere question. I am neither pro-Hagan nor anti-Hagan. I’m interested in political strategy.

          1. DB January 20, 2014

            To answer your question: Hagan cannot win re-election without independents. If she has even a single photo-op with Professor Kryptonite (Our Jack-ass in Chief), it will be used against her. Its a no-win position for her: alienate the independents, or piss off your base. Barry and OBAMACARE, the gift that keeps on giving in so many ways.

        2. Harry January 20, 2014

          You truly are an idiot.

          1. Politics Watcher January 21, 2014

            Thank you, DB, for reminding me of the Independents. I wonder how her keeping her distance from the president will play with them.


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