Ashvegas Political Hit List: Same-sex marriage approved, the state of Asheville, more

Jason Sandford

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

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

Cripes! It’s been two weeks since the last Hit List—strap in for a whirlwind recap of the happenings in local and state politics.

Same-sex marriage approved

The U.S. Supreme Court members paved the road for same-sex marriage last week by declining to hear appeals from states seeking to ban unions between gay couples. Expectation for a ruling was high across the state, with Asheville city leaders draping a two-story flag from City Hall. A ruling finally came down just after 5 p.m. Friday, setting off a wave of celebrations and keeping Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger busy preparing marriage licenses, and local clergy busy performing ceremonies.

State of the Asheville

The state of the city is “lucky.” That was at least part of the line delivered by Mayor Esther Manheimer last week, as she gave her first state of the city address. In her speech, the mayor said a challenge going forward would be “building on our success,” and emphasized the creation of “innovation zones” on Charlotte Street, the South Slope and the River Arts District. Manheimer added her desire to make the city a “palette ready for private investment.” Watch the complete address here, and for coverage, check these reports at the Citizen-TimesMountain Xpress, andCarolina Public Press. It’s also worth noting the speech elicited some worthwhile online discussion, with Asheville Blade reporter David Forbes offering locals a place to comment on “The state of our Asheville.”

Final stretch

Local candidates John Ager and state Rep. Tim Moffitt are set to get some help from the big dogs of their respective parties next week. Ager, a Democrat who is challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Nathan Ramsey, will be the beneficiary of a fundraiser attended by former Gov. Jim Hunt, while Moffitt will be alongside current Gov. Pat McCrory for a GOP fundraiser held at the Biltmore Park Hilton a few days later. Both races are competitive—with anew poll this week showing Ager leading the incumbent Ramsey by 13 points, and Moffitt’s Democratic opponentBrian Turner releasing the second ad for his campaign Thursday. Here’s a Mountain Xpress recap of Thursday’s debate between Ager and Ramsey—according to the Citizen-Times most GOP candidates didn’t bother to attend.

Voting laws change, un-change

One week after a federal appeals court granted a temporary order that would have allowed same-day voter registration in next month’s elections—a U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck the decision down. Little insight was offered by the seven members of the court who opted to uphold the law, which also prohibits voters from casting ballots outside their precincts on Election Day. While opponents of the changes expressed disappointment, Republican leaders across the state applauded the decision allowing the changes to remain intact this year.

A for McCrory

Who got the highest grade on the Cato Institute’s fiscal report card? Gov. Pat McCrory, that’s who. Forbes magazine hosted a guest post from a budget analyst at the libertarian think-tank, who championed the governor’s work with state lawmakers to improve the state’s economy, particularly with tax reform.

Media Master Meadows

It was hard to miss U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows on cable news last week, if you’re into those kinds of shows. The congressman was ready and willing to appear on a number of news programs, to slam the Secret Service over last month’s White House intruder. Meadows also appeared on CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper. In other Meadows news, the congressman introduced a bill to prohibit government employees from viewing pornography on federal computers.

The battle for our time

Not one, but two debates between U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis this week! Did they determine anything? Decide for yourself by reading recaps from the News & Observerhere and here. Meanwhile, you’re not going to believe this—a new poll shows the race between Hagan and Tillis is still tight. And finally, who’s to blame for last week’s security breach at the White House? If you asked Tillis, somehow, it’s Hagan. The rise of ISIS? Yep, wrong on that too. The latest round of ads from Tillis prompted a straight-talk reply form Hagan—watch it here.

Ready to vote?

Chances are if you’ve read this far in the Hit List, the answer is yes. Today’s the last day to register—if you haven’t gotten on that, do it here. And finally, here’s a list of the early voting locations for Buncombe County. Early voting begins Oct. 23—Nov. 1, Election Day is Nov. 4. Now get out there and make a difference!

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. Tim Peck October 15, 2014

    [As my comment did not go through, I’ll try again.]

    “Moffitt’s Democratic opponent…releasing the second ad for his campaign Thursday”

    As did Representative Tim Moffitt:

    (P.S. Nothing in this post about drones.)

  2. Tim Peck October 15, 2014

    “Moffitt’s Democratic opponent Brian Turner releasing the second ad for his campaign Thursday”

    As did Representative Tim Moffitt on Sep 23rd.

  3. Barry Summers October 14, 2014

    Finally, a mainstream paper in NC investigates the drone bill co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Moffitt. By Winston-Salem Journal reporter Bert Gutierrez:

    Part 1: Police drones: Unexpected guest in your yard (drag & drop)

    Yes, NCGA staffers confirm what we’ve been saying: this new law gives police the authority to conduct drone surveillance without a warrant, even on private property.

    No, Rep. Moffitt did not respond to requests for comment.

    Part 2: Evolution of drone bill stirs questions (drag & drop)

    Speaker of the House Thom Tillis is caught on tape claiming that he doesn’t know how the drone legislation (co-sponsored by Tim Moffitt, who was standing 30 feet away at the time of his comments) got into the budget, which was then voted on & signed into law.


    1. Dustin October 14, 2014

      Thanks for sharing, Barry. Our two party system is a complete and total failure. Passed the house 113-0 without a single question? Criminal.

      1. Barry Summers October 14, 2014

        I was told by Republicans and Democrats alike who voted for it in the House without asking any questions, that they fully expected it to die in the Senate, which it did.

        It was then copy & pasted into the Transportation Subcommittee report delivered to the Conference Committee on the Appropriations Act of 2014, by GOP Rep. John Torbett. As you probably remember, the budget was stalled by GOP infighting on how much of a raise to give to teachers, and how to pay for it.

        By the time that Transportation issues came up, everybody just wanted out of the damn room and out of Raleigh. There were no questions there either, apparently. The (entirely GOP) Conference Committee then voted for it.

        The budget bill then hit the Senate and House floors, with no chance for amendments, so it went through like you-know-what through a goose. Not a single Democratic vote for it in the House, a scant 2 in the Senate.

        I do agree that they two party system is failing us, but this drone bill is pure GOP.

        1. luther blissett October 15, 2014

          Yep, it was the “Vacay Already” bill.

          Let’s not just focus on Ramsay and Moffitt as individuals: they’ve spent the last two years supporting that bunch of uncontrollable crazies out east, and we don’t get to vote in those crazies’ districts.

        2. Forest Davenport October 16, 2014

          Sounds much like the way the Democrats in Washington stuffed Obabmacare down our throats. Wouldn’t want it to actually have to be voted on of course.

          1. luther blissett October 16, 2014

            Er, no. But thanks for playing.

            But on that topic, the NC GA did decide to kick Medicaid expansion down the road, meaning that you’re still footing the ER and urgent care bill for people who don’t have other options. Perhaps you’d prefer them to die in ditches?

          2. Barry Summers October 16, 2014

            Sounds much like the way the Democrats in Washington stuffed Obabmacare down our throats.

            Pathetic analogy, but I’m sure you’re a Great American.

            Welcome to How They’ll Get Away With It Theatre.

            Oh yeah, but the Democrakkks, derp derp derp…

    2. Santa October 14, 2014

      Torbett said he was open to clarifying the legislation.
      Asked by email whether he and other supporters of the drone legislation “espouse the notion that people should not have an expectation of privacy when having an open-invitation gathering at their home — when having, for example, a backyard barbecue to which anyone is invited,”

      Gee thanks Moffitt. Brilliant idea.

  4. RedHotPoker October 14, 2014

    How unfortunate for Ager campaign to suffer the VILE Jim Hunt, grandfather of modern NC democrackkk evil corruption, pre Easley/Perdue…Hunt never got caught for his evil deeds…


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