Ashvegas Political Hit List: Turner practices his pitch, Bothwell busted, city budget blessed and 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

Here we are, back for another round! Brace yourself.

Bothwell busted

Just as last week’s Hit List was going to post, Friday morning news readers were greeted with the kind of headline no-one wants to see—”City Councilman charged with impaired driving.” A week ago Thursday, Councilman Cecil Bothwell was pulled over by a state trooper in a car with no license plate. The councilman was driving a friend home from a celebration in Black Mountain, and breathed .02 points above the legal limit for driving. Since then, Bothwell has apologized, accepted to “live with the consequences,” and committed to not resign. He participated in Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Budget blessed 

Speaking of council meetings, Tuesday’s was a big one as the group unanimously approved a $147 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The plan includes no property tax increase and is highlighted by commitments to pedestrian projects including sidewalks, greenways and Sunday bus service. City employees will get a 3 percent pay increase, and storm water fees will rise for property owners. Council members also voted to approve an expansion of downtown’s Central Business District, which will allow for construction of taller buildings closer to the intersection of Hilliard and Asheland Avenues. Mountain Xpress reporter Jake Frankel has a complete rundown of the meeting here.

Waldrop writes-in

Buncombe County Commissioner David King may have been knocked out of his seat last month by Miranda DeBruhl, but that won’t stop his wife from trying to take it back. This week Nancy Waldrop, King’s spouse, delivered 3,279 verified signatures to the Board of Elections—easily earning her a spot on the ballot as an independent candidate in the November election for the District 3 seat. Waldrop told Mountain Xpress she’s running to give residents of the district “a more moderate option” in contrast to DeBruhl, a political newcomer who has been critical of King’s votes aligning with a Democratic majority.

Moffitt maligned, Turner to toss

Here comes the District 116 ad war! This week we saw one of the first hit pieces in the race—a 30-second ad sponsored by the North Carolina Environmental Partnership blasting state Rep. Tim Moffitt over his pro-fracking vote this year. Meanwhile, Moffitt’s Democratic opponent Brian Turner was out and about this week, canvassing for votes and talking baseball. According to the Citizen-Times, Turner will throw out a first pitch at an upcoming Tourists game, and has been training to fire in a real pitch “with a little bit of humph.” Perhaps we’ll see the speedball featured in an ad.

Lockhorn legislature

The home stretch seemed within sight weeks ago, but with a clock ticking toward deadline it appears House and Senate lawmakers may not reach a budget compromise before month’s end. If Republicans from both chambers can’t come to an agreement on the $21 billion plan before June 30, it will be the second year in a row a budget was not passed before the end of the current fiscal year. Gov. Pat McCrory made efforts this week to appease lawmakers by separating key priorities of the plan into different bills, but was left instead making preparations with his staff for a longer session just in case an agreement isn’t reached. A key component of the dispute is between McCrory and Senators over Medicaid, which was the feature of a fireworks-laden hearing between members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and State Budget Director Art Pope on Thursday.

McCrory mellow to mayhem

Despite the wild times in Raleigh, McCrory told Raleigh news station WRAL this week he’s feeling more comfortable with the challenges of his job 17 months into his tenure, expressing pride over his achievements since taking office. You can watch highlight’s of the governor’s interview with the news team here. In other McCrory news, the governor issued his third veto this week, on a bill making changes to unemployment insurance. According to a Raleigh News & Observer report, the governor’s primary objection to the bill was an overhaul of the appointment process to an “obscure board” that handles appeals of unemployment board decisions. The jury is still out on whether the General Assembly will override the veto (they’ve done it twice before).

Nesbitt nostalgia

In other General Assembly news, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle found time Tuesday to remember former state Sen. Martin Nesbitt, who passed away last spring. WRAL has a nice collection of comments made by Nesbitt’s colleagues on the floor, including Western North Carolina Sen. Tom Apodaca, and Nesbitt’s appointed successor, Sen. Terry Van Duyn.

Millions from Meadows

Big news this week for the 11th District from U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows—the congressman announced his procurement of a federal  grant of up to $6.5 million for construction of a new runway and taxi-way at the Asheville Regional Airport. The current runway is more than 50 years old and has been re-paved on several occasions. Meadows, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, broadcasted news of the grant on Monday. In other Meadows news, the congressman also introduced a bill this week to address a shortage of doctors at the nation’s VA hospitals. Read more about the proposal here.

McHenry moves up

With the continuing shakeup in House Republican leadership following the primary defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, it wasannounced Thursday that U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry will take on a higher role among his peers on Capitol Hill. The congressman was appointed to serve as Chief Deputy Whip—the highest appointed position in the House Republican Congress (kinda a big deal in DC circles). The news means McHenry will focus more of his efforts toward wrangling votes in the interest of the Republican party, and could be a key stepping stone in any future positions his career may hold.

Senate slog soldiers on 

How many more days till election day? The battle between U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and state House Speaker Thom Tilliscontinued this week, with a pro-life group slamming Hagan in an ad calling her stance on abortion “too extreme” for North Carolina. Meanwhile, a group which sponsored ads backing Hagan is under scrutiny for not reporting its spending, and Republicans are attempting to broaden their voting base in North Carolina despite a propensity for controversial comments by Tillis. And it wouldn’t be another weekend without another poll—this one shows Hagan up over Tillis by 6 points.

That’s all for now! Have a great weekend.

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. Matt July 5, 2014

    Glad to hear about Waldrop being on the ballet. Probably good news there. I’d like to learn a bit more about her, but it wouldn’t take much to be a better option then the the young, vacuous Debruhl.

  2. theOtherBarry June 27, 2014

    Listen to Cecil’s fuller explanation and apology here, on Making Progress: News for a Change:

    (drag & drop. Link is good until Tuesday morn.)

  3. theOtherBarry June 27, 2014

    “Moffitt maligned”

    “v. ma·ligned, ma·lign·ing, ma·ligns. To make evil, harmful, and often untrue statements about; speak evil of.”

    The ad is a straightforward report on his votes regarding fracking. There’s nothing evil or untrue here.

    But OK, when people hear about a Representatives actual votes, and they respond by voting against him, I suppose you could construe that to be “harmful”. Darn that American political system!

  4. Tim Peck June 27, 2014

    Fact Check: The Fracking Crew

    The Call: If our Fact Check scale gave red lights for hyperbole, we’d be calling for a full stop.

    “The statement, in the end, isn’t science-based. It’s an interpretation of what the science says,” said Jackson.

    1. theOtherBarry June 30, 2014

      Fact Check: Rep. Moffitt’s Mouthpiece.

      The Call: He lies again.

      That site is not analyzing the ad about Rep. Moffitt’s votes on fracking, but rather a different ad about three downstate GOP Senators. Nice try.

      You left this part out (not surprisingly):

      “Also, 35 other members of the state Senate – Republicans and Democrats – cast the same vote as Barefoot, Meredith and Rabin but were not singled out by this commercial. So, while this commercial doesn’t necessarily get the science or legislative background wrong, which is why we’re not awarding a red light, it does offer an incomplete picture.” (emphasis mine)

      WRAL’s main complaint against the ad going after three Senators was that it failed to mention that 35 other Senators also voted for fracking. Pretty weak condemnation.

      In any case, Rep. Moffitt did indeed vote to bring fracking to North Carolina despite the serious risks, and no less-than-honest paid propagandist can cover that up.

      1. Tim Peck July 2, 2014

        The ad is one of several similar ads, all called “The Fracking Crew,” that target different legislators depending on the location of the ad buy.

        They all make the same false claims about legislation and fracking.

        From the front group’s press release:

        “The campaign has featured massive television ad buys and direct mail focusing on a handful of senators – Chad Barefoot, Wesley Meredith, Ronald Rabin and Trudy Wade – primarily for their efforts to fast-track the rule-making process and lift the statewide moratorium on fracking. Now the so-called ‘Fracking Crew’ will feature Reps Moffit and Presnell, who represent an area where some fracking may be considered.”

        1. theOtherBarry July 2, 2014

          They all make the same false claims about legislation and fracking.

          Your own source, which you posted and quoted, doesn’t say that:

          this commercial doesn’t necessarily get the science or legislative background wrong


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