Politics can turn on a dime. Every week, the comments, decisions and actions of elected lawmakers can shift the landscape of your government. Here’s a quick summary of this week’s reporting on local, state and federal officials.
The city scored a new finance director this week. Barbara Whitehorn, who most recently worked as controller for Arlington, Texas, has been charged with the task of managing Asheville’s money. Whitehorn’s first day on the job is Dec. 9. (The former finance director, Lauren Bradley, now works for The Van Winkle Law Firm, the same firm mayor-elect Esther Manheimer works for.)
On Tuesday, county commissioners backed a conservation easement for the Upper Hominy area in a 6-1 vote. The county will spend $69,000 to preserve the 121-acre tract of land, pairing the funds with more than $250,000 in grants and donations from the landowner. The site is home to a “rare mountain wetland,” and can be viewed from the Parkway. For more details, check out this report in Mountain Xpress.
What is likely to be next year’s biggest local race appears to be taking shape. Ashvegas broke news this week that Brian Turner, an assistant Vice Chancellor at UNCA, resigned from his position this week with the intent of challenging state Rep. Tim Moffitt in the 2014 election. No would-be opponents to Moffitt have officially declared candidacies yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Moffitt, who became increasingly controversial over the course of this year’s legislative session, will be seeking a third term in the House of Representatives.
Gov. Pat McCrory
The governor was out West this week, beginning with visits to the headquarters of both Google and Facebook in California. During his stop at Facebook, McCrory held an interactive Q-and-A on his personal page, answering a handful of queries. Later in the week, the governor attended the annual meeting of the Republican Governor’s Association in Scottsdale, Ariz. While at the event, McCory recorded an interview on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd. When pressed by Todd about recent changes to the state’s voting laws, McCory described the reforms as “common sense,” and added that his poll numbers were “coming back up” across the state. He made no mention that his previously dismal 35 percent approval rating for has now ticked up to a slightly-less-dismal 39 percent,according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey.
Sen. Kay Hagan
One week after Hagan’s polling plummeted, an out-of-state Democratic SuperPAC is boosting the senator’s profile with a $195,000 media blitz. Already, the Senate Democratic PAC has spent more than $650,000 supporting Hagan’s re-election bid in 2013, according to this Roll Call report. The injection comes one week after Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a Chapel Hill fundraiser to pad Hagan’s $5.4 million war chest. Thom Tillis, a Republican House Speaker who is campaigning for the chance to unseat the senator next year, is also getting help from the Washington power-structure. Tillis was the beneficiary of three fundraisers held across the state this week with Karl Rove, a top GOP strategist and former White House aid. Rove’s SuperPAC, American Crossroads, alsopurchased $1.5 million of air-time to criticize Hagan’s support of Obamacare. Expect to see much more of this in the lead-up to November.
Chattanooga? Rock on. You have a few other Noogan’s floating about this city. Even some from Soddy-Daisey.
Thanks for the political news.