Sunday, June 30, 2013

Clock Runs Out on Current Red Line Finance Plan

Six weeks ago after the crossover deadline aShortChronicle reported on some quiet last minute help for the Red Line Regional Rail project from the NC Legislature  That help came in the form of S103 which would have extended the sunset provision on legislation critical to the Red Line, legislation that would allow Special Assessment Districts to fund a significant portion of the project.  See Red Line project gets quiet boost from Raleigh. More to come? for the details.

S103 barely met the deadline at crossover but appears to have come up shy in the NC House.  After an interesting series of events last Thursday evening, it now appears the sunset provision will trigger and the SAD legislation will expire as scheduled on July 1, 2013.

In the second reading of the bill on the House floor Thursday afternoon, the bill passed 95-14 at 4:59pm.  That would have possibly set the bill up for a third reading and final passage the following Monday, July 1st - the deadline date.  However, after what appears to be a flurry of activity, a motion to reconsider the second reading was brought to the floor and passed at 6:55pm by a vote of 74-14.  The bill was then sent back to the Finance Committee which effectively meant there would be no third reading by the deadline date.  However, when Speaker Tillis put the NC House "on ice" next week for all other business so the legislature can focus on the budget, that sealed the deal (or put the nail in the coffin) on S103 passing before the deadline.

As part of that flurry of activity which lead up to the reconsidering of the 2nd reading, aShortChronicle has learned from a source in Raleigh, that many legislators were informed Thursday of the impacts of passing this legislation with regards to the Red Line.  Many apparently were not aware that if this sunset provision were extended, one of its first uses would be to fund the Red Line, a project requiring a huge additional chunk of State money.  As a way to validate what this source was saying, aShortChronicle can confirm that the story from this site linked above received over 3 dozen page views between the hours of 5-7 PM Thursday evening - at exactly the time this bill was being debated.

While we're glad this site could help spread the word on what this legislation would really do and we're glad the legislature stalled it for the time being, we hope those same legislators won't let this same bill slip through in some other fashion.  Even if  S103 is now incapable of extending the sunset for these Special Assessment Districts, the same law could be reinstated as an amendment to some other bill during this legislature.

Lawmakers need to remain vigilant to ensure that does not happen.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Harvest: It's Not Just a Fall Thing

People often think of "harvest" time coming only in the fall, but in reality it goes on all year.

Remember those stunning yellow fields off of NC73 and June Washam Rd?

Last week, with the arrival of a big green harvester, they began their journey to becoming canola oil.

The same can be said for harvesting at the Davidson Community Garden.  It goes on all year.  In a recent message from garden coordinator, Connie Beach, DCG has donated over 250 lbs of produce to Loaves and Fishes at Ada Jenkins in just the past two weeks.  A huge harvest of potatoes was pulled out of the ground and the recent rains have caused the squash, zucchini, and cucumbers to just explode!  That 250lbs mentioned above does not even include the tremendous harvest of squash this week.

100 lbs of produce!!!

Yes, that's a 5lb zucchini!!!

The Davidson Community Garden volunteers meet every Saturday at 10am at the garden on Potts Street.  Come on out and help keep bringing in the unbelievable bounty this year!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

With candidate filing only one week away, the surprises start...

Candidate filing for our local municipal elections starts in one week and the first surprise rolled in this Wednesday.  Cornelius Mayor Lynette Rinker sent out a press release saying she would not be entering the race for re-election.  Here's the story from

Mayor Rinker's stated reason for not standing for reelection is that she has her eye on higher office and didn't want to leave Cornelius in the lurch by running for Mayor if she was planning on leaving...

“If I’m looking at other options, I just couldn’t tell the people of Cornelius that I’m committing for 2 more years when I may not be,” she said. “That is my personal decision and the way (husband) Mark and I are. I didn’t feel as if I could look people in the eye and ask for their votes, knowing I was leaving.” - from

That's an honorable position, but a somewhat awkward one considering that it almost sounds like a swipe at former Cornelius Mayor and now State Senator, Jeff Tarte, who did just that during the last round of municipal elections elections in Cornelius.   Ironically, his quest for higher office which started soon after winning reelection is what put Mayor Rinker in her current office.

However, one also has to wonder if there's more to this decision as mentioned in this piece over at the Huntersville Herald.  The Herald reminds readers that Mayor Rinker has been a solid supporter of the I-77 HOT lanes project.  She drew attention at the event at Cornelius Town Hall back in January.  (See video of that here: HOT Lane Opponents Pack Cornelius Town Hall (Video))  She also drew some ire after casting the tie-breaking vote throwing the Town's support behind the project.  (See  Cornelius Commissioner Blasts Town Decision to Support I-77 HOT Lanes for details on that story.)

Adding to this story line is an email received by aShortChronicle where Mayor Rinker strongly pushes back on and its intention to publish a voter guide stating where candidates stand on the HOT issue.  She obviously did not like the idea and made multiple intimidating references to "electioneering" in an attempt to get the citizens group to reveal any donors to their efforts.

One has to wonder if another reason for Mayor Rinker not defending her seat had something to do with the group's efforts and that long, long list of petition signers they have been collecting.  

Regardless, stepping into the breach is another HOT supporter, Cornelius Commissioner Chuck Travis.  He immediately announced that he would be throwing his name into the Mayor's race.  So, maybe the real surprise in Cornelius will be if anyone challenges Travis for the seat and who ends up in what are now two open seats on the town Board.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pivotal Week in 2014 NC US Senate Campaign Fundraising

It's probably too early in the 2014 race for US Senate to be using words like "pivotal", but a week from this week ends the 2nd quarter fund raising period and when the numbers come out, it could have a significant impact on the Republican primary election for NC Senate nearly 11 months away.

Like it or not, running for the US Senate requires a lot of money and much of that comes from outside groups.  Those groups look at a candidate's own fundraising as an important barometer of potential success.  If a candidate can raise money on his own, then it becomes much more likely these outside organizations will lend their support, and that's why this week is important..

With only Dr Greg Brannon and Speaker Thom Tillis as announced candidates for the Republican nomination, pundits, the campaigns, and those various outside groups will be pouring over the results and making decisions.  For Dr Brannon a solid report would greatly improve the likelihood a group like Americans for Prosperity, the Senate Conservatives Fund, or even the Club for Growth could get into the campaign on his behalf.  For Speaker Tillis it will show if his typically robust fundraising has kept pace or fallen off.

For sure, if any outside money comes into the contest to support the Brannon campaign, that would significantly change the future dynamics of the race and show belief that recent polling and the results of the NCGOP Convention straw poll may have long-term legs.  It would also help counter the large sums of money Speaker Tillis has been collecting from the payday lending and sweepstakes gaming lobbies.

To help the Brannon Campaign reach its goal and possibly generate some of that nationwide help, various grassroots groups are organizing a moneybomb this week as a final push before the fundraising period ends.  How that pans out will be interesting to watch.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Disecting the Pro-HOT Lanes Arguments at the NCGOP Exec Committee Meeting

The good folks over at posted audio last week covering the debate on HOT Lanes from the previous Sunday's NCGOP Executive Committee meeting.  It's about 30 minutes long but well worth a listen.

At stake was an official resolution by the State Republican Party against HOT Lanes providing more emphasis to the anti-HOT plank already added to the Party Platform.

Two arguments against the resolution were made by former NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes and NC House Speaker Thom Tillis.  The arguments provide a glimpse into why it is so very important that grassroots activists keep bringing up issues, keep fighting for the what they believe, and don't take "no" for an answer.  This applies to HOT Lanes, but it also certainly applies to other issues as well.

Taken together, these arguments amount to saying to the party faithful...

"Don't rock the boat. We know what's best for you.  If you think otherwise, you're not being faithful to the Party."

Robin Hayes made the argument that the Party should not get involved in "pending legislative matters" and that passing this resolution would somehow "tie the hands of our newly elected House, Senate, and Governor".

Speaker Tillis opened his remarks referring to Governor McCrory's Transportation Plan working it's way through Raleigh and argued that the resolution would be a vote instructing the Legislature "kill one of his three major initiatives of the year."

Fortunately, these arguments were immediately rebuffed by multiple speakers supporting the resolution.

It's a simple question really.  If the members of the Republican Party are not supposed to "inform" their representatives on what they want them to do, then what is the point of having a Party, much less an Executive Committee?   As a frame of reference, the NCGOP has two main "leadership" committees.  The Central Committee is made up of the Chairs of Congressional District organizations, the senior Party Legislative officials, the Party's State officers, and the chairs of the various State-level auxiliary organizations.  It has about 30 voting members.  The Executive Committee on the other hand has about 600 members and represents the much broader body of the Party.  It is exactly the group that should inform the Legislature and the Governor on what the members of the Party want done.

Those were the purely political arguments against the resolution.

Addressing the substance of the resolution, Speaker Tillis also stated that Governor McCrory thought tolls are an "essential option" to the State's transportation plans and that NCDOT was required to engage in a "deliberative, public, well vetted, representative process" with local officials before implementing tolls.

While there is no doubt that figuring out how to pay for roads is critical, these arguments don't square with how Governor McCrory campaigned or with how this debate has unfolded.

See "If Tolls Were a Bad Idea During the Election, They are Still a Bad Idea Today" from over at for examples of the Governor's statements on tolls during the campaign.  It's hard to see how these match up with him now seeing tolls as an "essential option."  If he truly does see them as essential, he was not being up front with voters during the campaign.

And as for engaging in a "deliberative, public, well vetted, representative process"...

There certainly have been a number of meetings held locally and in Raleigh on HOT Lanes, but on the whole it's hard to say the above adjectives accurately describe the overall process dealing with this issue. See any or all of the below for reference.
  1. HOT Lanes: Municipalities Exert Influence with NCDOT on Monday
  2. HOT Lanes: The Empire Strikes Back...
  3. Charlotte Throwing Its Weight Around at MUMPO
  4. Cornelius Commissioner Blasts Town Decision to Support I-77 HOT Lanes
  5. MUMPO Jumbo: Video from Last Night’s Debacle via
  6. NC House Hides from Voting on Toll Roads in North Carolina...Government Transparency is a Casualty
  7. H267: Redux - NC House really, really, really doesn't want to vote on tolling you
  8. HOT Lane Proponents Disguise Truth via
...and then of course there's what happened minutes later after his comments at the Executive Committee meeting when Speaker Tillis leaves and forces the meeting to adjourn before completing its business.

This is our government.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Red Line Consultant Paul Morris lands on his feet in Atlanta

Was wondering why aShortChronicle had received a few hits this week on Paul Morris, the former Parsons Brinckerhoff consultant who became North Carolina Deputy Secretary for Transit.  Mr Morris lost his job as Deputy Secretary in the shakeup at NCDOT earlier this year.  (See UPDATED: Shakeup at NCDOT. Will it affect the Red Line?)

Now we know where he landed - NC's Paul Morris named CEO of Atlanta BeltLine.

It's pretty clear that the BeltLine project will benefit from having Anthony Foxx, a good friend of Mr Morris' from his Red Line days, in Washington as Secretary of Transportation.  Here's a link to the BeltLine funding sources which includes "critical" Federal funds.

My guess is the consultants over at Parsons Brinckerhoff are also celebrating.  They're in Atlanta, and having an alumnus leading a multi-year, multi-modal project can't be anything but good for the consulting business.

To the good citizens of Atlanta, here's hoping you can avoid the same fate of us here in Charlotte and North Carolina.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NC Senate Candidate appearances fizzle in North Meck. Media spectacle avoided?

The post-NCGOP appearances in North Mecklenburg scheduled by Greg Brannon and Thom Tillis for Monday and Tuesday both fizzled this week as the candidates had to get back to their "day jobs".

Monday afternoon, the Brannon campaign announced that Dr Brannon could not "get away from the hospital" for a meet and greet in Cornelius after being in Charlotte all weekend.  This event will be rescheduled sometime soon.

Tuesday evening, Speaker Tillis was scheduled to speak at the North Mecklenburg Republican Women's meeting in Huntersville.  However, a long-running Appropriations Committee meeting prevented him from catching his ride out of Raleigh with Rep. Charles Jeter and Ms Tillis.

In the end babies and the budget are more important than campaign events.

However, if there was one person breathing a sigh of relief at these cancellations, it has to be Speaker Tillis's new media consultant for the US Senate campaign - Brad Todd.  Just a few days on the job, Mr Todd may have lucked into avoiding a media disaster at the NMRW meeting.

Being the first local appearance in North Meck after announcing his candidacy, Speaker Tillis would have faced a large contingent of angry voters Tuesday night in a forum that should have been a celebration and an easy kick-off to his campaign.  Instead, the packed room was heavily populated with people who wanted to talk about HOT lanes - the unpopular local project where he's the prime supporter in Raleigh.  Several known faces from were present, but judging by the reaction and murmurs during Rep Jeter's remarks on the subject, there were many other opponents of the project in the crowd as well.  It likely would not have been pretty.  What would have made matters worse is that this event would have had television media coverage.  (The Channel 14 news van was seen leaving just prior to the event's start time once it was known the Speaker would not be there.)

Coming on the heals of Sunday's events, avoiding a second less-than-positive engagement with the party faithful in the candidate's back yard in a single week (this one televised) was likely considered a godsend for the new media management operation over at Team Tillis.

NMRW Crowd

Monday, June 10, 2013

Speaker Tillis Leads Walkout to Scuttle Quorum on NCGOP HOT Lanes Vote

Maybe it was an attempt to avoid another vote against plans to bring more tolls to North Carolina, or maybe it was just a sheer power play to show who's "boss", but what happened at Sunday's NCGOP Executive Committee meeting on the last afternoon of the annual State Convention certainly was not pretty.

After checking with multiple sources in the room at the meeting, it is safe to say that when it became clear the vote on a resolution opposing HOT Lanes was likely not going to go his way, Speaker Thom Tillis left the room taking enough delegates with him to break quorum and effectively shut down the meeting.

By all accounts, the move appeared intended - even coordinated - to achieve that exact result.  Two quorum calls came minutes apart.  The first achieved a result of one over quorum.  The second, mere minutes later, came immediately after the Speaker and a few others left the room.  The second call was even contested as being "dilatory".  For those not versed in the finer points of parliamentary procedure, dilatory tactics are described as "those used to delay or obstruct business, annoy the deliberative assembly, or in legislative procedure, to delay consideration of a subject for other reasons."  However, the second quorum call was allowed to proceed.  When it was finished, the meeting was, for all intents and purposes, over.

The remaining delegates were left stunned and angry at what they had just witnessed.

Delegate Adam Love of Mecklenburg had introduced the resolution.  He was left standing at the microphone ready to speak in favor of it.  By his count as many as eight others also stood ready to speak in favor of the the resolution.  None were standing to speak against it at that point.

After the walkout, delegate Bill Green of the Forsyth County GOP spoke to those still in the room.   Referring to the Executive Committee members who left with the Speaker as "not doing their jobs" and "shirking their duties" Green's comments received applause for expressing the frustration those remaining delegates surely felt.  They had been sent to the convention to express the desires of their local party members.  They had come there to do a job.  However, the actions of Speaker Tillis and a few others prevented them from doing so.

And here's the part that makes this even more "small"...

The bulk of any perceived damage by the NCGOP formally opposing HOT lanes had already been done with the inclusion of an anti-HOT Lanes plank in the Party's Platform document.  Before quorum was broken, the platform was adopted with the amendments that had passed earlier in the convention - including one under platform Article II that said...

"We oppose any plans for or legislation in favor of HOT Lanes."

With that already in the Party Platform, the below resolution which did not receive a vote was in some ways just a formality.  However, the repercussions from deliberately subverting the actions of the Party's Executive Committee could be something that takes on a life of its own.

As has been said before here in these pages, this HOT Lanes debate has become as much about heavy-handed government and unresponsive leadership as it is about roads and transportation.  Sunday's display was a classic example.

Anti-HOT Lanes Resolution (Font reduced to fit on one page.  Click to enlarge)

Bonus Observation: From the Charlotte Observer on the left to The Daily Haymaker on the right, this story is being reported the same way.  Not surprisingly, the Speaker's defenders are taking to places like Facebook to push back.  Over at Sharon Hudson's Facebook page there is a good back and forth on it with those who were in the room validating this account.  See post from Sunday afternoon among others. Ms Hudson was one of the activists who worked to get the resolution submitted.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

UPDATED: NCGOP Convention Adds Platform Plank Opposing Toll Roads

One of the first items voted on Friday afternoon at the NCGOP convention in Charlotte was an amendment adding language opposing toll roads in North Carolina to the State's GOP Platform.  Developing...

Update #1: It was not a unanimous vote. But sources tell aShortChronicle that the main opponent was revealed by Jack Brosch, candidate for NCGOP Chair, to be a highway construction consultant - sealing it for the majority.

Update #2:Reports that Ada Fisher spoke during Friday's HOT lanes NCGOP platform debate saying "we would be screwed" if we get toll roads here in NC.

Update #3:Now receiving a report that the platform discussion may have broken up due to lack of quorum, meaning the previous platform would stand unamended.

Update #4: Reports confirmed that the platform was accepted with this amendment as part of the Executive Committee meeting Sunday. However, there are also reports that an additional resolution against HOT lanes did experience issues due to a quorum. More on this story later.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

North Carolina US Senate candidates appearing in North Meck next week.

For those of you who won't get enough GOP politics at this weekend's NCGOP convention in Charlotte, there are a couple of events early next week that may interest you.  Both announced GOP candidates for the 2014 US Senate race will be appearing in North Meck early next week.  Both events should be interesting coming on the heals of the convention.

Monday, June 10th 6:30 - 9:00pm

Dr Greg Brannon will host a meet and greet at "On the Roxx" in Cornelius.

19712 1 Norman Blvd
Ste 100

CorneliusNC 28031

See the Facebook invite here.

Tuesday, June 11th  6:00pm

Rep.Thom Tillis will be the guest speaker at the North Mecklenburg Republican Women monthly meeting.

15801 Northstone Drive
Huntersville, NC 28078

See the Facebook invite here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Follow-up: Electoral Politics of Widening I-77

As a follow-up to the last post, a commenter on the piece over at took issue with pointing out that there are 170k Republicans in Mecklenburg county and that they certainly all would not be voting in the 2014 US Senate primary.  He also took issue with comparing Greg Brannon to Ted Cruz and what happened in the Texas primary in 2012.

Here is the response.

Certainly, not all of the 170k Meck Republicans will turn out in 2014.   However, percentages are relative. For example, using the Republican 2012 presidential primary as a comparison Meck Republicans cast 7.75% of all the registered Republican votes cast in the that primary. If one includes all voters regardless of party registration who chose to vote in the Republican primary, Meck represented 8.05% of all the votes cast in the statewide Republican primary. It's reasonable to presume the overall percentage of Meck voters in the 2014 primary will be somewhat close to those numbers.  These numbers came from the Civitas Vote Tracker website.

The point is that regardless of the total number of voters that turn out, Mecklenburg's percentage will likely be a big chunk of that and Speaker Tillis's position on toll roads will not sit well with a significant portion of that chunk. If one also considers that primaries have a larger percentage of partisan and activist turnout, that could also be bad for Speaker Tillis. From what I've seen, many of those types are the most upset with the toll road plan.

As for comparing Dr Brannon to Ted Cruz that's hard to say. I haven't followed either of them too closely. That comparison was more to the point that anything can happen if a race goes to a runoff.  However, since the question was asked. That got me thinking.

I looked for polling numbers from this point in the 2012 Texas primary race and what I found was interesting. This poll from Public Policy Polling on the 2012 Texas primary done in early 2011 had David Dewhurst at 23% with Ted Cruz at only 3%. Ron Paul had 21% at that time. While it might be correct in saying Brannon is not Ted Cruz, it would also be accurate to say Thom Tillis is not David Dewhurst. In this recent poll (also done by PPP) on the upcoming NC Senate contest (done roughly at the same early point in the election cycle) Greg Brannon is at 7% and Thom Tillis is at 6%. Yes, Texas is more conservative than North Carolina, but that's more of an issue for the general election. In the primary, the dynamics certainly could be similar.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Electoral Politics of Widening I-77

Politics is a numbers game - always has been, always will be.

But the numbers behind the politics of widening I-77 are not just the ones you read about in the papers.  They aren't just about spending over $500,000,000 dollars to add lanes to less than 30 miles of road.  It's not just the 20, 30, or 40 years the pro-toll side tells citizens they will have to wait if this project does not go forward as currently planned using tolls.  It's not just the zero other options they say exist.

In many ways those numbers are just sound and fury signifying nothing.  If you've attended more than one of the numerous debates, discussions, and presentations that have been held around the area or read any of the countless articles published by all types of media, you'll realize these numbers are always changing.  They are moving targets and nobody really knows the true answer to many of the questions asked.

There are numbers though that are very real and may ultimately drive the final decision, or at least influence how some of our local leaders behave on the road to getting there.  Those numbers are 1023, 242, and 8.6.

Here's the hard reality of our coming election cycles.  Our North Mecklenburg members of the General Assembly, all of them Republicans, should all have some reasonable concern that if they end up on the wrong side of this issue it could cut short their tenures in Raleigh or shoot down their attempts at higher office.  With House Speaker and North Mecklenburg representative, Thom Tillis, finally announcing his entry into the 2014 US Senate race this week, it's time to take a look at what the HOT Lanes decision could mean when it comes to our elections.

So what about those numbers?

1023. That's the margin of victory for Charles Jeter in his close race for the newly created NC-92 legislative district.  It is one of only a handful of truly swing districts in the state.  If he supports HOT lanes, he will lose votes in North Mecklenburg, his base.  Will he lose enough to cost him reelection if he faces a half-decent Democrat as a challenger?  Who knows?  Does he want to risk it?  His recent actions are inconclusive.

This legislative session, Rep Jeter submitted bill H157, one of his first, that would limit the use of transportation funds to transportation projects.  The bill met the crossover deadline, and he has heavily promoted his support of the bill making sure everyone is aware of his desire to spend our road money wisely.  He spoke about the bill at the February LKN Chamber "Focus Friday" gathering.  His comments at the Chamber also indicated that he might be open to considering other options on I-77, or that at least he had not made up his mind on the project.  He seemed to be really trying to reassure people he's not a full-blown supporter of the current plan for tolls on I-77.

Here's the thing.  It won't work...not unless he comes down firmly in the camp opposing the project. Saying you are not a strong supporter of a project is not the same as saying you oppose a project.    Unless, he actively opposes the I-77 HOT Lanes project, he loses votes.  Period.  Unfortunately, Rep Jeter missed his best opportunity recently to actually oppose the project when he voted against the amendment to H267 which would have required the legislature to vote on toll projects before implementation.  See H267: Redux - NC House really, really, really doesn't want to vote on tolling you for the details on that vote.

Actions speak louder than words, and in this case Rep Jeter chose not to take an action that matches his words.

The next number is 242, as in Cornelius Precinct 242.  This precinct in State Senator Jeff Tarte's home town voted overwhelmingly for him in the July 2012 runoff which ended the bitter primary campaign last election cycle for NC Senate 41.  In fact, Senator Tarte's margin of victory for the entire race was covered by just this one precinct.  He defeated his opponent, John Aneralla, by a total of 193 votes, and he won Precinct 242 by 203 votes.  Precinct 242 lies in the heart of the proposed I-77 HOT Lane plan.  Any fall off in support here and in neighboring precincts would hurt in the event of another primary challenge.

Admittedly, a primary challenge is not very likely, and Senator Tarte has insulated himself considerably in this region of the district with his efforts to fix the county's broken revaluation process.  For example, see When the politicians get it right... on some of the positive publicity he deserves on that issue.  However, Cornelius is also the home base for opposition to the HOT Lanes plan.  Many Cornelians who were convinced that Jeff Tarte was the best choice last time might think otherwise if given a choice in another primary and he is perceived to have done nothing to stop the toll plan. 

Earlier in the HOT Lanes debate they were seeing things like this tweet from their State Senator.  It's a picture of a traffic jam on a 20 lane road and implies this is what proponents of general purpose lanes are trying to foist on the public.

When asked about this tweet, here was the response...

That was back in February.  Now, in a current and ongoing conversation on Senator Tarte's Facebook page, he's openly discussing the issue.  Readers should definitely check it out.  In its own way, the below comment from Senator Tarte is rather refreshing.

"When folks send you messages they will hold you accountable at the polls - that is kind of petty and senseless - because it is not really a threat, it is how our political process works. If one does not want their actions judged, you should not run for elected public office. Being held accountable on every Election Day is one of the things that makes our system the greatest method of governing that man has known to date. Please hold me accountable on every issue as well as my entire body of work."

Senator Tarte is in a "safe" seat for Republicans, but his support for the HOT Lanes option on I-77 will definitely make it less so for him personally in the event someone challenges him and makes this a central issue in a primary campaign.

And finally, that last number of 8.6.  According to the most recent numbers on the State and Mecklenburg County Board of Elections sites, 8.6% of all North Carolina Republicans live in Mecklenburg County - 170k out of a total 1.98m to be more exact.

If there is any unrest among that group of Republicans it will have an impact on the next major statewide political race here in North Carolina - the 2014 race for Kay Hagan's US Senate seat.

Last week NC Speaker of the House and North Mecklenburg Representative, Thom Tillis, announced his candidacy for that seat.

However, to get a shot at that seat, he must first come out on top in a primary.  Being a main driver of a very unpopular project in his home county which contains a sizable chunk of the state's Republicans, does not help that cause.  It does not help it at all, and he can only lose votes because of it.  Dr Greg Brannon, the only other candidate officially in the race, mentioned the HOT Lanes issue as part of his "welcome letter" to Speaker Tillis for the 2014 Senate contest - ensuring that this is an issue which will be part of the primary campaign.

To win a first primary outright, a candidate needs 40% of the statewide vote.  Losing any sizable chunk of voters who should be in his camp will make that much more difficult for Thom Tillis.  If a race like this goes to a runoff, then it's anyone's guess who comes out the winner.  Ted Cruz's runoff victory in Texas being the obvious comparison.

And if Speaker Tillis makes it out of the primary?  In the general election that 8.6% will be even more critical.  The general election race for US Senate will likely be very close with no margin for error.

A cautionary example would be the 2008 race between Pat McCrory and Beverly Purdue.  The moderate Mayor Pat lost that race by a razor thin margin. One has to wonder how much of that margin was due to Mecklenburg County conservatives who didn't vote for him after his championing the Uptown arena and light rail.

As the clock ticks away on the HOT Lanes issue, more and more voters will be lost.  The only question is just how high that number goes.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pics from King of Wake Semi-Finals

No politics today, just some fun watching crazy people trying to land the perfect run.  These photos don't do justice to how fast and high these guys are flying, but you get the point.  The crashes must really hurt!!!