What a close Republican win in a North Carolina House race means (maybe) for 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though Republicans tried to downplay the importance of an off-year special House election in North Carolina, President Donald Trump certainly thought differently. Why else would he have held an election eve rally alongside Dan Bishop, the GOP nominee in the state’s 9th District? And if that was not enough to belie the seeming lack of official party interest, Vice President Mike Pence also managed a North Carolina campaign trip the same day.

It paid off Tuesday, as Election Day turnout gave Bishop a 2-point win over Democrat Dan McCready. Bishop certainly credited Trump — the president, of course, took all of it — who helped the candidate overcome scandal over the race and his own controversial support of a “bathroom bill” that hurt business in the state. The newly elected congressman portrayed himself as Trump’s “mini-me” on every issue, from guns to abortion rights to immigration.

True, it was only one seat and one election, albeit one that has been going on for what seems like decades, and it was in a district Trump won by 12 points in 2016 and where Democrats have not had success since the early 1960s. So you could characterize Trump’s visit as a rescue mission. But a win is a win. On second thought, though, is it?

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Dorian Hits The Carolinas; NC Maps Unconstitutional; The Dans

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup…

Hurricane Dorian has been making its way up the East Coast and is now impacting the Carolinas. The storm is bringing heavier winds than normal to the Queen City, and is responsible for power outages throughout the two states. We’ll bring you the latest on Dorian’s damage to the coast with a report from WCNC’s Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich and Spectrum News’ Jonathan Lowe, and we’ll look at the impact of the hurricane on early voting near the coast.

On Tuesday, a 3-judge panel ruled that North Carolina’s House and Senate maps were drawn to give Republicans the advantage and said they were unconstitutional. The legislature now has just two weeks to draw new maps. We’ll talk about the details of the ruling and what’s next.

We are just days away from the Special Election that will decide “which Dan” will be the winner of the 9th District Congressional Election. We’ll have one final check in on this race before Election Day.

North Carolina’s state school performance grades were released this week… how did CMS schools- as well as area Charters do? We’ll take a look.

Host Mike Collins and a panel of journalists will discuss those stories and more on this week’s Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Brad Panovich, Chief Meteorologist, WCNC-TV

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Steve HarrisonWFAE’s Political Reporter

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.

Hopes for 2020 run high in these two states, and the stakes are real for both parties.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: No Charges for CMPD Officer; Racist Letters to CLT Leaders

No charges will be filed for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officer who shot Danquirs Franklin at a Charlotte Burger King back in March. District Attorney Spencer Merriweather announced on Wednesday that Officer Wende Kerl will not face charges in connection with Franklin’s death.

Many black elected officials in Charlotte- including the mayor- received a racist letter this week that was addressed to city council, the county commission, police, fire and CMS School Board. The letter was directed to black Democrats and said that they should be “tarred and feathered and run out of town.” We’ll talk about reaction to the letter by several local leaders.

New CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston has a 3-year contract, which was announced earlier this month. But this week, school board members clarified that Winston could be fired with 60 days’ notice without giving a reason, making his job security not quite as strong as once thought. We’ll talk about what board chair Mary McCray said about it.

And an update on the push to pass a quarter-cent sales tax vote for the arts in Mecklenburg County.

Guests:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Katie Peralta, reporter for Charlotte Agenda

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News 

Is a blue city in a purple state having second thoughts about hosting a red convention?

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the Democratic National Convention hit town in 2012, the dancing traffic cop made headlines for his smooth moves and entertaining approach to law enforcement. The officer captured the party atmosphere of that event, leading up to the renomination of no-drama President Barack Obama for a second term.

City leaders and residents now look back at that time with nostalgia as they prepare for the Republican National Convention coming to town from Aug. 24-27 next year to renominate a president who is all drama, all the time — as chants of “Send her back” at a Trump rally in Greenville, North Carolina, earlier this month have reminded everyone of exactly what’s at stake.

Anticipating the economic and related benefits for the city after it was chosen by the GOP last year, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tom Murray said, “Charlotte has the collaboration, infrastructure and hospitality that will make the 2020 RNC an unforgettable experience for its attendees.”

Now, some are worrying about just how unforgettable the experience will be.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: SCOTUS Gerrymandering Decision; New Noise Ordinance; NC Budget

After days of “wait and see”, finally a decision from the Supreme Court about North Carolina’s Gerrymandering case. We’ll go through the details.

It got noisy at City Council as they passed a new noise ordinance which some say violates freedom of speech.

The North Carolina Senate votes ‘yes’ on House Bill 370 requiring sheriffs in the state to work with ICE.  Urban sheriffs are opposed, and Governor Cooper calls it “unconstitutional.”  And the legislature has a budget compromise.

Axios uncovers documents allegedly explaining why former Governor Pat McCrory isn’t working for Donald Trump.

Mike Collins and a roundtable of reporters talks about those stories and more on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests: 

Michael Bitzer, Political Scientist, Catawba College

Gwendolyn Glenn, WFAE Reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV Reporter

North Carolina’s Republican Party is having an identity crisis

OPINION — All eyes with be on North Carolina next year, when the Republican Party holds its 2020 convention in Charlotte to nominate President Donald Trump for a second term. In truth, though, the state has been the center of attention for a while because of actions of party members — and the gaze has not been kind.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: VP Pence Visits CLT; Huntersville Ed Committee Recommendations

On this edition of the Charlotte Talks local news roundup:

The Huntersville education advisory commission recommends that the town operate its own charter school and split from CMS, a move that one CMS official says is “politically driven. How likely is this outcome?

Vice President Mike Pence was in the Queen City this week for an RNC Kickoff Meeting, as next year’s Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, is getting closer. What was the purpose of this visit, and what have we learned about plans for the 2020 Republican National Convention?

As abortion legislation is passed around the country, rallies are taking place nationwide, and here in the Queen City. We’ll talk about a Charlotte rally where anti-abortion and abortion-rights advocates clashed.

In South Carolina, the House and the Senate have now approved around $120 million in tax breaks to offer to the Carolina Panthers to entice them to move practice fields and the team’s headquarters to the state from North Carolina.

And get ready to start your engines — this weekend is the second “Race Weekend” in a row for Charlotte (we hosted the NASCAR All-Star Race last Saturday, and this weekend is the Coca-Cola 600). What should we know to attend the event or avoid the crowds?

Those stories and much more with Mike Collins and a panel of journalists on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

Guests:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Alexandra OlginWFAE Reporter

Glenn Burkins, editor and publisher of QCityMetro.com

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News 

Can Bernie Sanders change his luck in the South?

OPINION — Bernie Sanders spent the weekend on a Southern swing, which makes sense. The Vermont senator’s failure to connect with enough core Democratic voters the last time around — in the South, that means black voters, and black women in particular — stalled his campaign for the party’s presidential nomination. He hit a wall in the early primary state of South Carolina, losing badly to Hillary Clinton, and he never recovered.

North Carolina redo sets stage for copycat campaigns in 2020

OPINION — After an election fraud scandal, North Carolina Republicans lost a House candidate. After an indictment and questions about possible bribery, the state GOP lost its chair.

But all that didn’t stop a gaggle of Republicans from vying for the chance to run for a House seat that, thanks to gerrymandering, still favors their party — that is, of course, if voters stay interested in a special election that now will be decided on Sept. 10, if everything goes as planned.

Whatever happens, the race has offered a national blueprint for what voters will see in 2020, with the majority of Republicans clinging close to Donald Trump and trying to brand Democrats as far to the left as imagination allows. Meanwhile, Democrats proclaim their independence and ability to stand up to the president and his bending of constitutional norms while doing the other business of Congress and helping constituents.