GOP has edge in effort to keep NC House

July 13, 2014 

GOP has edge in the House

Republicans have an edge in their efforts to keep their super-majority in the N.C. House: money.

Reports released last week show the GOP House caucus has more than $1 million in the bank, almost twice as much as its Democratic counterpart.

The disparities extend to many individual races.

Charlotte Democrat Marjorie Storch, for example, reported raising $22,667 for her District 88 race against GOP Rep. Rob Bryan. Though Bryan’s latest report was unavailable, he’d raised $101,000 through mid-April.

And in western Mecklenburg County District 92, incumbent Republican Rep. Charles Jeter has raised nearly $95,000. His Democratic opponent, Robin Bradford, reported raising just $477. Earlier this month she paid the state board of elections $1,750 in outstanding fines. Jim Morrill

Growing into a purple state

In case there was any doubt, a new University of North Carolina study underscores one reason North Carolina has become a swing state: Voters born elsewhere make up nearly half the state’s electorate.

Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Public Life, looked with his staff at election records from 2004-2012. They found:

• The five counties with the highest number of new voters from other states were Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham, Buncombe and Cumberland.

• The five states that accounted for the most new voters: Florida, Virginia, New York, South Carolina and Georgia.

• Democratic registration grew faster than Republican registration in Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham, Buncombe, Cumberland, Guilford, Orange and Forsyth counties. Republican growth outpaced Democrats’ in Cabarrus, Union, Onslow and Brunswick.

• In Mecklenburg, the number of Democratic voters grew by nearly 70 percent and Republicans by 18 percent. Unaffiliated voters jumped 100 percent. Jim Morrill

Home-schooling jumps

According to the N.C. Division of Non-Public Education, the estimated number of home-school students hit 98,172 during the 2013-14 school year.

Just to put this in perspective:

• This year’s enrollment represents the highest home-school enrollment ever in North Carolina.

• Home-school enrollment increased by 10,194 students or 11.6 percent compared with last year.

• For the first time, there are more home-school students than private school students. Private schools enrolled 95,768 students last year. Carolina Journal

6thn District runoff

GOP candidates in the 6th Congressional primary are rolling out last-minute endorsements ahead of Tuesday’s primary runoff.

The Tea Party Express, which bills itself as the nation’s largest tea party PAC, has endorsed Phil Berger Jr. Based in Sacramento, Calif., the group says it likes Berger’s positions against tax increases and the federal health care law.

Mark Walker at a news conference on Wednesday in Greensboro was publicly endorsed by state Rep. John Blust, a Republican from Greensboro. Walker has drawn earlier endorsements from losing Senate candidates Mark Harris and Heather Grant, and from activist Phyllis Schlafly.

Berger has a key endorsement from the man he hopes to replace in Congress: Rep. Howard Coble. Both men have a list of endorsements from local officials.

Berger’s big advantage, though, is that he is benefiting from Keep Conservatives United, a super PAC that has spent about $200,000 to benefit Berger. He has raised twice as much money as Walker in the most recent reporting period.

At Wednesday’s event, Walker called for an investigation of the super PAC, claiming that his opponent’s father, state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, was using his position to attract contributions to the PAC, which he claimed was set up just for the candidate’s benefit. Federal law prohibits super PACs from coordinating with campaigns.

A representative of Keep Conservatives United called the accusation “bogus” and said it hasn’t coordinated with Berger’s campaign. The representative pointed out the group was formed in 2011 and has been involved in a number of issues involving candidates for national office. Craig Jarvis, (Raleigh) News & Observer

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