North Carolina Needs Our Help

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We want to make a different kind of case for our two progressive congressional candidates in North Carolina, Jenny Marshall-- who's opposing Virginia Foxx-- and Matt Coffay-- who's up against Freedom Caucus headman Mark Meadows. Normally we'd tell you about how extreme Foxx and Meadows are (and they sure are-- two of the very worst) and how awesome Jenny and Matt are (also a very accurate assessment). But today we want to make a special plea for the great state of North Carolina.

Our sisters and brothers in North Carolina are in deep trouble. As Michael Wines explained in the NY Times last week, the GOP has thrown away the rule book and is undermining democracy more overtly than any state in America ever has. The Supreme Court has ruled twice last month that the state's election laws are overtly racist and unconstitutional. The state's Republican leaders don't care what the Supreme Court says and "since November, when Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, reclaimed the governor’s office from the incumbent Republican, Pat McCrory, Republicans have redoubled their efforts to keep the levers of state government and state courts in their control."

The state Republican Party is not concerned with the rule of law-- other than their own perverted and unconstitutional laws. “What we’re seeing in North Carolina is an effort at political entrenchment that is unparalleled,” said Allison Riggs, a senior staff lawyer at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a Durham advocacy group that sued Republican leaders over the election law. “It requires a complete disregard for the will of the voters and political participation, and a disregard for the independence of the judiciary.”

A special session in December stripped the governor of most power to appoint state employees and university trustees, choose a cabinet without legislative approval and install majorities on state and local election boards. The latter move was stayed, pending a trial.

Now the legislators are taking aim at the state judicial system. In December, after voters elected a Democratic majority to the nominally nonpartisan State Supreme Court, the legislature expanded the jurisdiction of the Republican-led Court of Appeals and made the legal path toward other Supreme Court hearings more tortuous. Last month, Republicans voted to shrink the Court of Appeals by barring replacement of the next three retiring judges, denying Mr. Cooper a chance to nominate successors.

Foxx's and Meadows' districts are very gerrymandered and pretty red, respectively with PVIs of R+11 and R+13. Trump took 57.4% in Foxx's district and 63.2% in Meadows' district. But that had more to do with Hillary than with Republicanism. Bernie beat Hillary in Meadows' district and in every part of Foxx's district except Winston-Salem. These areas are looking for an authentic solution to the problems of working families.

Matt Coffay told us that "Last December, the Electoral Integrity Project-- which has monitored and scored elections in 153 countries-- ranked North Carolina's election integrity score at 58 out of 100. This places us alongside Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. But when it comes to our voting districts, we received a 7/100 score. As the Charlotte News & Observer reported, 'North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.' The worst in the world. That's where North Carolina stands."

I have hope that the cases currently before the Supreme court-- from both Wisconsin and North Carolina-- alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering will be decided in such a way as to force a fair redrawing of our state's districts. But we have to keep talking about this issue, and keep fighting. When I'm elected to Congress, I intend to be a vocal critic of gerrymandering. Just like our broken campaign finance system, it dramatically endangers our democracy."

 

North Carolina Democrats have been fighting back and organizing, but they cannot do it alone. The political temperature there is on fire-- the people are hungry for the change Jenny and Matt's representation can bring. If possible, please consider making a donation to their campaigns today.



Yes, Billy Kennedy Can Beat Virginia Foxx And Rid Congress Of Its Worst Hatemonger

Crossposted from DownWithTyranny

Billy Kennedy has long been one of Blue America's shining stars, one of the endorsements Digby, John and I are most proud of. Needless to say, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DCCC wrote him off as unelectable and have told Democratic donors not to give anything to his campaign. They have struggled on in the most all-American, Outside-the-Beltway grassroots campaign and have made tremendous gains against loathsome bigot Virginia Foxx is a northwest North Carolina congressional district. While the DCCC wastes millions of dollars on unreelectable Blue Dogs like reactionary Bobby Bright, Blue America managed to put up a homemade ad for Billy Kennedy that drove Foxx insane. The ad we ran-- and want to run again:

Help us get this ad back up on the air and give Billy a chance to retire Congress' most hateful member. The DCCC has told all the Inside-the-Beltway LGBT groups not to bother, so, of course, none of them are going after the most bigoted member of Congress. You can contribute here. And instead of paying attention to Inside the Beltway corporate shills like Wasserman Schultz, this is what the biggest newspaper in NC-05, the Winston-Salem Journal editorialized when they endorsed Billy Kennedy this weekend:

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from Watauga County, has not achieved any great accomplishments for the residents of the 5th Congressional District, and has angered and embarrassed many with her sometimes wild statements that seem designed to provoke. It’s time for a fresh, progressive voice in the 5th District. We believe that Democrat Billy Kennedy, a Watauga farmer and carpenter who says he’ll work to reverse the high rate of unemployment in the district, is that voice. He’s the best candidate in the Nov. 2 election for the 5th District.

“I’d like to make Congress work,” Kennedy, 52, recently told the Journal. “I believe with the bickering going on, they’re not solving problems.”

We endorsed Foxx, 67, in the Republican primary as she ran against an opponent less qualified than Kennedy. Her constituent service is strong, we noted, and we’ve occasionally praised her on this page, as when she sponsored a bill that tweaked the federal tax code so that troops stationed overseas can invest their income in individual retirement accounts.

While fiscal conservatism is good, Foxx, who is finishing her third term, has been too tight with the federal purse strings. For example, she does not support the Blue Ridge Parkway Protection Act, which would allocate $75 million over the next five years to preserve land along the parkway. Foxx has said she’d normally support such a measure, but not in the current economic times. But the parkway, a major cash cow of the state’s tourism industry, brings in more money in a single year-- $2.1 billion dollars, through 17 million visitors-- than the cost of the entire act. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican who also touts fiscal conservatism, realized that when he crossed the aisle to sponsor the protection act with Sen. Kay Hagan.

Then there are Foxx’ statements, which reflect a viewpoint far to the right of many of her constituents. Foxx, a former college educator and graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro, said on the House floor in January that the federal government “should not be funding education.”

Last November, she said on the floor that “I believe that the greatest fear that we all should have ... to our freedom comes from this room, this very room, and what may happen later this week in terms of a tax-increase bill masquerading as a health-care bill. I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.” (In July of 2009, she had said the Republican version of the health-care plan is “pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.”)

In April 2009, she suggested to students at North Surry High School that tobacco was no worse than Mountain Dew. That same month, she said on the House floor that it was a “hoax” that Matthew Shepard’s 1998 killing in Wyoming had anything to do with him being gay.

She issued a quasi-apology for the Shepard statement, and she and her spokesman have sought to explain the other statements by contextualizing them. But the fact remains that she has continued to make such statements, the worst of which was comparing the potential danger of the health-care bill to terrorism. She’s positioned herself so far to the right that, even if her party regains a majority in the House with this election, it’s doubtful that she’d gain any power.

That said, Foxx will be hard to beat. Her district, which stretches from the mountains to Winston-Salem, is heavily Republican. She has more than $1 million in campaign money. Kennedy, making his first run for office, has raised about $240,000
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But Kennedy, a graduate of what’s now Rhodes College in Memphis, says he has a good chance of beating Foxx. He’s getting his message out through canvassing and calling, supported by a small but dedicated core of volunteers working Facebook and Twitter. The 5th District has one of the highest rates of job losses of any district in the country, he said, and people want a candidate who will work hard to create jobs.

“I worry about the middle class getting squeezed. People are suffering,” he recently told the Journal. “They’re worried about losing their homes. People are hurting and they want solutions.”

Kennedy says he’s a good listener, a man who can work with Republicans to solve problems. He’s more even-tempered than Foxx. He says he wants to concentrate on creating jobs and improving education, rather than wedge issues such as gay rights. He wants to take away profit motives to ship jobs overseas by giving tax incentives to companies that hire and keep American workers. Tax incentives for new technology will help as well, he said, as will putting more money into alternative forms of energy. He realizes that money for efforts such as the Blue Ridge Parkway Protection Act is money well spent.

Kennedy said that he sees running for office “as a chance to serve others.”

The Journal endorses Billy Kennedy for the 5th District congressional seat.

So far our ad has only run in the suburbs of Winston-Salem. Help us raise the money we need to run it across the district between now and election day. Think of how sweet it would be on November 3 to wake up without Virginia Foxx's brand of rancid hatemongering in Washington. And the DCCC will not lift a finger to help. Will you? Here. We can do this!




Paid for by Blue America PAC, blueamerica.crooksandliars.com, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.