Politics & Government

More campaigns may exit N.C. Democratic party

More campaigns may exit state Democratic Party

First it was U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. Now it may be Democratic legislators.

The campaign arms of Democratic House and Senate candidates are considering moving their money from the troubled state party.

Hagan did that earlier this month, partnering instead with the Wake County Democratic Party. Now the House and Senate caucuses may do the same.

The state party has been plagued by turmoil, punctuated by last month’s firing of its executive director.

State Auditor Beth Wood even asked for a refund of her $500 contribution.

“It’s a question of getting a handle on what’s going on over there,” said Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue. “At one point there was so much confusion nobody was certain who was on first, who was on second and who was on third.”

House Minority Leader Larry Hall said his caucus is keeping his options open. “The caucuses as well as the campaigns ought to have alternative ways to make sure they can get their messages out,” he said.

State party officials could not be reached. Jim Morrill

Charlotte’s gain

The odds of having another Charlottean in Congress may be rising.

Democrat Marcus Brandon, a High Point legislator running in the 12th Congressional District, now spends most nights at his Charlotte headquarters, a rented bungalow in SouthEnd.

It’s an area he may not leave.

“I love it here,” Brandon said. “The big city thing works out perfectly for my life. Win or lose, I might end up staying here.”

Brandon, 39, also believes Charlotte voters are “more persuadable” in the race.

He’s one of seven Democrats running in the heavily Democratic district. Four others already live in Charlotte.

The primary winner will be the heavy favorite to succeed Charlotte Democrat Mel Watt, now head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Jim Morrill

Gone but not forgotten

It’s been a week since the N.C. Democratic Party chose a new executive director in Casey Mann. But the voice of her predecessor was still on her voice mail Friday.

Greeting callers was the voice of Robert Dempsey. He was fired by party chair Randy Voller in February. Jim Morrill

Dueling polls

Two rivals for the 12th District congressional seat each released polls last week that, not surprisingly, showed their candidate in the best light.

A survey for state Rep. Alma Adams showed the Greensboro lawmaker leading the Democratic field of seven.

And a poll for state Sen. Malcolm Graham showed the Charlotte Democrat leading in the Charlotte media market, which does not include Greensboro. Jim Morrill

Still looking for a cure

It seemed like a good idea at the time: a cure for America in convenient plastic bottles.

The bottles of cocoa butter came with labels that read, “Use conservatively to heal the pain & suffering of Obamacare. Not like liberal snake oil.”

But Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ted Alexander, who planned to distribute the bottles, had second thoughts.

“I got to thinking about it, I said ‘nah, let’s do something more positive,’ ” said Alexander, a former mayor of Shelby.

“We need to heal our country, but we’ll do it some other way,” he added. Jim Morrill

Complaints filed in House race

N.C. House candidate Brian Turner on Friday made his accusations against state Rep. Tim Moffitt official, filing identical complaints with the State Ethics Commission and the State Board of Elections.

Turner, a Democrat challenging the incumbent Republican Moffitt for an Asheville-area House seat, claims in the three-page complaint that Moffitt asked him to withdraw from the race so he could focus on a bid for House speaker and indicated that he could help Turner get a job heading UNC-TV in return.

Moffitt and a third person at the meeting, Buncombe County Commissioner David King, deny any such offer was made.

In the complaint, Turner says he believes “Moffitt’s offer of employment at UNC-TV in exchange for withdrawing from the race is in direct violation” of ethics and elections laws. One statute he cited makes it a misdemeanor for anyone “to give or promise, in return for political support or influence, any political appointment or support for political office.”

The complaints stem from a Feb. 24 meeting between Moffitt and Turner at an Asheville restaurant.

Moffitt and King have said Moffitt merely suggested that Turner would make a good candidate to head UNC-TV because of his experience as a producer at MTV and more recent work as a vice chancellor at UNC Asheville. A national search for a new UNC-TV director is expected to begin later this year.

Moffitt, a two-term legislator, and Turner, who is running for office for the first time, are competing for House District 116, which includes parts of Buncombe County. Phone messages left Friday on Moffitt’s cellphone and business phone weren’t returned.

On Thursday, he deemed any suggestion that he offered to help Turner get a job if he left the race as “categorically false.”

Turner declined to comment other than to confirm that the complaints were filed.

Steven Greene, a political science professor at N.C. State University, called the situation bizarre. “To actually try to talk your opponent out of running against you is just taking it to an extreme I’ve never seen before,” he said.

Greene also said it could hurt Moffitt’s chances of becoming speaker in 2015. Moffitt is one of several House Republicans expected to vie for the post.

“You don’t want the whiff of scandal attached to your party leadership,” Greene said. The (Raleigh) News & Observer