Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hagan pushed for North Carolinians on 4th Circuit

The Observer editorialized in this morning's paper on the nomination of two North Carolinians to the U.S. Court of Appeals' Fourth Circuit. We lauded President Obama's choices of Jim Wynn and Albert Diaz for seats on the Richmond, Va.,-based court. Wynn, an N.C. Court of Appeals judge, and Diaz, a superior court judge specializing in business cases, are both well-qualified for the federal bench. And their confirmation would mark an end to 15 years of petty partisanship that has deprived North Carolina from adequate representation on that court.

What the editorial did not mention, but perhaps should have, was Sen. Kay Hagan's role in getting two nominations for North Carolina. The court has traditionally had two seats for North Carolinians, with one vacant for years. If Wynn and Diaz are confirmed, they would join Allyson Duncan on the court and North Carolina would have three judges there.

We'll let Hagan's communications director, Stephanie Allen, take it from here. She e-mailed us to say:

"Senator Hagan, of course, completely agrees with the premise of the editorial. However, it neglects to mention the reason President Obama nominated two North Carolinians. When she came to the Senate, Senator Hagan was told flatly that there was no way North Carolina would get two additional seats. After months of pushing the White House – numerous meetings and phone calls with the White House counsel, a call to President Obama, a packet given to the White House making the case that North Carolina was underrepresented on the court -- they came around to her point of view. She will now be working to make sure the confirmation process for the two North Carolinians, both of whom are highly qualified, goes smoothly. "

-- Posted by Taylor Batten

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

McCrory still popular, but not so much for guv's race?

Public Policy Polling has detected a seemingly contradictory popularity finding in Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory's departure. He's still popular. But Charlotte voters don't find him so popular that they want him to run for governor again.

McCrory, a Republican who never lost a bid for mayor of Charlotte, was narrowly defeated in Mecklenburg County by Democrat Bev Perdue in the 2008 race for governor and is evidently thinking about another run in 2012.

Tom Jensen, PPP's chief analyst, has this to say about the findings:

Pat McCrory is leaving office as Mayor of Charlotte with his popularity intact. But that doesn't mean voters in the city are yearning for him to run for Governor again.
McCrory's final approval rating is 59%, with only 26% disapproving. He has the approval of 81% of Republicans and 62% of independents and his 39% approval rating with Charlotte Democrats is actually better than Bev Perdue's 38% approval with Democrats statewide in our most recent poll.
Despite his good overall numbers only 51% of voters in the city want him to challenge Perdue again in 2012, with 40% opposed.
The party breakdown on those numbers speaks to the trouble McCrory had with voters in the city last fall. Most Republicans who like the job he's doing want him to run again- but only 46% of independents would like to see him make a bid despite his 62% approval with them and just 27% of Democrats want him to even though 39% think he's a good Mayor.
McCrory's popularity as Mayor didn't translate to support for Governor in 2008 at the sort of level that he needed, and it looks like he might continue to be plagued by that problem with a repeat bid in 2012. Given the strong unhappiness many Charlotte residents express with their treatment by the rest of the state this is somewhat curious, but for most voters in the city party still trumps province.
This analysis is also available on our blog:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mr. Fetzer, meet Mr. Lassiter

Tom Fetzer (right), the chairman of the state Republican Party, today touted Tuesday's election results as a rejection of Democrats and President Barack Obama. There was an odd omission, though: Fetzer didn't mention the mayoral race in Charlotte, where Democrat Anthony Foxx beat Republican John Lassiter and Democrats took three of four at-large seats on the City Council.

In a meeting with The Observer editorial board in September, Fetzer talked about how closely the state GOP was watching the Foxx-Lassiter race. He said a Lassiter loss would be a real blow to the Republican Party. He said then that a Lassiter loss, following Pat McCrory's loss in Mecklenburg County in the 2008 governor's race, would be an indication that Charlotte had become solidly Democratic and would be hard for Republicans to crack in future elections.

Today, though, Fetzer mentioned nothing about Lassiter or Charlotte.

“Yesterday, Americans rejected the President’s and the Democrats’ policies of higher taxes and bigger government and elected conservative leaders who will put the nation back on the road to prosperity,” Fetzer said. “The conservative comeback has commenced.”

He cited the success of conservative candidates for the Wake County school board, and the Republican mayoral victories in Greensboro and Kinston.
“Their elections are unmistakable signs that most North Carolinians are turning to Republicans to get their localities back on the right track.”

Not in Charlotte.

-- Posted by Taylor Batten