State Politics

Political news from around NC (and beyond).

The countdown to Election Day is on, and candidates are hitting the trail in North Carolina. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited the state earlier this week and democratic nominee Hillary Clinton stops in Winston-Salem later today, in a joint appearance with first lady Michelle Obama. What do the presidential campaigns do for candidates down ballot? And how close is the gubernatorial race? Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Public Doman

Democrat Josh Stein and Republican Buck Newton are vying for the open seat left by Attorney General Roy Cooper who stepped down to run for governor.

Steve Hammel (middle), vice president & general manager at WRAL-TV, introduces Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, (left) and former Democratic State Representative Deborah Ross (right) at the first U.S. Senate debate held in Durham on October 13, 2016.
Kara Lynne Wiley / WUNC

Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr continued to hold a fundraising lead over Deborah Ross, his Democratic challenger for the U.S. Senate.

Through the third quarter in this election cycle, Burr had total receipts of nearly $11 million, compared to $8.4 million for Ross, though her campaign has been raising money only for about one year and his has raised cash since Jan. 1, 2015.

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics podcast we talk with Michael Kruse, a senior staff writer at Politico.

Headshot of Roy Cooper
Courtesy of Roy Cooper

With the election less than three weeks away, the national spotlight is on North Carolina as a key swing state in this election. The latest polls in the governor’s race show incumbent Governor Pat McCrory head-to-head with democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper.

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, host Jeff Tiberii talks with Jason deBruyn, WUNC’s data reporter, about the races in play - and the potential balance of power - in the North Carolina General Assembly (and Jason's strong sock game).

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled it out on the podium earlier this week in their third and final debate of the season. It was the first time a Fox News anchor moderated a presidential debate.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Ken Rudin, the political junkie, about the candidates’ debate strategies and about their comedic spar at an annual charity roast. 

Political pins show off the name and campaign slogans of former US Congressman Nick Galifiniakis.
Courtesy Ken Rudin

The son of two Greek immigrants, Nick Galifianakis was a surprising pick for politics in 1960s North Carolina. "Pick Nick", a new book by former UNC history professor John Semonche, published by Tidal Press, takes an intimate look into Galifianakis’s rise to political prominence, first as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly and later as a United States Congressman.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Semonche and Galifianakis about his political legacy and the infamous battle against former US Senator Jesse Helms.​

Judge Mike Morgan, a candidate in the N.C. Supreme Court race, standing by an American flag.
Courtesy Mike Morgan

The race for a seat in the North Carolina Supreme Court is one of many down-ballot races that may not be top of mind for most North Carolinians. However, this year’s race carries the potential for a significant political shift.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, a registered Democrat, says the N.C. Supreme Court is becoming increasingly politicized. He is fighting to win the seat of incumbent Justice Bob Edmunds, a registered Republican. 

North Carolina Voter Guide For The 2016 Election

Oct 20, 2016
Voters fill out their ballots at the Hamilton County Board of Elections as early voting begins statewide, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in Cincinnati.

The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will top the ballot for voters this November. But other races will also be important to North Carolina voters, including the race for Governor, U.S. Senate, Attorney General and state Supreme Court. Here's a guide to sift through the important questions as early voting gets underway this week around the state.

2016 Attorney General candidates Josh Stein and Buck Newton (right)
NC Legislature

The two candidates in this year's race for attorney general have held highly influential positions in the General Assembly. 

Democrat Josh Stein is the former minority whip in the state Senate from Raleigh. He also served as an attorney in the state Justice Department.

Buck Newton is a current state Senator from Wilson who was instrumental in writing the language of the law known as HB2.

Fact Check Of The Final Presidential Debate

Oct 19, 2016
A television camera operator tests his position during a rehearsal for the third presidential debate between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016.
Patrick Semansky / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off tonight for a third and final presidential debate. NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, are annotating the debate live.

Governor Pat McCrory talks with reporters after the final gubernatorial debate on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.
Logan Ulrich / WUNC

With early voting set to begin, North Carolina residents got another side-by-side look of Governor Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper Tuesday night. The two sparred – along with Libertarian Lon Cecil - over a range of topics in their final scheduled gubernatorial debate.

Roy Cooper and Pat McCrory
File photo / WUNC

In North Carolina, liberal groups have outspent conservatives on television, and Roy Cooper has outraised Pat McCrory, according to the most recent campaign finance reports available.

Cooper had raised 47 percent more money from 76 percent more contributions than McCrory through June 30, the most recent date for which campaign finance information is available.

Headshot of N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds.
Courtesy of Justice Bob Edmunds

Down-ballot races in North Carolina do not generally conjure the hearty debate and civic attention of higher profile elections. But this year, the race for a seat on North Carolina's Supreme Court may also carry a significant ideological shift.

Candidates in the race for North Carolina's governor, from left to right: Libertarian Lon Cecil,  Democrat Roy Cooper and Republican incumbent Pat McCrory.
submitted photos / WUNC

The top three candidates in the race for governor are ready to square off in one last debate. 

Republican incumbent Pat McCrory, Democrat Roy Cooper and Libertarian Lon Cecil will debate at 7 p.m. in Raleigh tonight. 

North Carolina House Chamber
Jessica Jones / WUNC

Throughout the state, legislative incumbents are facing familiar challengers.

In 13 North Carolina legislative races this year, the incumbent faces the exact same challenger as two years ago. In some of these rematches, the margin of victory last election was close, and the loser will need to flip only a few hundred votes to come out on top in 2016.

Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger on the first day of this year's legislative session.
Jessica Jones / WUNC

Even if Roy Cooper takes up residence in the executive mansion, Democrats face a tough challenge in the General Assembly to break a veto-proof majority that Republicans hold in both legislative chambers.

Orange County GOP Office
Credit: NC GOP

Updated 10:26 a.m., October 18, 2016


The Orange County Democratic Party says someone spray-painted its headquarters in Carrboro on the same day someone set fire to the Republican headquarters in Hillsborough. 

Donald Trump
Greg Richter / Flickr Creative Commons

Donald Trump held another rally in Greensboro Friday afternoon. The embattled Republican candidate for president wasted no time blasting his opponent, Hillary Clinton, ahead of the last presidential debate next week.

Longtime political operatives and strategists Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce sit down with Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii for a comprehensive look at the current and past political landscape in North Carolina.

Steve Hammel (middle), vice president & general manager at WRAL-TV, introduces Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, (left) and former Democratic State Representative Deborah Ross (right) at the first U.S. Senate debate held in Durham on October 13, 2016.
Kara Lynne Wiley / WUNC

North Carolina voters will help to determine the balance of power in the United States Senate next month. Republican Incumbent Richard Burr is seeking a third, which he says will be his final. Democrat Deborah Ross has provided a tougher than expected challenge.

A composite photo of Deborah Ross and Richard Burr
Courtesy of Deborah Ross and Richard Burr campaigns

Incumbent U.S. Senator Richard Burr and challenger Deborah Ross will face off tonight for their only televised debate.

Headshot of Eric Fair, a former interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Amy Cramer

In 2004, photographs capturing extreme abuse of detainees at the American-controlled Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were released to the public, sparking a humanitarian outcry. That same year, Eric Fair was working as an interrogator at the prison. Fair's new memoir, "Consequence" (Henry Holt/2016) is an unflinching look back at his time at Abu Ghraib and the mental and physical pain he inflicted on detainees as part of military-sanctioned interrogations.

One this edition of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, we talk swing state dynamics with Chrissie Thompson, Columbus Bureau Chief for the Cincinnati Inquirer.