Richard Burr

Image of US Capitol
ttarasiuk / Flickr Creative Commons

When Sen. Richard Burr declared his re-election bid last year, his odds looked good; he had had a large war chest and no clear opponent. But now, Democratic challenger Deborah Ross has emerged as a strong contender and polls show the two in a hot race.

Analysts are watching the race closely as it will play a significant role in determining which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest on the race.

Greenville Federal Courthouse
Eastern District of NC, US District Court

Eleven years ago, Mike Easley was North Carolina's governor, the Carolina Hurricanes began with what would be a Stanley Cup season and Apple had yet to unveil the original iPhone to the public. And on December 31st, 2005, North Carolina Eastern District Judge Malcolm Howard assumed senior status, a form of semi-retirement granted to U.S. federal judges.

Since then, Howard’s vacancy has yet to be filled.

All 100 North Carolina counties were represented at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro this past weekend.
Jeff Tiberii

For seven generations members of the Wallenda family have pulled off incredible tightrope performances.

They've walked between skyscrapers, over Niagara Falls—and even the Grand Canyon—without a safety net. 

Republicans from Cherokee to Corolla gathered for their state convention this past weekend. There were no high-wire stunts in Greensboro at the state convention this weekend. But there was certainly a balancing act. 

Can Bernie Sanders use grassroots action to catch up to Hillary Clinton?
Phil Roeder / Flickr Creative Commons

Trump’s path to the White House looks more likely as he wins primaries in South Carolina and Nevada. Will Super Tuesday allow another GOP candidate to take the lead?

And will Bernie Sanders be able to leverage small donors and grassroots action against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton?

Also, the four democrats who seek Richard Burr’s senate seat meet for a debate next week.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in political news.

Some polls show Ted Cruz leading in Iowa, but Donald Trump continues to do well nationally.
Marc Nozell / Flickr Creative Commons

The Republican presidential candidates met again this week in their fifth debate. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is leading the field of GOP contenders in Iowa but Donald Trump is still polling strong nationally. 

The democratic candidates will meet for another debate on Saturday.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the race for the White House and other recent political news. 

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) focused on national security at a Raleigh luncheon Thursday afternoon. The 20-year veteran of Congress has ascended to Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. He has spent this week in North Carolina talking to donors and constituents. Among the topics were:

- The proposed nuclear deal with Iran:

"I don't think the American people are for this. I think the opposition will continue to grow. And I think that over time if this happens this will be looked at as a foreign policy disaster - of this administration."

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr raised $1.7 million over the last three months, and has $3.8 million in cash for his re-election campaign next year, according to the Associated Press.

Tillis Defeats Hagan

Nov 5, 2014
Thom Tillis
www.thomtillis.com

A little more than a decade ago, Thom Tillis was a resident of the town of Cornelius in northern Mecklenburg county. He wanted a bike trail near his house, and, despite knowing nothing about politics, he lobbied the local parks commission. Soon, he won election to it, then the town council, then the State Legislature three times, until he became speaker.

And then last night, he won a seat in the U.S. Senate.

President Obama in Charlotte, 8/26/14
Tasnim Shamma / WFAE

President Barack Obama spoke today to hundreds of American Legion veterans who had gathered in Charlotte, NC, for their national convention. His remarks come just months after a health care scandal and leadership change at the top of the Veterans Administration. The President announced 19 new executive actions to improve veterans' care -- one of which focuses on the rising rate of suicides among former soldiers.

The official statement might be the most passive aggressive technique in politics. And right now, there's a lot of passive aggression in the world of veterans affairs.

Richard Burr
US Senate

More than 1,000 leaders in business, government, education and non-profits are gathering this morning in Research Triangle Park for the 12th annual Economic Forecast Forum.

This year’s speakers will include Kelly King, the head of BB&T; Senator Richard Burr and Governor Pat McCrory.

The North Carolina Chamber is one of the event’s program sponsors. Chamber President and CEO Lew Ebert says the year ahead looks bright.

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson, whitehouse.gov.

North Carolina’s congressional delegation has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as Democrats and Republicans in Washington have argued over shutting down the government, the Affordable Care Act, and raising the debt ceiling. 

The idea for the shutdown came from Republican Representative Mark Meadows of the Eleventh District, whose aim was to try to dismantle Obamacare. But not all the Republican members of the North Carolina delegation agreed with the tactic.

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson, whitehouse.gov.

Several of North Carolina’s members of Congress have issued statements about  U.S. involvement in Syria. The statements follow a chemical weapons attack which the U.S. says was carried out by the Assad regime in Damascus on August 21. More than 1,400 people were reported killed in the attack.

Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, as well as several Representatives have made the following statements. We'll update this post with additional statements as they come in.

US Dept. of Defense

Aspiring defense contractors are in Fayetteville for this year's annual Defense and Economic Development Trade Show.  Companies will be at Fayetteville Technical Community College to network with military and political figures and to see demonstrations of advances in combat equipment.

This year, federal sequestration cuts have brought questions from vendors about the level of military participation.  Scott Dorney is executive director of the North Carolina Military Business Center.  He says business are coming to this year's show looking to partner up.

Virginia Foxx
Office of Representative Virginia Foxx

The issue of rising interest rates on government subsidized student loans wasn’t a topic on most people’s minds until about a year ago. That’s when President Barack Obama stepped onto the stage at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Memorial Auditorium and “slow-jammed the news” with late show host Jimmy Fallon.

Kay Hagan
hagan.senate.gov

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan was among the supporters helping to pass an immigration reform plan proposed by a bipartisan group of her colleagues.  The Senate voted 68-32 in favor of the bill introduced by the Senate's so-called 'Gang of Eight' as a way to provide a path to citizenship for more than 11 million people who entered the country illegally. 

Hagan says she spoke with many North Carolinians who urged her to support the bill and said it will benefit the nation on several fronts.

Strickland Farms tobacco and house
Leoneda Inge

Farmers in North Carolina and around the country are keeping their eyes on Washington, where Congress is crafting a new Farm Bill

The Senate's version cuts more than $2 billion in agricultural spending per year, but includes about $100 billion in subsides over the next five years.  President Obama has asked Senators to find more ways to save money, including cuts to a farm insurance program.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
U.S. Senate

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) says she's co-sponsoring a bill that would prohibit colleges from using federal grants for their advertising budgets. 

Sen. Hagan and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) presented the proposal Tuesday.  They say higher education institutes need more financial oversight to ensure responsible spending.  Sen. Hagan said the measure will prevent for-profit colleges in particular from recruiting people who might end up deep in debt.

"Use your taxpayer dollars on education, improving education outcomes for students," Hagan said.

North Carolina’s two US Senators agree eliminating tax loopholes should be part of the equation as congress works to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Congress has to decide whether tax cuts should be extended for any Americans and if automatic cuts to federal government should be partially or completely stopped. Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan supports reduced spending and changes to the tax code.

Entrepreneurs, researchers, and the military are gathering in Chapel Hill today to discuss high-tech solutions to military problems.  The Federal Advanced Technologies Symposium is being hosted at UNC by Senator Richard Burr and the North Carolina Military Business Center, which works to secure military contracts in the state.

North Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is calling on Congress to pass another piece of President Obama's jobs bill. The president divided his first proposal into pieces after it failed to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate. The first piece was also voted down last month. Mr. Obama urged lawmakers to pass the second part earlier today. It's a $50 billion proposal that would go toward infrastructure projects. Hagan says the investment would support businesses in North Carolina.